With almost 310 million active customers, Amazon has become unavoidable for online sellers. However, brands have used it as a sales channel and not as a loyalty building tool. That’s understandable: with over two million third-party sellers competing for attention on the site, creating a lasting and impressive brand impression on the minds of customers is as hard as imagining a new color. Besides, Amazon has never been seller-focused. It lays great importance to products. And in that quest, it puts details about your products first – and merchant information second. The situation becomes even darker when we realize that on Amazon, your [visible] personality only extends as far as the little 100-pixel wide logo that they allow you on your product listing. The consequence of all these not-so-charming factors is the idea that Amazon cannot foster loyalty to your brand. But Amazon offers a lot more than the people’s awareness about it, which makes it possible to generate brand loyalty through Amazon.
The irony with customer loyalty is that it makes people less sensitive towards cost, but product prices play a significant role in making them loyal in the first place. For many people, cost is a deciding factor that facilitates their entry into the economic spectrum of the brand. The research done by Romaniuk and Dawes has shown that one of the vital product attributes that affects customer loyalty and repurchase behavior is products’ price. Customers are sensitive to a product’s price and often make the buying decision based on that.
It’s then obvious that setting the correct product price has a lot to do with your brand loyalty prospects… and it’s often difficult to decide what the right price is for your products in a new market, as factors such as taxes, duties, currency exchange, cost of shipping, returns, and customer support need to be evaluated. But with the help of Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), brands can easily and accurately calculate the fulfillment fees, including storage, picking, packing, shipping, and returns. By adding these costs to product cost and comparing estimated price to similar products in the target market, brands can gauge the possibility of repurchase. It can be very helpful when trying to build brand loyalty through Amazon.
The Amazon Dash Button is a key-fob-sized device, which can be placed anywhere in a user’s home. It sticks near the user’s washing machine, dishwasher or even toilet and through Wi-Fi and the Amazon Mobile App, reorders the user’s product of choice at the touch of the button. In short, it is helping customers in replenishing those items on which they are running low. Take a note that loyalty’s actual finalization is in generating more and more reorders. Dash Buttons act as a catalyst in achieving this kind of brand loyalty through Amazon. Moreover, they are super easy use. According to Amazon, orders placed via Dash Buttons have grown fivefold over the past year. That’s precisely why brands including Cheez-It, Coca-Cola, and Philips Sonicare have been signing to launch their own Dash Buttons. Looking at the staggering results, Amazon now offers over 200 different Dash Buttons.
It’s then aptly clear that signing on to Dash button is a win-win scenario for businesses looking to build brand loyalty through Amazon. This is because if observed closely, this Dash button proves that loyalty can in effect be sold. Remember that customers have to buy Dash buttons at a cost of about $5 per button. Dash bonds customers to products by making people habitual repurchasers; thereby boosting the share of wallet. If executed well by understanding customers’ needs, it can hold a key in inculcating brand loyalty through Amazon.
A customer feels valued when brands notify them or send out relevant communication. And generally, loyalty is impossible to achieve without this feeling of value. Amazon knows this well. As soon as the customer buys, Amazon allows brands to send messages to complete orders and handle customer service inquiries. This is the narrow opening through which any brand can establish its persona in the eyes of customers through interesting texts and superlative customer service, as it’s also a rich platform to respond quickly to the customer’s inquiries. Auto-responders can bring this scenario to reality. And how valuable this is in keeping your customers with you can be imagined through the stat, which says that 52% of consumers have switched providers in the past year due to poor customer service.
Amazon shipped 50% more items this holiday season than last for third-party vendors and doubled the amount for 2016 overall. Clearly, people’s buying from the third party vendors is on the rise. Naturally, such a large chunk cannot be overlooked. But it demands deep analysis of the behavior of those third party buyers. Amazon can help brands to know the best third party sellers in specific product categories. Brands can also drill down to look at customer reviews to better understand which product features customers appreciate. However, Amazon usually doesn’t provide much data to its sellers and brands. That’s why the Native Receipt Scanning is so helpful. Brands just have to include it into their loyalty programs to get information about third-party purchases at their fingertips.
Suppose that a member of the certain loyalty program is buying from other brands also. Due to the integration of the Native Receipt Scanning, that loyalty member can earn points for submitting receipts–digital or physical–to the company. Once he gives the receipt, the brand with the loyalty program can see exactly which products from other brands were purchased by its member. It can analyze the difference between its products and the third party products that he has been buying, in addition to other purchase data like total cart value, location, time, and more. Once it knows the exact cause of his inclination towards the third party products, it can make effort to bring that to its products to make them more likable and desirable- the point from which the link between purchase and repurchase springs.
It’s pertinent here to know that according to Romano & Fjermestad, CRM is a combination of hardware, software, process, applications and management commitment to improve customer service, retain a customer and provide analytical capabilities. Amazon is ticking all the boxes. The technology-equipped applications and analytics are making it possible to come up with a well-rounded strategy to build brand loyalty through Amazon. As loyalty now is an economic necessity and a competitive necessity for brands, the need to look at Amazon beyond the mere biggest sales channel through the prism of loyalty should top the online sellers’ priority lists!