Amazon has changed the way customers think. It has pushed customer service and experience to a higher level. The result is that consumers are more demanding and have higher expectations. It doesn’t matter what type of business or industry, Amazon has changed what customers want and expect from any type of business. This is actually good for everyone.
So, how do you compete with Amazon?
Five Ways to Compete with Amazon
- Stop Competing: The first step is to change your mindset. Stop thinking of this as an all-out competition. Even if you’re in the retail world and sell the same merchandise as Amazon, go beyond thinking about being in competition. Instead, think about how to coexist. I’ll put it in retail terms. Before the Internet, Walmart was like Amazon. It built stores near small independent retailers. Walmart was bigger and spent more on advertising. The local retailer had a choice. Compete and get squashed or adapt to what was necessary, including, but not limited to, finding ways to be different. This way, they could coexist.
- Be Easy to Do Business With: In my customer service keynote speeches, I often ask the audience, “What is the easiest company on the planet to do business with?” Almost everyone answers, “Amazon!” Amazon’s entire process is about ease and convenience. I’ve written an entire book on this topic, The Convenience Revolution, which teaches six principles on how to be convenient. It starts by eliminating any friction you create along your customer’s journey.
- Be a Part of Your Customers’ Lives: This is where Amazon excels. It has mastered being a part of its customers’ daily routines and needs. You can do the same. Over the years Amazon expanded from books to almost every type of merchandise you can think of. Last year it announced Amazon Pharmacy. More recently, it announced the opening of a retail beauty salon. These are just two examples of how Amazon is working its way into the day-to-day routines of its customers’ lives. You need to find ways of doing the same. Make doing business with you part of your customers’ regular routines.
- Think Like You’re Amazon: Some of the best competitive insights can come from asking your own people what they think about Amazon’s customer service and experience. Have a meeting and ask these two powerful questions: “What could Amazon do to take away our customers?” And, “What would Amazon want to change if it acquired our company?” The answers could reveal ideas you haven’t thought about before.
- Adapt and Adopt: So now that you’re starting to think a little like Amazon, here’s another question to add to your meeting from step four: “What do you like about doing business with Amazon?” Make a list and discuss how you can adapt the answers to suit your situation.
So, the way to compete – or should I say coexist – is to learn from Amazon and adapt what you can to your own circumstances. Don’t be afraid of Amazon. Embrace Amazon. Learn from Amazon. And be better because of Amazon.
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