Amazon Dominates, But Consumers Want Brand Experience

Target Falling for You

Did you know that 37% of U.S. mobile commerce takes place on Amazon?  We knew the site was an online retail behemoth, but we didn’t realize it commanded that much of the mobile marketplace.  With that kind of dominance, the site’s every innovation forces other online retailers to introduce new tactics.  The bad news: retailers might be focusing on e-commerce at the expense of social media. The good news: all those e-tail innovations benefit the consumer in more quantifiable ways than beefed up social media.

Target is the latest retailer to debut a shoppable short film, which stars Kristen Bell.

So, what’s everyone up to?  To begin with, video content has become a priority, either in the form of product videos intended to educate or actual shoppable films (see: Target).  Some of the practices skew toward the basic and sensible — more online retailers offer free shipping or free returns (at least one direction should be gratis), have introduced loyalty programs with decent benefits, or, like Net-a-Porter, provide same-day delivery service, at least in major cities.   Retailers who don’t offer this, like Saks Fifth Avenue, are opening more distribution centers to get products to consumers faster.  And others will now ship from their physical stores as well as their distribution centers.

With an emerging plethora of new tactics, there’s one hands-down way for brands to beat Amazon online.  It’s simple — they should be themselves.   Unless price is the only consideration, and an item is substantially cheaper elsewhere, shoppers like buying from a brand while simultaneously experiencing what the company has to offer in the online sphere.  Being in a brand’s online presence has become an integral part of shopping from that presence, and it helps retailers cover substantial ground in attracting consumers.

That last point exemplifies how much social media has pervaded the consumer mindset, even as brands turn their focus from social media to e-commerce.  After several years of regular interaction with retailers via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., shoppers not only enjoy experiencing virtual versions of their favorite brands, but they expect that experience to take place.

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