Applying the Genius of Amazon to Your Ecommerce Store

Applying the Genius of Amazon to Your Ecommerce Store

Don’t think you could ever be as successful as Amazon? You may not know the company started in the garage of it’s founder, Jeff Bezos.

In the beginning, Amazon only sold books, starting with about 2,000 titles. Books were packaged on a table made out of an extra door Bezos found in his home. Amazon’s early website looked like this:

Welcome to Amazon Books!

The ecommerce giant has clearly come a long way since then. The company netted 107 billion in revenue in 2015 and 51 cents of every $1 of ecommerce sales growth last year went to Amazon. (Macquarie Research Investment Analysts)

While your ecommerce store may not reach that level of growth, there are lessons from Amazon that every online store can implement into their own business.

We’ve identified the top strategies and tactics Amazon has used to become the leader in ecommerce along with quotes from its innovative founder to inspire your plans for growth.


1. Personalized Shopping Experience

Amazon sets the standard when it comes to personalizing the shopping experience.

The company was a pioneer in mining data and using it to create a more curated experience for its customers. The strategy is a significant factor in the growth of repeat buyers, loyal customers and higher average order values.

The most common data-driven personalization techniques Amazon uses include “Recommended for you”, “You may also like” and “Customers who bought this also Bought”. When shoppers first log on to their account, they also get a reminder of what they’ve recently been looking at with “Inspired by your browsing history” images.

Inspired by Your Browsing History

Replicating this level of personalization will require the ability to analyze data based on browsing behavior and purchase history.

A simplified version of Amazon’s recommendation engine can be used by smaller online businesses using targeted email marketing. Segmenting customers based on past purchase behavior, you can personalize campaigns with similar product recommendations and special offers.

“What’s the ultimate in personalization? When you go into a bar and sit down, and the bartender puts a whiskey in front of you without having to ask what you want.”
Jeff Bezos

2. Product Bundling

Amazon was one of the first online sellers to utilize product bundling. They continue the practice today for one reason, it works.

Amazon’s bundling approach is similar to its recommendation techniques. Based on what the customer intends to buy, Amazon will suggest products that are “Frequently bought together”.

By analyzing past purchase behavior in your own store, you can create bundles based on items your customers often bought together. Feature those bundles on product pages that contain a bundle item. Or, call out the bundles in a special offer area.

For a deep dive on this topic, read our blog featuring tips on product bundling for ecommerce growth.

3. User Reviews

Buyers are increasingly relying on reviews to make more informed decisions about how they spend their money. Amazon does this so well, some shoppers choose the site specifically for the value of customer reviews.

63% of shoppers are more likely to make a purchase from a site which has user reviews.
iPerceptions Survey

Social proof is a powerful influence for buying decisions and reviews often contain information shoppers won’t find in the description of the product, including; whether the size runs big or small, if the color matches the photo on the website and if the texture or quality of the material matches expectations.

Shopify offers more than a dozen free and paid Review Apps in its App Store. Other solutions like Yotpo and BazaarVoice help online stores leverage user reviews to generate sales.

4. Easy Checkout

A slow and complex checkout process is a conversion killer. Amazon has mastered the art of easy checkout to the point of 1-Click ordering.

Buy now with 1-Click

Offering a single click to order may not be realistic for your online store but there are simple steps you can take to streamline the checkout process.

  • Allow shoppers to checkout as guests
  • Let customers modify orders in checkout
  • Limit form fields and minimize typing with drop down menus
  • Use a visual progress indicator
  • Make sure information is saved if back button is used
  • Provide a link back to continue shopping

Keeping checkout simple is a great way to reduce abandoned shopping carts. You can find additional strategies here.

5. Consumer Focused

“If you’re competitor-focused, you have to wait until there is a competitor doing something. Being customer-focused allows you to be more pioneering.”

The customer-first mentality at Amazon is as much a company culture as it is a strategy that drives every decision. Bezos requires every Amazon employee, from software engineers to warehouse workers to have the same attitude toward delivering a flawless customer experience.

You can follow Amazon’s lead by making sure every employee has a stake in customer happiness, providing accessible customer service options across multiple channels and using your customer’s voice in daily and strategic decision making.

At the heart of all of these strategies is innovation. Amazon has largely revolutionized retail through dozens of innovations that improve the customer experience and drive growth.

With these strategies in mind, and ecommerce technology platforms available to achieve them, there’s no telling how far you can take your online store. In the meantime, and in the words of Amazon’s leader:

“Work hard, have fun and make history.”


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