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article imageQ&A: Strategies for connecting brands and their customers Special

By Tim Sandle     Jul 23, 2019 in Business
Why is Amazon a successful retailer? This is a question that many retail companies have pondered over. One answer, according to analysts at Elastic Path, is that the company more fully understands what the customer expects and how this can be delivered.
According to data from Elastic Path, there is a disconnect between how brands rate their work in delivering futuristic experiences. For instance, brands, on average, rate themselves at seven out of 10 whereas customers only tend to rate brands at four out of 10.
Expect for Amazon, that is. Amazon is accelerating their insights into consumer wants and expectations with a new service called Amazon Counter.
Digital Journal spoke with Darin Archer, CMO of Elastic Path, can discuss what Amazon gets right about the modern shopper, the opportunities for other retailers to cater to shopper expectations better than Amazon and the challenges this move presents for the supply chain.
Digital Journal: What is the aim of Amazon Counter?
Darin Archer: Amazon Counter is really a way for Amazon to expand its physical footprint and continue to improve on the convenience factor until the day they can predict what you want before you do and drop it into your hands via drone. Partnering with Rite-Aid and other retailers that are a part of many people’s day to day life helps Amazon become more ubiquitous and grab an even larger share of wallet for all those things you worry about figuring out how to return if it’s not exactly what you want.
DJ: Why has Amazon adopted this service?
Archer: Despite all the rhetoric that Amazon killed brick-and-mortar, our recent report actually found that shoppers still want physical retail. In fact, 77 percent of Amazon fans want more Amazon Go locations. Not only that, 23 percent of those shoppers would choose another retailer over Amazon if that retailer offered more physical stores. That’s a big weak spot for Amazon. They’ve got the strength online, but with a limited physical footprint, they’re hamstrung when it comes to engaging with customers in store. Partnering with Rite-Aid and other retailers gives Amazon more physical presence and taps into Amazon’s desire to move into pharmaceuticals.
DJ: What are the key findings from the recent Elastic Path survey?
Archer: The “Sci-Fi Shopper” isn’t just looking for a futuristic experience. Today’s shopper is really looking for convenience and experiences that make their lives easier, but there’s a big disconnect between what brands are offering and the experiences customers want. Brands surveyed in our report rated their offerings in “futuristic” shopping a seven out of 10 where consumer gave them a four. Shoppers are really looking for things like same-day shipping and curbside pickup that make their shopping experience simpler and more convenient.
DJ: What can e-commerce sites like Amazon learn from this?
Archer: Amazon has set consumer expectations high when it comes to the online commerce and delivery experience. Amazon Prime’s standard two-day delivery has led to 75 percent of consumers expecting same-day delivery in the next year. But our report also found that shoppers want more than just e-commerce and fast delivery; 35 percent of Amazon shoppers said they love Amazon for the product selection, delivery speed was cited by just 18 percent. That, combined with consumer desire for physical retail, shows that Amazon’s standard of online-only shopping and fast delivery speed aren’t the only differentiators for today’s shopper. They’ll also learn a massive amount from where their customers shop, probably leading to their next acquisition or disruption.
DJ: What does the survey tell us about consumer habits and preferences?
Archer: Our report found that today’s shopper is open to new tech and new experiences, but will only embrace this tech if it actually makes their life easier. We found that privacy is a big issue for consumers. When we asked what would prevent them from adopting or trying new tech, 53 percent said that privacy concern was the number one deterrent. Physical and online retailers like Amazon need to understand how to balance new tech and experiences with consumer desire for privacy.
DJ: If the survey predictions are right, what will retail look like five years from now?
Archer: Honestly? It will look a lot like shoplifting. As commerce becomes more seamless both in store and online, the actual transaction will start to disappear. That’s what a truly frictionless commerce experience will look like when technology is used to its fullest potential.
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