Be Like Bezos

So, you want to see your e-store take off and generate the big bucks. Well, in the old days, I might simply have reminded you to buy low and sell high, or to remember that the customer is always right. However, in the new electronic world, my best advice consists of three simple words: Be Like Bezos.

Do what Amazon.com does, and you won’t go wrong. Online imitation is not just the sincerest form of flattery — it’s good business.

Value the Customer Above All Else

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has repeatedly said that his primary mission is to make Amazon the most customer-centric business in the world. The amazing thing is that it’s no joke — Amazon offers superlative customer service. The organization knows that responsiveness is the key to making online shoppers feel comfortable.

As we all know, asking a customer to browse for and purchase a product online requires them to take a certain leap of faith. Therefore, the number one secret to getting customers to order from you — as Amazon has proven — is to convince them that you won’t let them down.

Amazon accomplishes this very simple feat by immediately sending customers an e-mail that confirms the order and estimates a shipping date. Then, when the order does ship, the customer receives another e-mail with the tracking number. Amazon also responds quickly to e-mail, which, online, equals excellent customer service.

Another example of Amazon’s skill is that the company informs customers on every product page whether the item is in stock and when shipment can be expected. This courtesy also helps create customer confidence that online shopping is professional. The statement “In stock, ships within 24 hours” creates immediate sales.

Make Shopping Easy and Pleasant

Amazon has a “three-click” rule that dictates that if a customer can’t accomplish what he or she wants to within three clicks, then the system isn’t working right. Once again, you should be like Bezos and make shopping at your store simple.

By the same token, Amazon’s pages are clean and professional. The use of images for example, is prudent: never too many, nor too big. What is obvious is that Bezos and Co. are not trying to impress customers with HTML tricks — they know that their job is to give shoppers the chance to find what they want easily, and purchase it without a hassle.

Offer Plenty at Great Prices

Ultimately, what is Amazon? Well, besides being “Earth’s Biggest Bookstore,” it seems to be earth’s biggest store. Since image is everything, it appears that having a large inventory lets customers know that your site is here to stay and that they will be able to find what they want if they go to you first.

Use your inventory to your advantage by making sure your customers know that you are firmly entrenched in the niche that you are servicing.

A League of its Own

Obviously, not everyone can match Amazon for price, quantity, inventory and service. However, like in any endeavor, keep your eye on the leader. While you might not become a billionaire overnight, if you remember to “Be Like Bezos,” you will at least be on your way.

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