If you are looking for a model for conversion optimization, Amazon is right up there with the best! However, you have to take a closer look to understand why this is so and exactly what features you should take as an example. A superficial assessment isn’t enough.
This article covers the three main reasons why Amazon is an absolute paragon for building and, in particular, optimizing a webshop. Please note that the use of the word “model” to describe Amazon doesn’t mean you should copy it! The point is to apply the methods used to create it in order to develop your own shop.
1) Because you can’t remember the last Amazon relaunch!
Do you remember the last relaunch of Amazon? It’s hard to believe but there has never been a relaunch of Amazon! In the last 10 years a lot has changed at Amazon, but there has never been a real relaunch. Archive.org is a good example of this approach.
However, the fact there has never been a relaunch doesn’t mean that the website hasn’t changed. In fact it’s probably fair to say that no other on-line store has changed as much as Amazon. However, instead of carrying out a complete relaunch, they prefer to optimize what they have and thus continually develop.
After all, there’s nothing worse than a relaunch! Rethinking everything is only necessary if the business model is fundamentally changed or if the initial set up was simply very poor. If you already have a successful store there is no reason to completely transform it. Changes must be made bit by bit.
Each change must be measurable so it can be assessed as to whether it is going in the right direction. Amazon thus continually develops the shop rather than turning everything upside down. It applies conversion Kaizen at its best!
2) Information before design
Do you think Amazon looks good? If so, you are one of the few people who think that Amazon’s design is attractive. However, although some people think that the aesthetic aspect of the site has been somewhat neglected, the store functions fantastically well, probably better than any other. One of the main reasons for this is that Amazon pays attention to details which are criminally neglected by many other operators. This applies above all to information.
From the point of view of conversion, information is the most important element of most websites, far ahead of graphic design. Even if a shop is attractively designed, it won’t function if key information is missing. The difficulty lies in the fact that for each shop and to some extent each product category, there is different information which is essential and cannot be omitted.
Amazon has invested a great deal of work in providing more in-depth information for potential buyers, particularly on the product pages (EPA). Always present are pictures of the products, the price, the delivery time and reviews. Depending on the product category, information on content and technical information is also provided. On top of this there is a product description of varying detail, including pictures and videos.
- Have you ever seen product descriptions in another webshop which are as detailed as Amazon’s?
- What other on-line store informs you so precisely how quickly the product can be delivered?
- Where else will you find such extensive evaluations and discussions regarding products?
Of course information is not everything. The logical arrangement of the site, the individual design and the user guide are also important. In this respect Amazon takes a very simple approach which may appear somewhat confused at first glance but, as experience has shown, is very quickly understood by all users and highly rated by them.
However, it is important to remember that Amazon also invests heavily in trust. Although it is neither a member of TRUSTe nor bears similar trust seals, the shop is considered one of the most trustworthy operators around. The payments processing is faultless, the delivery times are very clear and exchanges can be made quickly and without complications. Amazon never tires of presenting these advantages in every possible place (“Order within the next two hours and you will receive your shipment tomorrow by 12.00 noon”).
3) Because Amazon tests, tests and tests again
All this was not conceived by someone at Amazon at the drawing board stage. In fact the opposite is true! Amazon constantly tests numerous ideas for changes and their effect on the conversion rate and revenues. There is nothing at Amazon which has not been tested. This has allowed the store to continually develop and tailor itself more and more closely to (ever-changing) customer needs, thus becoming the absolute market and innovation leader in the world of e-commerce.
This process has not made Amazon a particularly attractive webshop in terms of appearance, but one which is precisely tailored to the needs of the visitors. Naturally, it has grown beyond pure testing and also uses the findings for pinpoint targeting. This applies not only to products (“Visitors who purchased X also purchased Y”), but also to the presentation of the shop for individual user groups, whether it be “coarse” targeting where, for example, each product category is individually constructed, or more intensive individual targeting for individual visitors.