What does Amazon know?

By Anders Björklund

What does Amazon know?

No brand or company knows me better than Amazon does. From all the brands and companies that I have ever been a customer of, no one else is even close to knowing me as Amazon knows me. So what is it that they know?

Amazon knows their customers, and they, for sure, know me. Moreover, I am not surprised.

Sometimes I hear that other companies say that they want to be like Amazon and that they want to replicate what Amazon does. I believe that it is very hard to do, but saying so might work well as inspiration and wanting to replicate Amazon is for sure a great ambition to have as best practice. However, it is not possible without changing mindset and a massive change in the way most companies work.

The way to start is to put customers - their habits, behaviour and needs above everything else. Amazon has focused on their customers - and their experience, habits and demands - from the beginning. In my world, they, therefore, have been focusing on me. Moreover, I have never been spammed, forgotten or misunderstood by Amazon.

They have built enormous trust with me from the start of my relationship with the company until this very minute, and they have been providing me with more and more services and products over time. They started our relationship selling books to me, and I now buy a vast amount of things from them for me, my family and my business. They know who I am, what I want, that I am married and have a child, a summerhouse, where I work, that I travel a lot and that I am a loyal customer.

They have delivered a consistent experience for me since 1994 - for 25 years!

Other companies have to start by committing to getting to know their customers to understand how they can create the expected experiences for them, on- and offline. They need to identify the few key customer personas and discover their unique buying patterns. From that starting point, they need to find easy ways to stay one step ahead of them to continuously evolve to solve their problems and create expected experiences throughout the customer lifecycle.

To study behaviours and trends is a prerequisite to improve experiences, long before customers are even aware of their increased expectations.

Amazon is excellent in providing features and services that change my perception about the experience, and it seems that they always challenge old assumptions and their way of doing things. They continually streamline and improve my customer experiences. So the one main piece of advice from me to you is; to evolve, you have to challenge assumptions continually and to be able to do that you have to start to unlearn what you believe to be right about your role vs your customer's expectations.

Another piece of advice is that you need to show your prospects and customers that you understand their needs.

You'll get there if you honestly look at all the perceptions of your brand and make changes based on that feedback. Your customers are driving the narrative.

If you want to make it easy for your customers to do business with you, aim to remove all friction in the customer experience. To succeed, you have to make your customers the focal point of all your efforts. All barriers to efficiency will lead your customers elsewhere, no matter what you explain and believe, the customers create their paths for removing friction. Time is the most precious resource for all your prospects and customers, and they get delighted when they use functionality, solutions and innovations that provide effortless simplicity for them. Spend as much time as you can figuring out what's most important to your customers, moment by moment, and make that the manic focus of all your interactions with prospects and customers.

Amazon can be your guiding star for many reasons; if you understand that they are not a traditional company that ‘just’ provides or sells things, they are a traditional company that cover as many customers’ needs as they can. Because they have understood that the more they know about me, the more relevant and personalised they can be time and time again. They know what my next move is or will be (sometimes even before I do) and they use that to fuel my future experiences and transactions.

Be driven by an urge to be interested, fast, and to make it convenient for your prospects and customers! Constantly provide them with knowledgeable support and friendly service. That will make you essential to the lives of your customers.

Please put your customers above everything and make them the focus of everything you do.

I have to stop writing now. Alexa tells me to go to bed; I'm obviously the one walking our son to kindergarten tomorrow... Amazon knows what very few companies know! 

And perhaps you need to think through if Amazon is your future partner or competitor?

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You can also read this article in Swedish on Onlineguiden.

Anders Björklund
Founder, CEO & Strategist since 2001. Anders provides thoughts and reflections about how to think about onlinification and digitalisation in B2B.
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