In spite of the secretive buzz around launch dates, soft launches and staggered product releases, one thing is for certain - Amazon is coming and it's coming soon. And the times, as they say, are a ‘changing.
Are you thinking, “But I’m not in retail, it won’t impact me.” ?
That’s where you are wrong.
If you work in or own a business, then Amazon will change the life of the people (customers, colleagues, stakeholders) around you.
This is because Amazon does a few things very, very well and sooner or later, these people will expect the same from you.
Regardless of your industry, you should watch Amazon with your eyes wide open.
Here are three examples of how the 'Amazon Effect' will impact every Australian.
When Amazon say ‘fast delivery’ they mean it. In some countries, they can deliver products in less than 24 hours. In Australia where we’re lucky if a product arrives in less than a week, this will be massively disruptive.
There’s a school of thought that believe that Amazon will struggle to achieve the kinds of delivery they’ve achieved in other countries in Australia. However, one thing is certain, they’ll be putting everything into making fast delivery happen. In the UK, they are testing PrimeAir which has the potential to deliver products by drone to your door in 30 minutes. They even have patents for trucks that manufacture products whilst on the road and blimps that could operate as floating warehouses.
If you’re in the delivery business, or are in a business that sends products, speed is something you need to be seriously thinking about. In fact, even if you deliver a service, you’ll find that tolerance for waiting times, queuing and even the time spent experiencing your service will significantly wean.
Australia may be a laid-back nation, but with Amazon, involuntary time-wasting could be become less of a pet hate and more of a monstrous abhorrence.
Amazon are the kings of personalisation. In the same way that Spotify and Apple Music make music recommendations from your song choices, Amazon’s algorithm will make product recommendations for you based on the way you shop, the purchases you make and the amount of money you spend. Recommendations like this can become addictive.
Business needs to anticipate this addiction and be ready to match it. Are you making recommendations to your users? What can you do to encourage repeat purchases and return visits? How will you satisfy the need for a personalised service?
If you watch commercial TV, you would have noticed an increase in adverts for Google Home, Google’s smart speaker and home assistant. That’s because Amazon have a competitor to Google Home, Alexa, and unlike Google Home, Alexa is automatically linked to Amazon’s store.
If your kids write their Christmas list, you can read it to Alexa and she will order everything for you. Suddenly realise in the dead of night that you’ve forgotten Aunty Betty’s birthday, Alexa will organise a box of chocolates for you. Little Lucy wants to listen to Frozen and “Now!”, Alexa will save you the hassle of searching through your iPod.
These Personal Assistants could make us lazy, but we'll be lazy and happy.
According to research published in the journal PNAS, outsourcing tasks that we don’t enjoy (for example, arduous shopping trips) makes humans happier. How can you help your end users be happier?
Whilst there’s a risk when talking about Amazon of sounding like a fearmonger, in actuality, with great change, comes great opportunity. If you apply a human-centred approach and understand how Amazon will influence your customers, colleagues and stakeholders, then you can create experiences, services and products that don’t just meet their expectations but exceed them.
Being able to anticipate the needs that Amazon’s service will create and being ready to fulfil them will provide a competitive edge.
You should also look for the white gaps in Amazon’s service. For example, one thing that Amazon does not have in Australia yet is storefronts. That means they can’t offer that personal touch. No conversation, no pleasantries, no opportunity to handwrite the gift card or touch, smell, test the product. If you operate a physical space, these are all opportunities you can take advantage of.
Amazon is here. It may take off immediately, it may be slow to gain appeal in the same way internet banking was slow at first. Whatever the result, Amazon are a global success story and we all have something to learn from them.
Research and grow... or learn the hard way.
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