There are actually many that work in concert, but two stand out.
According to Matt Pace at Compete.com, they are the company's dedication to customer service and its masterful use of consumers’ browsing and purchase data to tailor the site for each visitor. [hat tip to Jeffrey Eisenberg] In fact, I think their site has single-handedly redefined how we'd like to have an online purchasing experience - fast, interesting, and personal.
It's in the many micro-interactions that we have throughout the site that we end up spending time and eventually money. You go onto the page listing a book, find the description, dig into the reviews, and now you can even read the comments to the reviews. Most of the times, you may just stop at the cross references from customers who bought what you are looking for, but it's nice to have the option to keep reading and discovering new material.
Your level of vested interest increases when you become a member of anything - gym, professional association, buying club. At Compete.com, Pace analyzes how the Amazon Prime membership drove higher traffic and buying patterns during the recent holiday season. He draws a direct correlation between the program and the company's better online performance as compared to other retailers.
The data speaks in support of both. There is correlation between site performance (execution) as tied to customer preference, and repeated purchases as tied to customer experience. In thinking about that, there are three practical ideas you could test in your online environment:
- Present information on the basis of visitors' navigation pattens - how can you upgrade from looking at the traffic behind the scenes to allowing visitors to see what others have looked at?
- Provide some form of interaction - how can you upgrade from chatting with you to allowing your customers to talk with each other?
- Promote the benefits of frequent visits - how can you upgrade from occasional visits to vested interest in becoming a site's 'member'?
You can test these ideas even if you don't have a retail site. Adjust, and repeat for increasingly better results.
I remember reading an article about Jeff Bezos on Fast Company a couple of years back and being impressed by what it said about Amazon.com's founder.
Yes, he is described as the ultimate analytical guy, who will hone in the small improvements that will drive efficiencies and profit. Yet, he is also someone who's always driven by the belief that what's good for the customer will ultimately turn out to be in the company's enlightened self-interest. For this reason Bezos is constantly testing new ideas.
In other words, the company never takes its figurative eye off the ball. Today at Fast Company expert blog we talk about what to do when your company takes its eye off the ball.