Amazon

innovation and the blind spot

Learn From Amazon’s Innovations and Walmart’s Blind Spot

innovation and the blind spotAmazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) should be concerned. Walmart’s (NYSE: WMT) resources are enormous. That gives Walmart time to work on their blind spot. Does Walmart leadership understand what makes Amazon so strong? Probably not. If they do, can they adopt it?

Walmart is changing quickly.  We’ve all seen all their ecommerce acquisitions and a lot of new initiatives they’ve launched and tested in the last few months. These included Bossa Nova robot in stores, Mobile, Express Returns, Scan & Go, Check Out With Me, and JetBlack premium membership.

Walmart is still the largest retailer by volume. Walmart has stores within 20 miles of 90% of Americans. Yet, they correctly perceive Amazon, and others as a threat.

This image from their shareholder meeting that was shared by Lauren Thomas from CNBC summarizes their concern:

walmart top 10 US Retailers 1970 now

 

Walmart doesn’t want to end up like Sears. However it might.

For all Walmart’s “digital transformation”, their ecommerce growth slowed down this quarter. Amazon continues to outperform expectations.

Let’s look at two similar initiatives from Amazon and Walmart to understand the differences.

Testing Walmart’s Scan & Go vs. Amazon’s Amazon Go

Cashier-less checkout was a big theme at ShopTalk. Nordstrom, Macy’s and other retailers are focusing resources to reduce this friction point.

Walmart executives presented their Scan & Go initiative at ShopTalk this year. Amazon launched Amazon Go in Seattle and is expanding. In e-commerce, retailers can either help customers increase their motivation or decrease the friction they encounter during a purchase. In retail, checkout has always been a significant source of friction. No one likes to wait.

Walmart’s Scan & Go Test

In January 2018, Walmart announced the expansion of their Scan & Go cashier-less checkout experiment to 100 stores.

Their promotional video looked promising:

This is how it actually worked.

The demo was “smoother” than the actual experience. During the test shoppers could use their phones with a mobile app or a separate device Walmart provided. As you walked through the store you scan the items added to your physical shopping cart. Then shoppers advanced checkout at a special lane near their current self service checkout.

The Scan & Go initiative was cancelled.  Walmart executives said they did learn from it.

What did Walmart learn? It seems like they were asking: If you reduce the friction in checkout will you sell more? No surprise! They likely weren’t impressed with the results of their test.

Walmart essentially moved an already not super popular self checkout scanner onto a mobile device. Self-checkout is an extra job for the customer no matter what part of the store they do it in.  They tested the same concept but moved it to a different location in the store.

Walmart tested a variation of what they were already doing. Tweaking, improving and optimizing variations leads to a local maxima, a dead end.

Let’s examine how Amazon approaches tests to see what we can learn about innovation and testing.

Amazon Go didn’t waste time and resources testing variations. They tested a variable first.

Amazon knows that customers don’t like to wait. It’s something that will never change.

“ I very frequently get the question: ‘What’s going to change in the next 10 years?’ And that is a very interesting question; it’s a very common one. I almost never get the question: ‘What’s not going to change in the next 10 years?’ And I submit to you that that second question is actually the more important of the two — because you can build a business strategy around the things that are stable in time. … [I]n our retail business, we know that customers want low prices, and I know that’s going to be true 10 years from now. They want fast delivery; they want vast selection. It’s impossible to imagine a future 10 years from now where a customer comes up and says, ‘Jeff I love Amazon; I just wish the prices were a little higher,’ [or] ‘I love Amazon; I just wish you’d deliver a little more slowly.’ Impossible. And so the effort we put into those things, spinning those things up, we know the energy we put into it today will still be paying off dividends for our customers 10 years from now. When you have something that you know is true, even over the long term, you can afford to put a lot of energy into it.” ― Jeff Bezos

Amazon innovates with a central purpose – making things better for the customer.

Amazon, and anyone who visited a store with cashier-less checkout knows, that people aren’t excited about taking over the cashier’s job.  You can see that in every grocery store, Walmart, Lowes and Home Depot that have longs cashiered lines and a handful of people struggling at the self checkout. For stores with higher margins sales people can take over the cashier’s job for the convenience of customers.

Amazon, understood that “checkout” is a lousy experience. Checkout is the variable to test.

Amazon didn’t ask how to improve checkout. They asked: would people buy more if they didn’t have to use checkout at all?

Amazon decided to innovate around replacing the checkout experience. Ironically, it was so successful that there were lines of people to try the experience for themselves.

Amazon proved that customers love their no checkout innovation. Only now will Amazon will test many variations to improve on the concept.

Walmart has a serious blind spot

Walmart focused on optimizing store operations with technology.

Amazon focused on innovating on behalf of their customers.

Walmart doesn’t understand that they don’t have an ecommerce channel problem, Walmart’s problem isn’t Amazon. It isn’t even technology.  Walmart’s problem is a blind spot, a lack of interest in who its customers are. Walmart is struggling to transform from being experts in products, inventory management, supply chain, and logistics to becoming experts about their customers.

To succeed in retail today you need to start with the customer, not the product.

Amazon is beating Walmart, and others, because it knows its customers and takes as an article of faith that if they do right by customers they will succeed.

How about you? Every successful business has a blind spot!

Here’s what often happens:

A business has a unique approach, or a special emphasis that separates them from competitors so they commit to it. It makes them successful.

They eventually reach a plateau.

Most businesses double-down on what brought them success.

They do what they know how to do and improve on the margins. They press down harder on the accelerator..

They get stuck in that gear.

At first their innovation gave them momentum.

And then things began to level off.

They believe in first gear. First gear is where they feel comfortable.

Metaphorically, Walmart is accelerating in first gear.

Businesses don’t have automatic transmissions!  All you have to do is look at the top retailers slide at the beginning of this post.

Few companies ever find second gear.

Let us know if we can help you eliminate your blind spot. Let us work with you to innovate your way to success by reducing customers’ friction and increasing customers’ motivations.

Read More

Grab your free Kindle copy of Be Like Amazon today

Today is the last day to grab a copy of Be Like Amazon: Even a Lemonade Stand Can Do It for $0.00.

It is available globally. Here are some links:

This week’s video we look at how an innovative retailer uses the 4 pillars of Amazon success to grow their business:

I had a chance to chat with John Lawson, fellow IBM futurist and best selling author of Kick Ass Social Commerce for e-preneurs.

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Alex Langshur, the CEO of Cardinal Path for the Google Partners podcast on Journey Mapping: Connecting the Customer Dots.

Read More

Bryan Eisenberg Tells Shep Hyken The Secrets of Amazon’s Success [audio]

How can your business be more like Amazon?

Shep Hyken interviews Bryan Eisenberg co-author of the book, Be Like Amazon: Even a Lemonade Stand Can Do It.

First Up:

Shep Hyken’s opening comments focus on how any company can improve their customer service, by thinking about how they can become more convenient for their customers. The reason that Amazon has become so successful is that they have developed a way to create customer convenience. Shep gives an example of how, in areas where Amazon offers two-hour delivery, a product could arrive at your home faster than the time it would take you to drive to the mall to purchase it.

Featured Interview:

Shep begins the interview by asking Bryan Eisenberg about the four secret ingredients to making a great presentation, which are:
1. Provide entertainment – tell a story.
2. Present a Big Idea.
3. Give the “How to’s.”
4. Give the audience or the reader the hope that they, too, can do it.

Bryan continues his “rule of four” by telling you exactly how you “can do it,” by discussing the four unifying principles of how to successfully run your business:

1. You must be customer-centric.
2. You must have a culture of innovation.
3. You must be agile. Execute, test and fail quickly, so you can keep learning.
4. You must continually optimize by shaving costs and adding value.

Top Takeaways:

• Don’t “water the soup.” Putting a little water in the soup may give you more soup, but it takes away from the great taste. It’s not smart to do things that produce an immediate profit if what you are doing isn’t in the best interest of the customer.
• Don’t think short term. An example Bryan gives is when Starbucks payment system went down, they gave away the coffee. Most coffee shops would have shut down until they could take payment for their coffee. But, not Starbucks. They knew the cost of free coffee was better than losing customers – and it showed how committed Starbucks is to taking care of their customers.

About:
Bryan Eisenberg is the co-founder of BuyerLegends. He is the co-author of the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, USA Today and New York Times bestselling books “Call to Action”, “Waiting for Your Cat to Bark?”, “Always Be Testing” and “Buyer Legends.”. Bryan is also a professional marketing keynote speaker.

Shep Hyken is a customer service and experience expert, best-selling author and your host of Amazing Business Radio.

Read More

Amazon Is Selling The Stories In The Books With Stories About The Books

This used rocking chair is available for $55,000 + shipping

I sent my friend, Tom Grimes, Amazon’s New Bricks-and-Mortar Bookstore Nails What the Web Couldn’t. In reply he wrote me:

My son Zack went to Tennessee to carve a rocking chair.

He’s into that sort of thing.

When all is said and done he is going to have hours and hours and a couple of thousand dollars invested in his chair.

You can buy a rocking chair at most Cracker Barrels for less than $200.

The man teaching the class made the observation that if they actually were interested in selling their chairs … they couldn’t sell a chair.
They were selling ART.
And when people buy ART … they are buying the STORY that is wrapped around it.
What does this have to do with AMAZON?
When I went through the article I thought … Amazon is selling the stories in the books with stories about the books.
They are providing a satisfying way to find a book that fits amidst the almost limitless number of books you can get.
That Bezos’ guy is a clever guy.

Tom Grimes is a clever guy too. He recognized why Amazon will succeed in retail. Amazon’s is showing that curation and presentation remain the primary reasons for retail to exist. They’re just showing the world what happens when bookstores go through a digital transformation of the customer experience.

What retail categories do you think are ripe for digital transformation?

Read More

Optimizing The Wrong Paths To Customer Centricity #CX #CRO

Customer-centricity is like “excellent customer service” — everyone thinks they’re doing it, few actually are.

And one reason for that is that there are right and wrong paths to pursuing customer-centricity. Her’s a quick chart of the three most prominent wrong paths vs. their right path counterparts:

The first “wrong path” towards customer-centricity is taking customers’ (or worse, unqualified prospects’) spoken wishes at face value.

In other words, relying solely on surveys of potential customers as insight into “what the customer wants” is a bad idea. You might expend company resources creating exactly the offer people say they want, only to watch all the actual, paying customers actively choose someone else when it’s time to buy.

Businesses that achieve epic success through customer centricity take great pains to “see their customer real.” We’ll get into depth on techniques for this in my next post, but it involves tracking actual data on customer actions and understanding the context of buying decisions.

The second “wrong path” is to focus on the Peripherals at the expense of the “Hard Stuff.”

Imagine a dentist who focuses on being customer-centric by improving his waiting room with more comfortable furniture, a cappuccino machine, fast & free wi-fi, and plenty of power charging stations. That’s a focus on peripherals.

A focus on the hard stuff would be finding a way to reduce wait time to (nearly) zero.

The difference between peripherals and “hard” items is that

  1. Peripherals change with the times, hard stuff does not, and
  2. Hard stuff has the power to make peripherals irrelevant

The factors that make a better waiting room change with the times; for example, better magazines have given way to wi-fi. Whereas reduced wait time is always desirable, and a significantly shorter wait time makes the quality of the waiting room irrelevant.

The third “wrong path” is to over-focus on optimizing existing processes at the expense of re-engineering and innovation.

It’s a good thing to optimize the customer interactions you have in place now. But if you’re not looking at what customers really want — at an ideal interaction, unconstrained by current technology or operations requirements, — you won’t be able to innovate and invent on the customer’s behalf.

You could find ways to optimize the cash register or check-out experience for your store. by speeding up the check-out, keeping more registers open, automatically opening new registers when wait times exceed a certain number of minutes, etc.

Or, you could take advantage of new technology to re-engineer the shopping experience to render the cash register obsolete. Amazon Go‘s new offline store’s payment is handled via tracking and recording what you put in your cart and your card is automatically charged when you walk out the door with your stuff.

So what paths are you taking towards customer-centricity?

Read More

Wal-Mart’s Problem Isn’t Just E-commerce

tunnel-vision-1500x1000Sam Walton said “You can make a lot of mistakes and still recover if you run an efficient operation. Or you can be brilliant and still go out of business if you’re too inefficient.” Price, selection, and convenience were good enough to destroy their competitors. Wal-Mart focused on logistics and SKUs, not individual customers.

Sam Walton changed the retail landscape of his time. He expressed a clear narrative about operational excellence and efficiency. Wal-Mart would always offer customers a larger in-stock selection at the best prices. It was the right solution to the challenges he faced. It isn’t now.

Wal-Mart jumps on the e-commerce Jet

According to recent data from eMarketer, Walmart is the second largest U.S. online retailer.  While that is about $13 billion in sales last year,  it is well below Amazon’s $82.8 billion. Walmart’s digital growth lags behind the economy-wide rate of 15.1% in the first quarter.  E-commerce accounts for about 3% of Walmart sales.  Compare that to approximately 8% of all retail sales.

Wal-Mart‘s uber-expensive acquihire of Jet.com should improve their e-commerce team. Especially since Marc Lore (Jet.com’s founder) will now be president and chief executive of e-commerce at Walmart.

Wal-Mart misdiagnoses the challenge

Brick and mortar stores everywhere are closing. Many blame it on Amazon and other e-commerce players. The sad truth is that the small percentage of digital sales aren’t the problem. What ails retailers is the lackluster efforts to enhance the customer experience . The connected buyer journey is evolving. Customers expect to buy things where they want it. They expect to buy things how they want it and when they want it. They expect to engage with the brand irrespective of the channel and/ or device. And most of all they expect to have a great experience all along the way. And you can’t do that without stitching it all together with digital.

Wal-Mart, retailers in general, need a cultural change. 

Digital is not just a series of new shiny objects, cost cutting tools or new media ads. Digital should be the glue that connects every part of the organization with customers. Digital should allow every part of the organization to analyze data, learn from it, and act on it. They must put the customer, NOT the SKU, at the center of their universe.

Wal-Mart needs to focus the whole organization on the entire customer experience. They need to improve the interactions customers have at every touchpoint. Then they need to convey that change in narrative to everyone from the boardroom to the stockroom.

Improving e-commerce is relatively easy. Cultural change is hard. Marc Lore may do wonders for Wal-Mart’s ecommerce channel. What he won’t do is transform Wal-Mart’s retail culture. Wal-Mart still doesn’t think it has anything but an e-commerce problem.

Read More

Amazon Prime Day: Magician’s Trick #CX #UX #CRO

 

Bradley 

“When a magician waves his hand and says, “This is where the magic is happening.” The real trick is happening somewhere else. Misdirection.” – Thaddeus Bradley in Now You See Me

What was everyone’s focus on Amazon’s Prime Day? This is from their press release:

The second annual Prime Day was the biggest day ever for Amazon. Amazon today announced customer orders surpassed Prime Day 2015 by more than 60% worldwide and more than 50% in the U.S. It was also the biggest day ever for Amazon devices globally and record Prime Day for each Amazon device category including Fire TV, Fire tablets, Kindle e-readers and Alexa-enabled devices. Prime Day was a great savings day too – members globally saved more than double on deals over Prime Day 2015.

Prime Day was a success. It also revealed where the future of commerce (not just eCommerce) is headed.

Voice is the big reveal

Amazon, as always, is focused on improving customer experience. Prime Day is valuable to Amazon but focusing there is simply misdirection. Pay careful attention to Amazon’s magic, they’re focusing on voice as the primary UI (user interface) and IoT (Internet of Things).

 

2016-07-14_08-37-43

How Amazon creates sales momentum 

Voice and IoT improve the customer experience. This is from Amazon’s press release – Prime Day 2016 highlights from the U.S.:

  • Amazon devices were up over 3x compared to Prime Day last year.
  • Biggest day ever for Amazon Echo – up over 2.5x compared to previous record day.
  • The most popular Amazon Dash Button brands purchased on Prime Day were Cascade, Charmin, and Tide.

Amazon’s flywheel, they call it a virtuous cycle, always puts the customer front and center. This is the way they draw it:

Amazon_Virtuous_Cycle

Conversion rate (an output) is a result of the many inputs that make up the customer experience. Amazon understands that the experience they provide has the chance to annoy, satisfy or delight their customers. They continuously optimize their inputs. Their superior experience is rewarded with higher conversion rates. It’s this laser focus on the input of customer experience that is responsible for Amazon’s 74% conversion rate from Prime Members.


More than half of all Amazon customers in the US are now also Amazon Prime subscribers. 

2More_than_half_of_all_Amazon__AMZN__customers_are_now_also_Prime_subscribers_—_QuartzMore_than_half_of_all_Amazon__AMZN__customers_are_now_also_Prime_subscribers_—_Quartz

 

Where have eCommerce executives been focused? 

top-technology-investments1

There is a slight shift of focus in 2016. “The big rise of explicit mentions of the word “customer” was very noticeable in the results of this year’s survey,” said Mark Raskino, Vice President and Gartner Fellow. “CEOs seem to be concerned about improving customer service, relationship, and satisfaction levels.”

Amazon has changed the game. While those CEO’s get around to improving customer service, relationship,and satisfaction levels Amazon is eating their lunch.

amazon.001

 

Amazon is consistently trying to stay ahead of their customers’ behavior instead of their competitors.

Focus On Your Customers!

Please remember that for you to achieve your goals, visitors must first achieve theirs.

 

Read More

Amazon’s Amazing 74% Conversion Rate – #CRO #CX #UX

amazon.001

The top 25% of online retailers convert at 5.31% and the top 10% of online retailers convert at 11.45%.

Amazon Prime members convert 74% of the time on Amazon.com. That is according to a 2015 study from Millward Brown Digital. Compare that to 13% for non-prime members.

Amazon’s user interface isn’t 22x better than average. Amazon’s copy isn’t 22x better than average. Amazon’s design isn’t 22x better than average. Amazon’s prices aren’t 22x better than average. Amazon isn’t average and it doesn’t think about average conversion rates or average customers. Amazon’s stated goal is to be “the most customer-centric company on earth.”

This fits with how we define conversion rate. “Conversion rates are a measure of your ability to persuade visitors to take the action you want them to take. They’re a reflection of your effectiveness at satisfying customers. For you to achieve your goals, visitors must first achieve theirs.” We first wrote that in 2001 and it continues to be true.

The story you need to get right is not the story you tell you customers; that’s just promotion. Fix the story from the point of view of your customers. Because your brand isn’t what you say it is but what your customers say it is.

Amazon’s brand is demonstrably strong with their Prime Members.

You too can convert more. Try creating Buyer Legends for your brand in order to create a better customer experience.  If you need help,  please let us know.

 

Read More

Measure Customer Experience Design And Make It Accountable #CRO #CX #UX

journey

Buyer Legends are measurable and accountable by design. That is one of the important elements that distinguish Buyer Legends from any other business-storytelling and customer experience methodologies. A Buyer Legend is not a feel good story; it’s about business, and if your story doesn’t improve on your business goals, then what is the point?

Your Buyer Legend should describe in significant detail what actions you expect your customer to take, many of which are measurable. Pages viewed, transactions, subscriptions, store visits, phone calls, conversions to lead, and even social media engagement are all measurable.

Not All Customer Actions Are Created Equal

But they can all be useful to your optimization. In 2011, Bryan Eisenberg wrote:

If you are in retail, you want them to purchase a product.

If you are in lead generation, you want them to become a lead.

Are there no other actions that are valuable and contribute to the bottom line?

In retail, even if they don’t convert now, would it at least be more valuable to know if they added an item to their wish list, or subscribed to your newsletter, or looked up your retail store hours, or added items to their cart versus just bouncing off the site right away? What are you doing to turn that one-time customer into a repeat customer? Do they only need one product you sell or might they need different ones over the course of time?

In lead generation, if they don’t give you all their information and request to be contacted by sales, is it valuable to have them sign up for a whitepaper, or a demo, or your newsletter? Is it better to download specification sheets, engage in calculators, or print/forward pages rather than just bouncing off the website? These are all steps that move people through their buying process.

These are just some of your macro actions. What happens when someone comes from one of your ads and gets to a landing page? Sometimes the action is one of those listed above, but what if that page is only meant to help your visitors to choose the right product or service and they still need to actually click on the right one for them? What do you do to help them take that action and not bounce away? These are the micro actions that need to happen from step to step in the potential customer’s journey.

All of these are actions we need to optimize. You can calculate a conversion rate for each one of these macro and micro actions, and you should.

I wrote in a recent Buyer Legend Recipe Series post about persuasive momentum that whether or not you are aware, your business has created a de facto persuasive system. Buyer Legends is a process for creating a persuasive system that is intentional, measurable, and optimizable. That is why it is important for you to track both the micro and macro actions so that you are not just optimizing the final conversion, but all the steps in between where you can spot breakdowns in the system and fix them. Buyer Legends, done right, allow you to measure and optimize persuasive momentum.

While it is much easier to track and analyze online behavior, technology is making it possible to track and analyze in-store traffic as well as in-store behavior.

Mobile is growing so fast that many companies are seeing more traffic from tablets and smartphones than from desktops and laptops, and this trend is only growing. Google recently announced in that mobile near-me searches are up 3400% in the last three years.

A Legend for Your Customer’s Buying Journey

Your Buyer Legend is a map of your customer’s journey, and to read the map properly you need to have a legend. Here is the legend for your Buyer Legend from our book, Buyer Legends: The Executive Storyteller’s Guide:

Your hero is on a journey. You tell his or her story. Every successful customer journey needs a map and every map needs a legend. The journey’s legend is the key to navigating the map. See below the components of a legend.

Journey Legend:

Hero – This is the protagonist of your legend. All legends are told from the point of view of the hero.

Catalyst – This is the point at which the customer first identifies your company, product and/or service as a potential solution. It can be word-of-mouth, on- or off-line advertising, or PR. A catalyst can be a measurable step in the customer’s path, but often cannot be attributed to just one thing.

First Measurable Step – Here is where your customer enters the measurable portion of the journey. It can be finding a landing page, home page, chat session, phone call, or brick and mortar visit.

Road signs – Some points in the customer’s path that are critical to their completion of the journey. Road signs include information that, if not available, will most likely prevent the customer from completing the journey and/or keep the marketer from persuading the customer to make a decision necessary to continue the journey.

Detours – These are pathways that marketers must construct as solutions to forks in the road. Customers don’t always go straight down a smooth sales path. They often go off the path in search of answers to concerns, alternative solutions, or just plain curiosity. When this happens, the potential exists for that customer to never arrive at the desired destination. They took that “left turn at Albuquerque” and never got where they wanted to be. Detours meet the customer along those wrong turns/paths and guide them back onto the proper path so they can continue the journey to their destination.

Measurable step – Any step along the way that can be measured. Typically, this involves analytics, but it is any step a customer can take that leaves behind evidence of that step. Measurable steps give insight as to where customers are in their journey and how they can be optimized.

Fork in the road – These are decision points in the persona’s path where a specific need or curiosity can take them off the ideal path in search of answers to a specific need, curiosity, question, or concern. Because the marketer should never force a customer down a path, awareness of where a customer could go “off-track” becomes crucial, so that the marketer can plan for these forks in the road and construct detours that will take them from an undesirable direction back onto the desired path.

Destination – This is the final measurable step where the customer converts into a lead/sale, completes an order, a form, or a task.

In the three examples that you’ll find at the end of this post, you’ll notice the legends  are in parentheses.

 

Understanding the Value of Quantitative vs. Qualitative

We recently worked with a large data-driven technology company that had no shortage of quantitative data. In fact, they sent us gigabytes of it. We noticed that for every ten quantitative reports there was only one qualitative report. It was obvious to our team that their bias for hard data left them with a huge blind-spot. Quantitative data tell you WHAT your customers are doing, and qualitative data can provide insight into WHY your customers are doing what they do. They pointed out a problematic metric to us and asked us our opinion. A significant portion of new customers were using their software service once maybe twice and then falling out. We began a simple qualitative research exercise, we visited their sales call center and listened in on a several dozen calls. Soon the quantitative data began to make sense. We found that this company had such a strong brand that most people simply trusted the brand, so they signed up only to find that after using the software it wasn’t exactly the experience they expected. We couldn’t fix the software, so we solved the problem by helping them provide customers with the correct expectations in advance.

As human beings, our actions can be measured. This creates quantitative data. But the thoughts, emotions, and decision-making styles we use are subjective. They do have some degree of predictability, and this is qualitative. A business needs both types of research to see the whole picture. So, do not discount the value of focus groups, surveys, customer interviews, and even customer comments and reviews as you begin to craft your Buyer Legend.

Amazon is a great example of a company that uses both qualitative and quantitative. Never accused of being a warm and fuzzy guy, Jeff Bezos set Amazon on a course to be “the most customer-centric company on earth”. That involves not just knowing what customers are doing, but trying to understand why. Bryan Eisenberg wrote about Amazon’s Performance Secrets:

When Bezos decided to launch Amazon.com in 1994, he realized that the unique advantage of the Internet was the ability to programmatically learn more and more about your customer and personalize their experience. He realized that they could leverage every bit of data correlated with their customers’ personal unique identifiers (their email addresses) from each and every interaction. Amazon could learn from every sale, but also from every click, review, and mouse movement.

I suggest you read the entire article.

Thank you for reading this last post recipe series. Our goal was to supply you with more in-depth information that you can lean on as you proceed with implementing Buyer Legends. If you have questions that arise as you work on your Buyer Legends, please send them our way and we’ll try to answer them.

=====
P.S. This is the sixth and last in a series of six Buyer Legends Recipe posts, please sign up to our newsletter for updates.

Three Examples of How To Measure Buyer Legends

Example #1 – an e-commerce Buyer Legend:

Marcy (hero) is frustrated that her microwave has broken (catalyst), so she moved it up on her to-do list to research and order a replacement today. She visits a handful of consumer sites, reads reviews, chooses the features she wants, lists a few possible models, and then measures the space in her kitchen to ensure that she doesn’t order a microwave that is too big or small. With measurements in hand, she is able to knock a handful of models off her list, leaving her with three choices. She goes to BestBuy.com, Sears.com, and Amazon.com to see more pictures, read more reviews, and compare prices. She notices that Best Buy has a price match guarantee but she will have to jump through too many hoops. Marcy is resourceful and frugal, and believes she can find the absolute lowest price for the microwave she wants. She does several Google searches, and visits a few sites but she is not impressed. The sites look unprofessional and the prices are all about the same.

Then, Marcy stumbles upon a website for Bob’s Appliance Outlet (measurable step). A large banner on the homepage announces to Marcy that most items qualify for free shipping (road sign), but even more impressive is a smaller banner in the top right corner of the page that says, “Want the lowest possible price? Make a price offer on any item in our store, and we will do our best to match it” (road sign). Marcy clicks on it (fork in the road), reads the next page and finds that the price offer feature is simple and straightforward with no fine print. She still wants to learn about a bit more about the company and goes to the About Us page (detour). After she reads this page she feels confident that this is a credible company with a credible offer. She then does a site search for the microwave she is looking for and finds it (measurable step). She reads through the product description and reviews for due diligence. She is pleased that her microwave qualifies for free shipping. Elated at the possibility of saving more than she expected, she enters an offer $100 dollars under the lowest price she found elsewhere and hits the Buy button (measurable step). A page comes back and tells her that her offer was too low but encourages her to try again. She didn’t really think they would accept another offer, but felt it was worth a try. She enters a price that is $50 under her previously lowest price, and this time the offer is accepted (destination). Marcy is presented with a page that congratulates her and tells her that her item will likely ship today and asks her how she would like to be notified about shipping. She chooses text message over email or automated phone call. Marcy goes to the kitchen satisfied, and pours herself a cup of tea, She crosses Find New Microwave off her to-do list, and begins the next item on the list.

Example #2 B2B lead generation Buyer Legend:

Mark (hero) is a savvy entrepreneur who is looking to expand by opening up a 4th location in the greater Phoenix area (catalyst). Mark used some pricey consultants in the past with mixed results. Someone told him about Idealspot.com so he went to the homepage (first measurable step), and when he saw the word algorithm, he immediately lost confidence. Mark simply believed that an automated computer process could not possibly find him a great location, so he leaves and forgets about Idealspot.com (detour).

A week later Mark is on LinkedIn and sees a ‘re-targeted’ ad with the headline, “How Science and Big Data Are Changing the Way Businesses Choose New Locations”. Not recognizing this as a post from the Idealspot.com blog, he is intrigued and clicks through (measurable step). He reads about how big data is able to spot success patterns. It explains that most location analyses hit the wall when people become involved in spending time and money collecting piles of data, but then have no way to relate it to the success or failure of their business. This is where big data and learning algorithms inject science into the process by mining through the data to pick out those patterns of success or failure and the key factors driving those patterns. The algorithms act without human bias; they start from scratch and come up with a model that is unique for each business based purely on results. Mark is starting to understand the value of Idealspot.com; he had assumed that human involvement was superior, but now he began to doubt that premise. Mark clicks through to the Idealspot.com How Does it Work page (measurable step).

Mark reads about the algorithm and how the data is loaded for each location, and how the success-prediction clientele are chosen, based on competitors and his type of business. He sees this is similar, even superior, to the methods used by much more expensive location-research alternatives. Mark starts to feel excited.

Mark wants to get a sense of the Idealspot.com track record, so he clicks on the Success Stories page (fork in the road) and reads a handful of stories by clients who are experiencing early success. He sees that Idealspot.com is a startup and their term track record is not as long or established as it could be, but the low introductory price of $297 removes this barrier from his mind.

Mark wants to try Idealspot.com. Still believing the pricing is too good to be true, Mark reads a section on the Pricing page (detour) that explains how big data and learning algorithms dramatically reduce the cost of research allowing IdealSpot to offer high-value analyses and rock bottom prices (road sign).

He clicks the Get Started button (measurable step). It explains the cost of each report, and that he is setting up an account that will allow him to enter potential locations and request as many or as few reports as needed. He does not need a credit card right now.

Marks appreciates that his privacy will be protected.

Mark fills out a form requesting his name, email and password, and then clicks Join and creates an Idealspot.com account (destination). He is excited to start scouting locations and using Idealspot.com for feedback.

Example #3 B2C multi-channel Buyer Legend:

When Debbie (hero) turned 12, her Aunt Rebecca bought her a charm bracelet with a collection of charms. Debbie loved it, and 29 years later she still wears it. And now her 11 year old daughter Ashley is coming up on a birthday. Ashley loves her mom’s charm bracelet, and is always looking through the charms and asking questions. She even asked to borrow it for a night out with a friend. Debbie of course wants to surprise her daughter on her birthday with an impressive bracelet and nice collection of charms to get started (catalyst).

While out and about running errands she takes a moment to search Google on her Android phone for “Charm Bracelets nearby”. Of course, she sees Pandora at the mall but thinks they are overpriced. She also finds a Charm Boutique and decides to drop by to see what they have. As she walks in (first measurable step) she is is greeting warmly and encouraged to take her time look around and then just ask if she needs help.

Debbie is impressed with the store; their oversized charms hang in the windows and from the ceiling. It is a fun atmosphere, where she can imagine returning with her daughter and buying new charms in the future. As Debbie scans the merchandise under the glass she sees several bracelets, none of which she think would match her daughter’s taste. She asks if they have any more styles and the saleswoman takes her to a computer and shows her several more designs that are available online or by special order (road sign). She zeroes in on a style and asks about it. The sales woman tells her that it is on back order and it may take several weeks to Special Order, but that it may be available online. Debbie asks her to please write the model and style number down for her and then turns her eyes to the charms. They have an impressive collection but she can’t find a couple of essential charms she would need. Ashley and she share a love of folk music and spend a few evenings a month playing guitar and singing, so a guitar charm is a must. Ashley also loves and collects zebras but the store has none of those, either. While there, she picks up a handful of charms that Ashley would love (measurable step) and heads home (detour).

That night after Ashley falls asleep Debbie goes online to visit the Charm Boutique website (measurable step) and quickly gets lost in the selection. She finds the bracelet she liked at the store as well as a guitar charm, a zebra charm, and about a dozen others that she adds to her cart, satisfied she has found the perfect Birthday gift for Ashley. She hits the checkout button and sees the total. It’s a little more than she wanted to spend. So Debbie visits the Pandora website to compare charms and pricing (detour). She finds that many of the charms she wants are there, but not all, and the bracelet choices are not that great. Even more so when she places them in her cart and hits checkout. The price is much more than that of Charm Boutique. So, she goes back to the Charm Boutique site, and finds something she missed before. She sees that her order qualifies for free priority mail shipping and she could have it in a week, giving her plenty of breathing room before Ashley’s birthday. She finishes checking out and is tickled that this worked out so well. She can’t wait to see the look on her daughter’s face when she opens this present.

=====
P.S. This is the sixth and last in a series of six Buyer Legends Recipe posts, please sign up to our newsletter for updates.

As always, we encourage you to try Buyer Legends for yourself, but if you need help, please let us know.

Read More

Real Brand Storytelling: Mitch Joel Interviews Bryan Eisenberg for the Twist Image Podcast

spos_lowres_rgbWelcome to episode #446 of Six Pixels Of Separation – The Twist Image Podcast. I have known Bryan Eisenberg forever. Back when I first started publishing music  magazines on the Internet (in the mid-nineties), there were few people writing about the power of the Internet from a business and marketing perspective. There were message boards and email lists… and that’s where I first started reading the work of Bryan. Now, Bryan Eisenberg is the co-author (along with his brother, Jeffrey Eisenberg) of the bestselling books, Call to Action, Waiting For Your Cat to Bark? and Always Be Testing. We have also shared the stage on numerous occasions, because Bryan is a professional marketing keynote speaker as well. He’s done much than that. He is also the co-founder of the Web Analytics Association (now the Digital Analytics Association), serves as an advisory board member of Search Engine Strategies, the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summitand several venture capital backed startup companies (like Bazaarvoice, Monetate,Nomi, TagMan, and more). Most recently, he launched a new startup called,IdealSpot, and a fascinating new book called, Buyer Legends – The Executive Storyteller’s Guide. Enjoy the conversation…

Here it is: Six Pixels Of Separation – The Twist Image Podcast – Episode #446 – Host: Mitch Joel.

  • Running time: 46:59.
Read More
What we can offer you

Four Pillars Ongoing Support

After our workshops, we work with only a few select clients. Your business must be committed to the Four Pillars (as described in Be Like Amazon) on a long-term basis .

Workshops

We kick-off the workshop with a two-day onsite visit. We help you create the Four Pillar foundation for your organization. The entire process takes between 4-8 weeks and the typical investment is $30,000 – $100,000.

Speak at Your Event

We can speak at your event. Our fees are $20,000 in North America, and that includes travel. International fees are $20,000 plus business class travel, from Austin, and lodging. Contact us to discuss your event