Amazon Goes Back to School and Reduces Customer Friction
“Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.” -- Chinese Proverb
In many parts of world, the month of August means the end of the school break. Students go back to school, parents’ lives become calmer, and businesses start to ramp up their various activities as employees return from their vacations. The holiday season and its bonanza of shopping and other activities is only few short months away, so it’s time to get busy.
According to a feature article in RetailDive, back-to-school is also an opportunity. It’s a chance to “test new shipping models, pricing and inventory strategies, or digital gizmos. It’s an opportunity to win new demographics and shoppers. And it will be a season where we all try to figure out who, if anyone, has the chops to take on Amazon, in any channel.”
And Amazon does indeed have something new up its metaphorical sleeve. It’s called Instant Pickup, and it lets its Prime and Prime Student members order online from a selection of “daily essentials” for pickup in two minutes or less, from one of its fully staffed pickup locations. The service is available at five of its 22 pickup locations, all on or near college campuses.
According to RetailDive, the locations are likely to be in areas where Amazon’s Prime membership and purchasing are highest. The article also notes that the convenience items available through the service are all those which tend to have “hefty margins.”
Amazon has been at the forefront of numerous innovations, many of them around faster and faster fulfillment and delivery. While it remains to be seen if this new model will prove profitable in the long run, the experiment may result in increased revenue and reduced net shipping costs for the company, according to Forbes.
Forbes also notes that, “recent data from ComScore.com suggests that less than 20% of household discretionary retail dollars are spent on digital commerce. If Amazon plans to continue to grow, it needs to capture more of that discretionary share-of-wallet.” And not just Amazon. All merchants—whether they’re physical or digital, online or in-store—are competing with other similar businesses for customers’ discretionary spending.
Of course, not all e-commerce merchants can compete with the market-devouring force that is Amazon. Not everyone can fulfill customer orders within two minutes, two hours, or even two days, like Amazon. But subscription merchants can take a page from Amazon’s playbook and innovate around ways to make customer purchases more efficient and seamless. This is “frictionless commerce,” and it’s what you should aim for in all your customers’ interactions with your brand.
Want to learn more about how to achieve a more frictionless experience in your subscription business? Sign up for our webinar on Sept. 13th.