Identifying and capitalizing on Goliath’s weak spots
It’s a classic David versus Goliath story. In 2015 alone Amazon raked in net sales of $107 billion and swallowed up 72% of online users in the U.S., making it both the Goliath we love to hate and the price leader we love to shop. But online retailers often wonder, Am I fighting a losing battle trying to compete with the monster of all monsters? Isn’t Amazon going to eat me alive anyway? I say it’s all in the approach. For those with the smarts, creativity, and fortitude, there are a few ways to save your e-tail village from Goliath and run a thriving e-commerce business. In any battle, it’s best to start with an understanding of your opponent’s strengths and weaknesses. Let’s start with the strengths.
Captain Obvious would tell us that one of Amazon’s strengths is its massive catalogue of products. Like any business that wants to launch into a new category in a business, Amazon does their market research—and they’ve got some of the brightest people on the planet working for them. These folks are able to identify new and existing markets that have room for opportunity on price optimization. Five years ago, they weren’t selling a ton of custom apparel items and then they started to encroach in that market. Ten years ago they were not selling a lot of golf equipment, but then they figured out how to optimize their catalogue. Take batteries, for example. Amazon recognized that the category of batteries had been dominated by Duracell and Eveready for a very long time. By sheer volume, they figured out the unit economics and profit margins of selling so that they could manufacture, or white label, their own basic office products. With this data, they launched a whole brand called AmazonBasics and now you can buy Amazon-branded batteries, USB cables, and HDMI cables. For Amazon, it’s all about their massive catalogue and tackling massive markets. Continue reading
A solid case for automation and the cloud, written by
When I poll accountants as to what they do all day they tell me that circa 80% of their day is spent “checking and processing” data. That’s a lot of time (revenue) checking and processing! However, technology exists today that commoditizes compliance.
The global Accounting profession has revenues of approximately $500 billion. It employs nearly 6 million people and more than 80% of the revenue is made up of tax, compliance, and audit services. The revenue is mainly historical-based “redundant data” services.
Why So Much Checking and Processing?
The reason there is so much checking and processing going on is that there are humans and inefficient systems involved. Humans at your client site using archaic systems like hard drive accounting systems, spreadsheets, paper, and scanned documents. The humans are not accountants so they make mistakes, like entering the wrong number in the wrong box.
Because of this, when the client information comes to you, the first thing you do is check it. And check it. And check it. And check it some more. Then you process it. And process it. And process it. I’m exhausted just thinking about all these inefficiencies!
How this neglected and abused role is really the secret savior of modern business
Looking around at job boards, I see two trends in the area of user research:
- More businesses are hiring for this role and skillset
- Most companies fill this position later in their lifecycle
We live in a world where user research must be a priority and appear earlier both in a company’s lifecycle and in a product’s lifecycle. Very similar to other tacit roles like product management and UX design, companies assume that the skill or function gaps of the position are being covered with overlapping roles from other departments. Take Product Management, for example. Before a company hires their first Product Manager, they assume the engineering, marketing, and executive teams are performing all the core Product Management functions. Somehow, this disparate group is expected to handle the wide ranging functions of a Product Manager, but it often falls short to the detriment of the entire company.
Most of us know the unfortunate reality of using a product that was designed with user experience as an afterthought—it’s just no good. But that’s exactly what results when a designer gets their first crack at improving the experience only when the product is in the final stages of engineering instead of when it’s in first-draft or just a fledgling idea. Of course the product will be lackluster, even after the designer wages a harrowing yet futile battle to make it useable and beautiful. Continue reading
5 quick wins for a successful holiday season
By now, your holiday marketing plan is likely up and running, but with competition at an all-time high, consider a few of these effective strategies from Bronto‘s industry partners to give your efforts an extra boost.
Use Your Post-Purchase Data
Make it as easy as possible for your existing customers to come back and purchase again,” says Robert J. Moore, Head of Magento Analytics. “More than any other prospective customers, you know who these people are and what they like, such as product types, price points, and even what time of day they shop. Use this data to create special promotions and announcements that cost you very little to deliver but can have a major impact on your sales.”
Target Lapsed Customers
“The holidays are the best time to target your lapsed customers,” says AgilOne’s Laura Corbalis. “Identify everyone who hasn’t bought from you in over a year, and send them a holiday-focused ‘We miss you!’ message with a special deal. These customers are familiar with your brand, so sending them something that beckons them back can be a very quick win.”