What Retailers Can Learn from Amazon

by Ben Gaddis

Picture via pixabay.com

Editor’s note: In Q4 2015, T3 released the Useful Brand Report, a study in which we asked 5,500 consumers to rate the world’s leading brands according to how well they perform against modern expectations. These scores were compiled to create a brand’s Useful Score—a powerful tool that reveals 14 areas of strength and weakness of a brand in a way that helps our clients and partners focus resources, thinking, development and go-to-market strategies.

When we examined our Useful Brand Retail Report, we discovered some retail brands are significantly more useful than others. But there was only one company that completely dominated the report in overall usefulness.

This e-commerce giant offers customers everything from a subscription service for faster and free delivery to nearly a million products to choose from in just a few clicks. And according to a survey from cross-channel marketing platform Signal, 42 percent of US online shoppers will use this company as their primary holiday shopping destination this year.

Yes—it’s Amazon.com.

So what are consumers’ thoughts on retail brands in general? Well, after a closer look at the 44 retail brands analyzed—the data revealed an interesting story. [Download here]

In the eyes of consumers, most retail brands are identical in usefulness.

Here’s what consumers are saying:

  • Retail brands are doing OK
  • Pick up the pace in innovation
  • Conform to the individual a little more
  • Be more readily available

These sentiments change drastically when you compare the retail category to Amazon.com, which is ranked nearly 30 points higher across all 14 elements of usefulness. Amazon.com so thoroughly dominates retailers across Useful Brand elements that even customers who have never ordered from the company gave it high marks.

They’re just that useful.

It’s no longer a matter of emulating their nimble business model. If retailers hope to not only survive, but also regain the lead, they will need to execute on two strategic priorities:

Look for customer signals in-category:

This means retail brands should ask themselves how they can drive customers to a higher level of individual performance that exceeds basic product interactions. Also, how can they remove barriers to achieve this empowered state?

Emulate best-in-breed Useful Brands in other categories:

In other words, consumers also look to retailers to find useful solutions outside their industry. When retailers do this, they can pair new strategies with technology to drive acquisition, loyalty, and overall customer profitability.

You likely won’t be the next Amazon.com—the e-commerce site clocked in $107 billion in revenue last year. However, you can get a head start by learning more about retail and terms of usefulness by downloading our Useful Brand Retail Report here

Ben Gaddis

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