Why did books and CDs sell successfully online immediately while many other products took some time to sell online?
It is easier to sell such items and books and CDs online because these goods have fixed contents. If one goes to an e-store to purchase a book, they are likely to be already aware of the exact title and author of the item they need. All they have to do is find the book online and pay for it. Books and CDs are goods with fixed content.
This means that consumers pay for standard items. For example, buying a book by Paolo Coehlo called “the Alchemist” and getting disappointed by its contents a customer would not blame this on the e-tailer. At the same time, such goods as shoes, clothes, household appliances, toys, or home improvement products need to be tested, researched, compared with other similar products and checked. In other words, books and CDs are sold quicker because the customers experience less doubt while purchasing them.
Do you think consumers who buy from Amazon.com also shop at other Web sites for books and CDs and buy from the site that offers the lowest price?
In my opinion, in online sales, one of the major aspects of store loyalty depends on is quality of services presented by the store. Amazoon.com has a very well developed system of customer support and an easy to browse a website that memorizes one’s choices reflect the older requests and suggests items that might be interesting for each particular customer.
This grants the feeling of a special approach. Besides, once a customer gets used to a certain website and its interface, the other platforms would gradually lose their value for this individual because of them being accustomed to a certain order of things.
Maintaining customer loyalty is crucial for the online stores because statistically, the loss of one customer may cost them up to four thousand dollars of income a year (Peter & Olson 2010). There is a variety of ways and techniques of raising customer loyalty to a store, and Amazon.com successfully employs and pioneers most of them. As a result, this online store remains very successful when other stores lose their popularity and go out of practice.
What aspects of customer service have contributed to Amazon.com’s success?
During the last several decade’s online communication has gradually grown to replace most of the physical communication. For example, texts and instant chat messages are more popular than actual meetings; video chats and conferences are practiced more often than physical gatherings.
Shopping has also become more digital. As a result, in 2012, the National Retail Federation announced Amazon.com as the “Number one in Customer Service.” In the overall rating table, the five first positions were taken by online retailers and only then came traditional stores.
Online stores’ customer services were evaluated according to such aspects as reliability, politeness, easiness, efficiency, speed, and free shipping (Goodfellow 2012). Amazon.com is appreciated by the customers because it is responsive, its customer service reps react and address the issues and questions quickly and always are ready to engage into a personal conversation via chat with the customers to help and solve the problems.
What are the differences in the purchasing experience between buying a book at Amazon.com and a Barnes & Noble brick-and-mortar store?
The differences between Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble are of quantitative and qualitative character. First of all, Amazon.com can offer a large list of items. The variety of book titles present at Amazon.com estimates in millions of items. No brick-and-mortar book store can provide such a section. Besides, Amazon.com is available for customers all over the world; they can purchase from this store without leaving their homes.
At the same time, brick-and-mortar store such as Barnes & Noble provides its customers with a completely different kind of experiences. For example, shopping at Barnes & Noble, a customer can look through the books, touch them, and feel the amazing smell of brand new books many people like so much.
Besides, Barnes & Noble book selling stores attract and please their customers by selling freshly made coffee. At such a store, one can sit down, open the books they are interested in, look through their contents. None of these services can be provided by online stores such as Amazon.com.
What problems arose when Amazon.com expanded its offerings to products other than books?
When Amazon.com decided to expand and start selling products other than a book, it endangered its profile and reputation as a global online book retailer. At the same time, it’s brand name “Amazon” was not tied specifically to books, so they decided they could go for other goods. Such expansion led to the need to create more warehouses and centers. As the variety of goods sold through Amazon.com grew, the number of their customers increased too.
As a result, the intensity of work of the employees in Amazon centers became unbearable and the kind of management provided by the company to maintain control and speed of the working process quickly turned into dictatorship where the employee’s bathroom breaks, talking and rest were strictly monitored and considered as “time theft” and resulted in conflicts with workers (Head 2014).
Goodfellow, P. (2012). Amazon #1 In Customer Service, But Will This Lead To Sustainable Loyalty? Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/prospernow/2012/08/28/amazon-1-in-customer-service-but-will-this-lead-to-sustainable-loyalty/
Head, S. (2014). Worse than Wal-Mart: Amazon’s sick brutality and secret history of ruthlessly intimidating workers. Retrieved from http://www.salon.com/2014/02/23/worse_than_wal_mart_amazons_sick_brutality_and_secret_history_of_ruthlessly_intimidating_workers/
Peter, J. P. & Olson, J. C. (2010). Consumer Behavior and Marketing Strategy (9th ed.). New York: McGraw Hill.