If you want your web store to be the best you need to study the best, and Amazon.com is right up there at the top. You might not be able to beat them at their own game but if you know how they play it, you can apply those same principals on a smaller scale to your own business.
Simply, Speedy Checkout
One of Amazons greatest strengths, letting people purchase what they need in seconds, not minutes. The better you can make your checkout experience, the more sales you will get. Amazon’s, “1 Click” checkout is revolutionary. The less obstacles you can put in from of your customer the better.
Amazon’s search is incredibly accurate and takes precedent even over their navigation. Because they offer so many different products, having excellent search is vital. If your online store has over 50 products you really should look into having a great search experience on your site.
Amazon has this down to a science. For every product you view, add to your wish-list, or purchase, they build a profile of similar products that you might like. It is like standing in the checkout line at the grocery store and seeing all those candy bars staring you in the face (if you like candy bars). From personal experience I’ve bought several products that were recommended to me and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Even if you have to manually enter similar products on your own webpage, I highly recommend doing it. The only thing better than one sale is two sales…
If it isn’t on Amazon, it probably doesn’t exist. They have a huge selection of products and offer them at several price points, including used products. You cannot have every product under the sun but clearly define what it is you do carry. Don’t boast the worlds largest selection of nose hair trimmers if that isn’t what you carry. You will only make customers mad, and they won’t be returning.
Amazon has dozens of user submitted reviews for their products that are ranked by how useful other users found them to be. You cannot always trust the company you are buying from but you tend to take the advice of other customers. Allowing customer reviews on your site will build trust between you and your customers.
Amazon does a good job of categorizing their products. Not much else to say except make sure to do the same.
Honestly, their navigation is not that great, but it is consistent. No matter what, always keep it consistent. Same location, same colors, same fonts and font sizes. Users aren’t looking for surprises they are looking for the product they want and that’s it.
Affiliate programs, although sometime hard to create are a cost effective way to promote your products and business. Essentially you are selling at a slight discount in exchange for free advertising.
This is the hardest thing for new web stores to build. The best way to do it is offer excellent customer service while keeping your experience consistent. Two things Amazon is great at.
Amazon offers multiple shipping options. Anything that creates convenience for the customer will keep them coming back.
I could have come up with another five but you get the idea. And it doesn’t have to be Amazon.com. Take a look at any successful business in your industry and find out what they do well.