Insights
Nov 20, 20184 min read

Your best Amazon defence: Do cool things.

Anton Hellkvist headshot

by Anton Hellkvist

Amazon is biting off big chunks of the e-commerce market. To avoid being scratched, injured or mortally wounded in the months and years to come in this battle, you might need to upgrade your strategy for getting customers – and keeping them.

Look, in the first quarter of this year, Jeff Bezos’ online retailing beast took a 97 percent market share of online battery purchases in the US, 94 percent share of kitchen and dining products, 93 percent of home improvement tools, 92 percent of golf-related product purchases and 91 percent of skin care, according to a report from Jumpshot.

And it’s not just Amazon. Competitors are attacking from all sides, eyeing up your customers and making business tough for you.

So what can you do?

In the mind of your target customer, a relevant product is not enough. You must make your webstore irresistible – even if others are cheaper, faster, more well-known, or have other advantages.

Begin by asking yourself and your team: What’s the weapon we have that others don’t? You must be extraordinary. And you must act it out.

What does this mean, exactly?

Irresistibility and coolness

Let’s look at how some online businesses make pricing and other factors more or less irrelevant, and how you can do the same. I’ll give you a challenge. Do an image search on Google for “Gentle monster shop”. This is what you’ll see. Can you guess what they sell?

Did you work out what they sell?

Okay, here is the answer: Gentle Monster sell… sunglasses.

Yes.

Sunglasses.

Everything – online as well as offline – is driven by the understanding that the sunglasses alone aren’t enough. It’s essential to create an experience, a brand that stands out from the crowd, something that arouses emotions and which your target group will be dying to share with their peers. Millennials and Gen Z are becoming immune to traditional ways of marketing; it takes something more to really get through to them. For these consumers, it’s the truly unique experience you create around your brand and product which will establish the emotional connection that leads to loyalty.

On Gentle Monster’s website you’ll find cool projects like “Larger than life” which attach even more emotions to their brand. Please check it out, and you’ll realize: People don’t buy these sunglasses for the sunglasses.

That’s an important revelation.

These principles apply regardless of what you sell. Being relevant and touching the hearts of your true audience is what matters, and it doesn’t have to be through an extravagant showroom like a Gentle Monster shop.

Ask this question: What would be relevant for my true fans?

You need to focus on your tribe of true fans. Do you know who those fans are? Kevin Kelly, in his legendary post “1,000 true fans”, describes true fans like this:

“A true fan is defined as a fan that will buy anything you produce. These diehard fans will drive 200 miles to see you sing; they will buy the hardback and paperback and audible versions of your book; they will purchase your next figurine sight unseen; they will pay for the “best-of” DVD version of your free youtube channel; they will come to your chef’s table once a month.”

With those customers in mind, set aside time to dig into these questions:

  • What do your true fans care about?
  • How can you express clearly what you stand for, through various actions?

For example, if you stand for “natural”, show them how. Interview the people sourcing your organic materials; create a small video clip around it. Show your customers fascinating details about how your product is made, to create that emotional and personal bond. Storytelling is key here.

You don’t need a film crew or a production team; just a smartphone and an idea for making your story come alive. If you don’t know who your true fans are and what they care about, it should be your number one mission to find out. Act out what you stand for using the language of your true fans.

Create those experiences that Amazon can’t compete with.

Be cool.

And smoooth.