November 17, 2015
There are so many elements involved in an E-Commerce website. Many a times you may not realize but the smallest of the details can make a huge impact on the user.
With increasing competition, digital user experience has become very important. If your user’s experience on the website is not good, people abandon your site and go for competitor’s site.
Digital User experience is nothing but the experience a user undergoes, while he is browsing, buying your product and services online.
For any website to standout from the competition, company should invest heavily on the following things
One company that does great job is Amazon.
Amazon is one of the biggest E-Commerce site in India and the world. They have achieved this summit by focusing heavily on the following things.
Complete focus on customer experience even at a low cost of margins has made Amazon customer’s favorite when it comes to online shopping. To make the customer happy, Amazon innovated a lot in terms of technology, products, services and marketing. We will see some live case examples of it. We will discuss few good examples on how Amazon innovates and differentiate itself from the rest.
So Let’s begin
Amazon tries to make customer’s life easy right from user log-in page. They innovate by understanding user behavior and patterns
For registration, user will not have to go to another page, one can continue to register through the same sign in page.
In the product pages, to get maximum mileage, they use same product name as that of title and same name in the meta description along with product code. Check example of Apple Macbook Pro page below.
This reinforces strongly to web crawlers that this page is about the Apple Macbook Pro. Also since Macbook Pro has multiple SKU’s, Amazon differentiates from other SKU’s through product ID which is specific to that SKU.
They also use canonical tags to tell web crawlers which version of page to index.
See below snippet from source code of the product page.
This is done to make sure if any user searches by product ID, relevant page should come up
Humans are social animals and this reflects in our shopping habits as well. Amazon understands this basic nature and therefore it gives high preference to Customer reviews as a customer values other customer’s opinion very highly. It is just another form of word of mouth.
To make reviews even more relevant, Amazon along with user ratings, adds additional information about comments, such as whether comment is from verified customer or not.
One other important thing is that it lets the user to upload the product pictures in the comments section. It adds veracity to the review.
To make reviews more relevant, Amazon displays reviews which are most helpful according to them and shows only relevant reviews first. It also allows user to share feedback on the review (review was helpful / not, mark as abuse) etc.
Through these features, Amazon engages customers and gets insights on what customers are thinking and how are they acting.
In last few years, apart from detailed product description that Amazon provides, it has also started an FAQ section where customers can put up their queries and to answers are provided to them. Amazon has started FAQ section which handles all major questions faces/ raised by user’s. Here user can search if his question has already been asked and answered; if not then the user can post a question and Amazon will answer it. There is also option of upvote and downvote the answer which signifies that whether you were satisfied with the response.
Almost all products has FAQs this helps the users in a great way as their doubts are answered. This increases the chances of a purchase from consumer.
Track package details in Email:
Amazon is one of the few E-Commerce companies which uses email schema markup to the fullest.
So when user orders something, an email is sent to the customer telling about the details about the order and the delivery stage. Typically the user has to open the email and then click on the link to see the status of delivery. But Amazon uses email schema where user can check the status of the delivery without opening the email. Check the example below.
Amazon was one of the first companies to roll out this feature. Like mentioned earlier, that humans are social animals, they would like to know what others are buying and this feature exactly does the same. Amazon let users know that what other customers are buying who have already bought selected product. Through this, Amazon tries to socialize the buying process and make shopping more personal. See below image for reference.
Amazon uses heuristic algorithms to predict user liking and displays product which customer might be interested in.
Example:If user has bought Apple Mac book pro, Amazon shows products such as Apple protection plan, Apple mouse, Apple keyboard cover etc. These products are complementary to original product.
Amazon understands customer buying cycle like no one does, If a user bought a Macbook pro, then he would be interested in its accessories and that’s why one see Macbook accessories rather than other Macbook pro variants.
A Lot of people consider Amazon as e-commerce company, but the real avatar of Amazon is Technology. It is technology company. They use technology in every business activity from marketing to operations, website to recruitment.
Let me take an example of Macbook pro on Amazon.in website. The url is
Replace “.in” in above url with “.com”
You will realize that both the URL works and it points out to same product i.e Macbook pro, but the “.com” url is aimed at American customers instead of Indian customers.
This is level of planning that Amazon undertakes. But How does this help?
A lot of stuff Amazon does is under the table, if you look the source code of Amazon.in, you will notice it is just tip of the iceberg.
Amazon uses schema to let Web crawlers parse it data in machine readable format, so that Web crawlers like Google, Bing understand what the page and what it is talking about.
From source file, one can find below code.
<meta property="fb:app_id" content="164734381262" />
<meta name="twitter:card" value="summary"/>
<meta name="twitter:site:id" value="20793816"/>
<meta property="og:image" content="http://g-ec2.images-amazon.com/images/G/31/img14/anywhere/amazon-logo-500500._V327001990_.jpg" xmlns:og="http://opengraphprotocol.org/schema/">
<meta property="og:description" content="Amazon.in: Online Shopping India - Buy mobiles, laptops, cameras, books, watches, apparel, shoes and e-Gift Cards. Free Shipping & Cash on Delivery Available." xmlns:og="http://opengraphprotocol.org/schema/">
"@context" : "http://schema.org",
"@type" : "Organization",
"name" : "amazon",
"url" : "http://www.amazon.in/",
"sameAs" : ["https://www.facebook.com/Amazon.fr","https://www.youtube.com/c/amazonfr"]
Amazon uses open graph protocol supported by all modern browsers and search engines and it lets Search engines parse & understand content that exists on the website.
Amazon does have significant customer base and sometimes these customers wants to connect with customer care of Amazon. And lot of people search Google to find out toll free of number of Amazon.in otherwise it requires some effort to find out the customer care.
To reduce the effort of the customer, Amazon uses schema markup to let search engines know what their customer care number is. The searching for customer care for service oriented company has lot of search traffic
Amazon.in site has device adapatablity for all most browsers. It supports right from IE6 to latest IE, Chrome, Mozilla. See below code for reference.
They have customized their site for browsers which are less than IE7, IE7, IE8, IE9
<!doctype html><!--[if lt IE 7]><html class="a-no-js a-lt-ie10 a-lt-ie9 a-lt-ie8 a-lt-ie7 a-ie6" data-19ax5a9jf="dingo"><![endif]--><!--[if IE 7]><html class="a-no-js a-lt-ie10 a-lt-ie9 a-lt-ie8 a-ie7" data-19ax5a9jf="dingo"><![endif]--><!--[if IE 8]><html class="a-no-js a-lt-ie10 a-lt-ie9 a-ie8" data-19ax5a9jf="dingo"><![endif]--><!--[if IE 9]><html class="a-no-js a-lt-ie10 a-ie9" data-19ax5a9jf="dingo"><![endif]--><!--[if !IE]><!--><html class="a-no-js" data-19ax5a9jf="dingo"><!--<![endif]--><head>
if you see flipkart.com, it doesn’t support any browsers less than IE7.
Amazon is one of the fastest website that loads itself.
Page speed matters a lot for Amazon. They found that for every 100ms of latency cost them 1% in sales. Even Google thinks that an extra delay of 0.5 seconds in search results display, can lead to 20% drop in traffic which is huge.
Amazon spends nearly $10 bn dollars in R&D. A sizable chunk of that money goes in improving the speed of the page. They use techniques such DNS prefetching, CDN to optimize the page performance.
In Amazon Search functionality is very critical. Search functionality becomes very important. Almost 90% of products are discovered through search.
One key thing when it comes to search is wrong spelling mistakes. Sometimes users search with wrong search. It is upto the companies to understand what the user is intending and assume and show relevant results.
Amazon does great job here. Search “macbooock” in Amazon. You will find Macbook results.
Also it asks users what did they meant. This feature does not exist in Flipkart.
Amazon is a Data driven company, Most of the decisions that Amazon makes on daily basis is based on metrics. Amazon collect huge amount of data through their website which they understand and get insights on human behavior.
There are a lot of other minute things that Amazon excels at. All combined to make a truly Giant who has pulse of a customer and innovated a lot in digital marketing to reach this level.
If you find anything else that has impressed you a lot then do share it with me and others through the comments box below.