The vision is still to offer “Earth’s biggest selection and to be Earth’s most customer-centric company. Consider how these core marketing messages summarising the Amazon online value proposition are communicated both on-site and through offline communications. Of course, achieving customer loyalty and repeat purchases has been key to Amazon’s success.
Many dot-coms failed because they succeeded in achieving awareness, but not loyalty. Amazon achieved both. In their SEC filing they stress how they seek to achieve this. They say: “We work to earn repeat purchases by providing easy-to-use functionality, fast and reliable fulfillment, timely customer service, feature rich content, and a trusted transaction environment.
Key features of our websites include editorial and customer reviews; manufacturer product information; Web pages tailored to individual preferences, such as recommendations and notifications; 1-Click® technology; secure payment systems; image uploads; searching on our websites as well as the Internet; browsing; and the ability to view selected interior pages and citations, and search the entire contents of many of the books we offer with our “Look Inside the Book” and “Search Inside the Book” features.
Our community of online customers also creates feature-rich content, including product reviews, online recommendation lists, wish lists, buying guides, and wedding and baby registries. ” In practice, as is the practice for many online retailers, the lowest prices are for the most popular products, with less popular products commanding higher prices and a greater margin for Amazon.
Free shipping offers are used to encourage increase in basket size since customers have to spend over a certain amount to receive free shipping. The level at which free-shipping is set is critical to profitability and Amazon has changed it as competition has changed and for promotional reasons. Round (2004) notes that Amazon focuses on customer satisfaction metrics.
Each site is closely monitored with standard service availability monitoring (for example, using Keynote or Mercury Interactive) site availability and download speed. Interestingly it also monitors per minute site revenue upper/lower bounds – Round describes an alarm system rather like a power plant where if revenue on a site falls below $10,000 per minute, alarms go off! There are also internal performance service-level-agreements for web services where T% of the time, different pages must return in X seconds.