Consumers love to shop online because it's easy, comfortable, and often comes with a significant price savings. It hasn't always been this way, but over the last 20 years Amazon has successfully changed the way people shop all over the world.
The world's largest online retailer has grown from its humble bookselling beginnings to influence nearly every aspect of the consumer buying experience, from browsing to ordering to returning. Here's a look at the top six ways Amazon has changed buying behaviors:
1. Checking Amazon First and Last
Running low on printer ink? You might reach for your phone to check Amazon's replacement price before considering another retailer. Have those ink prices made you consider buying a new printer? A bigger purchase might prompt you to consider "showrooming," or getting a feel for the printer at a brick-and-mortar store before ordering it online for a lower price.
2. Shopping by Voice
With the introduction of Amazon's Alexa, the company has become a major player in making it possible for people to shop by voice. Now there's no need to even lift your phone to order that replacement printer ink. Just tell Alexa and it will show up at your door.
3. Buying Groceries Online
The convenience of shopping online has disrupted weekly trips to the grocery store with Amazon Prime, Prime Now, and the Whole Foods merger. Consumers are increasingly ordering both perishable and non-perishable groceries online for quick pick-up or home delivery.
4. Buying Clothes Online
Prime Wardrobe makes it easy for people to purchase clothing online by decreasing the time spent finding the right item and returning any wrong items. Consumers are growing increasingly likely to purchase higher quantities of clothing at a time due to the ease of returns.
5. Ease of Returns
Whether it's clothing, furniture, or a simple book, Amazon has streamlined the return experience to ensure a return is almost as simple to make as a purchase. By simplifying a return to just a few clicks, buyers are more likely to make a purchase with which they'll be satisfied.
6. Endless, Searchable Aisles
Brick-and-mortar stores are physically limited to the number of different products they have available for purchase. Through their extensive network of warehouses and other drop-shipping practices, Amazon offers a seemingly unlimited selection of items that is searchable with a single click, rather than hunting through a crowded store.
While many of these changes may feel sudden, Amazon has been influencing consumer buying behaviors since 1994, allowing the company to affect an entire generation of purchasing decisions. Traditional retailers today are challenged to build a response to Amazon's disruptions by listening to the needs of their customers, whether it's through an exceptional in-store experience, a desirable loyalty program, or a curated product selection that can't be replicated.