What can marketers learn from Amazon Go?

(c)iStock/FangXiaNuo

A simple street corner in Seattle has become the subject of international attention recently thanks to Amazon’s announcement of Amazon Go, a cashless, cashier-less and ultra-convenient corner shop experience.

The key here is experience, which Amazon has previously done very well with their one-click checkouts and Amazon lockers. They seem to know their consumers’ every need, desire and are intent on placing themselves into every facets of a customer’s life. From books to music, films, groceries and other goods, Amazon offers nearly everything a modern consumer needs.

The tech company has certainly journeyed far since their humble beginnings as an online book retailer.

It may not be very long before shopping at a cashless, cashier-less store becomes the norm in every city

Indeed, as a nod to their original purpose, Amazon has been using books to break into the offline world, with physical bookstores in Seattle, Portland and San-Diego.

Perhaps they have been planning this all along, using books to go where no online retailer has gone before. In any case, their testing must have proved worthwhile as they saw fit to open a grocery store close to their head office as a further move into our offline world.

There is untapped potential in truly uniting the offline and online worlds and the tech giant has realised this.

Finally being able to attribute sales successfully, to understanding your customer’s journey across all touchpoints, is only possible through analysing many disparate data sets both on screen and off.

What can we learn?

This is the key lesson marketers can learn from Amazon Go, uniting your data is the way to go (pun intended). Amazon is going to have the ability to analyse an unparalleled amount of data on our everyday lives if the concept store takes off. 

Just looking at the data collected as a consumer walks around Amazon Go, there’ll be sensor data on movements, what people pick up, what they eventually buy and what they put back, how much they spend and how often they visit.

Amazon will be able to use this information to inform the layout of their stores, promotions and product stock.

Amazon will also be able to look at our purchase and browsing patterns online, and compare these with in-store behaviour. These insights can then be used to provide tailored marketing messages to each individual as they browse online, or even pushed right to their phones as they walk through the Amazon Go store.

Data: Clean, store and use

Data might show that a person is wavering in their decision to purchase an upmarket box of chocolates, with them researching best chocolate brands online and then picking the product up in store, but not placing it in their basket. A promotion delivered to their phone at that precise moment offering them a discount on the product, could be the difference between a product bought and a product binned.

How then, can marketers without the clout of the tech giant, tap into the same level of insight that Amazon can achieve?

The answer, like so many in this era, is in the data. All marketers have access to data regardless of the size of the business they work for. Much of this data can be held in departmental silos, therefore, the first step to analysing data is to first ensure you have access to it and it’s all put in one place.

Decent data management platforms have become something of a trend - and for good reason. Like the foundations of a house, if your data isn’t structured the right way or in the right place, your entire data project will come crumbling down.

Once you have all your data cleaned and stored correctly, the next step is to analyse the data. The methods for this change according to your business questions and the type of data you have. Marketing data combined with sales and financial data, for instance, can accurately attribution sales and ROI to a particular channel.

Likewise, social media data, reviews, blog and product information can help with product development or social media data combined with contact centre data and reviews will help you determine customer sentiment.

There is a lot you can do with data once it’s cleaned and in the right format. Even historical data can be used to find out trends in how products sell and marketing engagement fluctuates over different seasons.

Once you have your data, you can really revisit it time and time again, and with a few more relevant data sources plugged it, it’ll be the gift that keeps on giving.

It may not be very long before shopping at a cashless, cashier-less store becomes the norm in every city. These stores are a physical symbol of a much more powerful force happening behind the scenes.

Every contact customers have with a business will soon be analysed and poured over by marketers seeking to make every interaction count. Amazon has simply hitched a ride with a fast rising trend that shows every sign of speeding up. Marketers should follow Amazon’s lead and get ready to ‘Go’.

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