A new poll from NPR – Marist found that just under half of all Americans begin at Amazon when searching for a product rather than using Google or another search engine.  This shouldn’t be terribly surprising as it is a trend that we have seen going up over the last few years, but what is surprising is the speed at which this stat is growing.  As recently as 2016, Amazon was only slightly edging out Google as the preferred starting point to find information about products (38% to 35%). Perhaps a more telling statistic from the 2016 survey is this:

“Among the 35 percent of shoppers who began with Google 52 percent said they clicked on Google Shopping Results, 41 percent clicked on an Amazon link and a similar number clicked on a retailer link, while 27 percent clicked on brand sites.”

Contributing Factors

  • Programs like Amazon Prime are increasing brand loyalty. Research has shown that Prime members typically spend hundreds, if not thousands, more a year at the site in order to take advantage of free shipping, convenient subscription services and the ability to use the Amazon Alexa smart speaker for easy re-ordering.
  • Over the past few years, Amazon has widened its available product selections even more greatly than they were previously, with the recent acquisitions of WholeFoods and the online pharmacy PillPack expected to see Amazon more share in new markets.
  • B2B buyers are increasingly using Amazon instead of more traditional distribution and supply chain networks.  They claim to have well in excess of 1 Million B2B customers and are enjoying a 20% month to month increase in sales.

But, Amazon shoppers who start product searches on the retail giant’s site stated that they were drawn there primarily because of perks and a large catalog of available products, but also highlighted the high quality of available information about products, particularly helpful reviews that influence an ultimate buying decision.

Takeaways for Brand Manufacturers and Distributors

Amazon understands that, over the years, they have become far more than just a retailer, as studies like the NPR-Marist poll suggests.  It is now a destination for product research, a channel for brand marketing, and a provider of digital content that influences the customer journey. Whether your organization is competing with Amazon, cooperating with them, or some hybrid model, one thing is clear: if you want to increase your sales, provide your B2C customers and B2B buyers with the information the rich, accurate and engaging product content they want.

  • Your product catalog should be complete and available on every available channel – this could be your brand website, your partner websites, and even Amazon, potentially. This is facilitated by taking a centralized approach to product content that incorporates easy publication and syndication of that content
  • Just like Amazon, your site should take advantage of faceted search and offer complementary products for cross-selling and upsell opportunities. This capability begins with a robust data model for product information management that includes classifications and hierarchies for your product catalog.
  • The SEO for your products should include targeted keywords and pillar content to increase search results for buyers who ARE using search engines to conduct product research.
  • Your product management teams should have the ability to quickly onboard products from suppliers and collaborate with internal and external teams to provide rich, informative content, that includes digital assets like images, videos, or brochures.

Product Information Management (PIM) can provide the data foundation that your enterprise needs to improve customer experience, grow brand loyalty and ultimately, increase sales.  Get in touch with us to learn more about we can help you build that foundation for success.