Amazon once was an afterthought for many brands, but “has now turned into their omnichannel anchor,” said Taylor Hamilton, chief executive officer of ReCommerce, an Amazon brand agency.
The executive maintains that a truly premium shopping experience must deliver on the promise of luxury across the customer journey.
“Time is the most valuable asset both for brands and for consumers,” Hamilton said. “The ease of procurement has now become one of the primary defining characteristics of luxury.”
ReCommerce surveyed women aged 13 to 65 about their shopping preferences. Among 13- to 17-year-olds, more than 65 percent would rather shop online versus in brick-and-mortar. That level is 43 percent for 26- to 41-year-olds, and 33 percent for the 58-plus set.
Eighty-one percent of surveyed consumers research a product before making their purchasing decision and Amazon has become a key search engine.
“Are you properly conveying your brand’s proposition?” Hamilton asked the audience at the WWD Beauty CEO Summit. “Your brand’s presence on Amazon does have an effect on your ability to convert in-store.
“Eighty percent of consumers would prefer to purchase products on Amazon over a brand’s direct-to-consumer website given the pricing is the same,” he continued. Part of the reason is time savings, fast delivery with Amazon Prime and ease-of-use.
Hamilton noted his three-year-old daughter was independently developing motor skills — such as the swiping gesture on a cell phone — before even being able to brush her own teeth.
“Generation Alpha is the first generation that has been born into this truly on-demand digital economy,” he said, defining a motor skill as a skilled movement that is a product of force, velocity, accuracy and purposefulness.
“That’s really what Amazon is all about,” Hamilton said. “Amazon has developed a distribution network that is the largest and most sophisticated in the world.”
He said that garners an unmatched, difficult-to-replicate level of trust. Amazon, Hamilton continued, is a one-stop shop that “levels the playing field [in user experiences] across products and industries. Once you understand how to purchase one thing on Amazon, you understand how to use the entire platform.
“Amazon is a very easy first step for consumers to explore the online environment,” he continued, noting it’s no longer just a platform name. “It is a motor skill that is being developed.”
Despite its ubiquity, many premium and luxury beauty brands sold in brick-in-mortar in the U.S. are still not authorizing the sale of their brands there. While 89 percent are on Amazon, only 49 percent of them actively manage their presence. That can lead to issues such as unauthorized sellers or inconsistent experiences.
“Amazon is extremely complex,” Hamilton said. “We see brands all the time that are working on creative or advertising, but not managing the brand production portion of it, or the catalogue, as well. It’s the confluence really of these different levels coming together that produce high-quality, experienced and successful brands on Amazon.”
Amazon is also a goldmine for data, which can lead to consumer acquisition and build loyalty. “Every single time a customer makes a purchase of your brand, the average basket grows over time,” Hamilton said.
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