Why Amazon Continues to be Awesome (Hint: Don’t Throw Out Your Boxes)

 

amazon-goodwill

 

Just when you think Amazon could not outdo itself, it does just that.

This year the company is partnering with Goodwill to make use of their many empty boxes and helping a great cause. According to a recent article from Business Insider, it’s very simple:

  • Collect your used, empty Amazon boxes. (You can also use boxes from other selected retailers.) Make sure your order isn’t still in there.
  • Pack it with the stuff you want to donate to Goodwill. Here’s a suggested list of items Goodwill accepts.
  • Print a shipping label from givebackbox.com.
  • Drop the box off at UPS or the post office. Shipping will be free, and the box will go to the nearest participating Goodwill.

I think this is a wonderful way to encourage donations! With Amazon being the best performer of the season, it’s likely that boxes are stacked high in homes around the world – this is an outstanding way to recycle the boxes while serving a great cause.

Amazon continues to lead the pack in sales for the holiday season, but this newest partnership makes them even more awesome.

As a fun side note, Amazon has shared a variety of interesting statistics in a press release related to the holiday shopping season; here are some of the highlights:

 

  • More than one billion items shipped worldwide with Prime and Fulfillment by Amazon this holiday season.
  • More than 72 percent of Amazon customers worldwide shopped using a mobile device this holiday.
  • There are now 45,000 robotics units working alongside Amazon associates in more than 20 fulfillment centers.
  • The last Prime Now order delivered in time for the holiday was delivered at 11:59 p.m. on December 24, 2016 to a Prime member in Irvine, California. The order included a Heated Mattress Pad, NyQuil and Afrin Nasal Spray.(Sounds like someone wasn’t feeling well!)
  • The last Prime FREE Same-Day Delivery order from Amazon.com that was delivered in time for Christmas was ordered at 10:23 a.m. on December 24, 2016. The order included Venum Contender Boxing Gloves, and was delivered to a Prime member in Richmond, Virginia at 2:42 p.m. – the same day
  • Amazon.com customers purchased enough 4K TVs to reach the peak of Mount Everest more than 9 times.
  • Amazon.com customers purchased enough KitchenAid Mixers this holiday to make nearly 7.5 million cookies at once.
  • Amazon.com customers purchased enough luggage to fill 20 Boeing 747 airplanes.

 

 

FacebookLinkedInTwitterGoogle+RedditStumbleUponDeliciousTumblrPinterestShare

What Can We Learn From Hillary’s Biggest Campaign Mistake?

election

 

This election season, it doesn’t matter which way you voted, or who you most wanted to win – this was hands down the craziest election in some time, and it’s likely you looked like the woman above when the final results were in. As a data geek, I have been fascinated throughout the entire process. Once the election was over, I was eager to see the post election analysis – how could so many get it wrong and the country be so surprised with Trump’s win?

 

I wanted the dust to settle and look at all the theories before writing this. It took some time for the shock to wear off in the media so they could start looking at what happened. It looks like there is one theory out there that played a big role in Clinton’s loss, and it is a good lesson for marketers.

 

The initial thought was “How could the polls be so wrong?” Now that we’ve got some time behind us, we’re seeing they really weren’t that wrong. Clinton does lead in the popular vote by quite a significant difference. So, if the polls weren’t that off, what happened exactly?

 

In listening to a few post election analysis segments, it was interesting to me that one theory rests on simple marketing. Clinton perhaps did not do enough research into what the electorate looks like in terms of economy, demographics, and the like. It is thought that she was following the 2012 model, especially since part of her strategy appeared to be creating a third Obama term. She gauged her campaign based on the data from 2012.

 

The problem? The electorate in 2016 is not the same electorate. Things have changed, demographics have shifted, and in essence it’s a different “customer” than it was four years ago.

 

This is where Clinton may have gone wrong; she didn’t get a handle on her true “customer” and therefore, her message was not effective enough to lead to the landslide victory that many were predicting.

 

As a marketer, this is fascinating and important to remember – your customer of yesterday may not be your customer today, and by making the assumption that things are as they have been, it can be detrimental to your marketing efforts.

 

What can you, as a marketer, do to ensure you are aware of your ever changing customer and market appropriately?

 

Continually review data: take a look at your data on a regular basis. Do you see any shifts in trends? Are people spending more or less? Is there a shift to an increase in online vs in store visits? Any changes should be investigated further to learn how your customer base may be changing.

 

Keep in touch with your customers: feedback programs are not only helpful to gauge satisfaction & loyalty. They can be a key indicator of a shift in your customer base. Continually monitor feedback and make sure you are reaching new customers – don’t solely focus on those who participate in a loyalty program, for example. This may be a segment of your customer base that may be more traditional in how you see your consumer demographics, but there may be a new segment you’re not seeing.

 

Use social media research: this is another tool that can give great insight into your industry. While many brands will use social media monitoring to keep tabs on their customers, another great use is to expand the social research to your competitors and industry as a whole. See what people are saying about products/services in your industry – are their expectations, pain points, and satisfaction standards changing at all compared to what they once were? If so, you may be targeting the wrong customer base if you’re using “old” marketing.

 

This was no doubt the most painful loss Clinton has ever experienced; candidates in future elections will study her strategy and learn from it, no doubt. There were also many good lessons for marketers to learn as well. Keeping tabs on customers and realizing that changes will happen over time is one key to ensuring your marketing message stays relevant and effective down the road.

Bed Bath & Beyond is No Amazon

 

bbb

It looks like Bed Bath & Beyond may be trying to take a page out of Amazon’s playbook. The retailer recently announced that it will be testing a new loyalty program, Beyond+, that is very similar to Amazon Prime.

The retailer is testing a program in which customers pay an annual fee of $29 and, in turn, receive 20% discounts and free shipping on all orders.

Right now it is invitation only; a visit to the retailer’s website indicates that it is not currently available and they are “not taking sign ups” – whether this is worded incorrectly or in an attempt to make it seem as though it’s the “next great thing” that everyone is vying for is unclear.

 

bbb2

 

So, the question is: Will this work? And, will other retailers follow suit? Is this the way of the future for retail shopping?

In short, I don’t think so. Amazon has something that no one can touch. They’ve built an ecommerce business that is impeccable when it comes to price, delivery, and service. They have fleshed out their Prime program in a way that it encompasses many benefits outside of discounts and free two day shipping. Jet tried to model themselves after Amazon, and, despite the fact that Walmart recently bought the company, they are still lagging behind.

Here are some reasons as to why this may not as successful for other retailers outside of Amazon:

  • In the case of Bed Bath & Beyond, consumers are heavily tied to their 20% coupon. But, will they latch on to this new program? My initial thought is that many will, at least the regular customers since it seems like a pretty good deal on the surface. But, they may miss out on those sporadic customers who rely on the 20% coupon to get them in the door.
  • If this model expands across multiple retailers, it will take a hit. Why? Consumers are perfectly fine having a Prime membership but shopping at other retailers as well. If the bulk of the retailers they do business do follow this model, it will be a lot of spend in annual fees – consumers may be more selective of the retailers they do business with, which may leave some retailers left out of the equation.
  • Companies may lose money. In the case of Bed Bath & Beyond, a $29 annual fee for their program seems a bit low, especially if they are targeting frequent customers. If this were to happen, would they need to increase prices to keep it working? Similarly, if it’s not as successful as they hope, it may mean a drop in customer traffic.

As a consumer, I do like the idea of paying an annual fee for discounts and free shipping (I’m an avid Prime consumer) for some of my shopping, though I think if a favorite retailer would go the path of Bed Bath and Beyond, I would carefully consider joining yet another program like this. It doesn’t mean I would stop being a customer, but it may shift my purchasing habits.
 

What are your thoughts about this new loyalty program? Good idea, bad idea? Share your comments in the space below – we’d love to hear from you!