It always interests me how someone becomes a huge fan of a company. I know that interests me about my company, and I hope yours as well. So, today, I want to tell you why I love Amazon.com. Maybe there will be some insights in this that you can use in your company.
You might find this strange, but I have over 15,000 books in stock and have a book business on two different online sites and yet I buy a huge number of books from Amazon.com. It doesn't seem like that would make a good deal of sense, but it does. And, I'll tell you why Amazon.com is one of my best 'silent' partners in my book business.
1. First and foremost is that Amazon.com has almost any book you could want in new condition and through their independent sellers (like me), they have a similar selection in used books. I am registered to sell on Amazon.com but haven't gotten around to actually doing it. I sell on eBay and half.com (owned by eBay).
2. My guarantee on my book sites is this: I guarantee that you are pleased--every sale, every time, no exceptions. Pretty simple guarantee and I take it to the maximum meaning. I buy a lot of new and used books. When I am buying a used book and then a day or two later, they send me an email that the book was sold and refund my money, I think that is terrible. It's as if I just wasted two days. Giving me a refund is not sufficient to me. So, in my business, if I cannot find a book (sometimes they hide, although it is almost always temporary), I will many times go to Amazon.com and buy them a brand new copy and have it sent directly to them along with a personal email from me about what I am doing and why. In the case where a new one is not available or out of print, I will find a better quality condition book from another seller and pay for it along with expedited shipping and then a personal note. In any case, I find a book in better condition than the one they bought and I go way out of my way in cost and time to get it to them as a replacement for mine. In the event that I have somehow misdescribed the book; that it is not in the condition I stated it to be in, I will refund their money in full AND send the replacement. I have paid as much as $55 out of pocket to purchase a book that is an effective replacement. That means I lose money on that sale, but gain a customer perhaps for life! Think about it. If someone took care of you like that, how would it make you feel?
3. When I buy a new replacement through Amazon.com, it goes via 2-day expedited shipping. Fast always impresses my customers. With Amazon.com I am able to put a personal note in the package and also to see that an invoice is not included. The really cool thing about this is that Amazon.com has this program called "Prime." Prime membership costs around $100 a year, but you get 2-day shipping free on almost all your new purchases. I can assure you that with my volume of purchases at Amazon.com, they are losing money on me on the shipping, but they are way ahead with me as a large customer! The Prime membership makes me a hero for a nominal cost. Great feature.
4. The pricing at Amazon.com is always good. I have an account at Barnes & Noble.com and buy some things there, but I have grown accustomed to the Amazon.com service and they also have a much larger used book source than others. Buying used on Amazon.com is not nearly the good experience as buying directly from Amazon, but it is acceptable. I remember sending a music CD to Italy and when it arrived, it was not the exact one they wanted. I found a new one on Amazon.com and had it drop shipped directly to Italy with no hassle whatsoever. Since I ship all over the world, that is an important thing to know. Amazon.com's charges for the shipping overseas was reasonable whereas many companies I have looked at were way out there. All these things build trust and confidence.
5. There is information about each item that Amazon.com sells directly. Many even have independent reviews or comments. I don't use this a lot, but sometimes it helps me make sure I am getting the book I think I want.
6. The check out process is easy and the follow up emails are clear. It is a rare occassion that Amazon.com does not hit their initial target delivery time. When that happens, they let me know via email and keep me posted until it is done.
7. I have now purchased many other items from Amazon.com because of the experience I have in buying books, music, video and audiobooks. As a small example, I had a salad spinner that we loved and worked great. One day it stopped working. I went to Target, Wal-Mart, K-Mart and could not find it anywhere. I went on Amazon.com and there it was. I'm a happy camper again. You would be amazed what is on Amazon.com now. I still buy a huge amount on eBay, but Amazon.com is the second place I look.
What's the bottom line? Building trust and confidence through the shopping and buying experience. How are your customers perceiving you? I'm a raving fan of Amazon.com. Do you have any raving fans? What might they rave about? In my book business, my fans rave about fast shipping. Go look at our feedbacks and you will see that over and over again. That is powerful for a bookseller because that is not common with a bookseller. Our eBay store is http://www.delsoutlet.com/. You might want to find a way to get your customers feedback. Raving fans are so much fun--and profitable.