Amazon is coming for the Fashion industry.
USD$232 billion. That’s the amount of revenue generated by Amazon in 2018, with profits soaring around USD$10 billion. According to a new survey by eMarketer, Amazon is eating up the US eCommerce market with a share of almost 50%. The behemoth company has single handedly redefined eCommerce with same-day shipping and extreme logistical efficiency. Jeff Bezos’ data-driven approach to innovation with the immense capital behind Amazon - leaves many industries in fear of its disruptive shadow.
Amazon is championing their Alexa Voice Service, the operating platform of its popular Echo digital assistant, a technology that aims to obliterate not only Google -- but every retailer on the planet from the consumer product search process. Already, 55% of the customer search process defaults to Amazon, signalling that their dominance is metastasising across several industries.
Making their spider web of value even stickier, Amazon will spend a whopping USD$7 billion on original and licensed content this year to feed its growing video streaming business. As Bezos himself has said, “When we win a Golden Globe, it helps us sell more shoes.”
Amazon has made no secret of its plans to disrupt the fashion industry. Jeff Bezos has stated that to achieve eCommerce world domination, Amazon needs to conquer FMCG and fashion. Their acquisition of Whole Foods for the chimp change of USD$13 billion is their bold foray into the Food category. In the past, Amazon has sponsored the Met Gala and many luxury events in an attempt to shed its uncool branding. If Amazon’s foray into fashion is successful, it equips the company with an enormous data pool to drive high-margin sales -- a competitive advantage that will be extremely difficult for fashion brands to replicate.
Amazon, it would seem, is unstoppable, invincible, undefeatable. But there is one glaring fact that most of the discourse fail to mention:
Amazon isn’t a fun experience. People don’t upload Instagram stories of their Amazon orders.
To Jeff Bezos’ credit, he has made the distance between wanting and getting as short as possible, resulting in brainless, unconscious consumption. The customer journey, which usually involves painful researching between numerous websites, has been reduced to a science: one-stop, zero clicks, enabled by unfathomable logistical prowess. Shopping on Amazon is efficient, but it’s also passionless. There’s no aestheticism, socialisation and human joy.
And it's this very fact that may offer online shops an opportunity to inflict a small wound, or at least save themselves from outright annihilation. Using art to counter Amazon’s science, eCommerce stores may just stand a chance of surviving -- if not thriving in its shadow.
But it’s a strategy that demands that these same online shops finally come to grips with an inconvenient truth. Most online shopping experiences aren’t fun, beautiful or joyful either.
Don’t build landing pages. Build stories.
Ultimately as humans we acquire products but we invest emotionally in stories. The world doesn’t need another cold, catalogue-like website. It needs online shopping spaces that celebrate unique brand stories. It needs powerful experiences that engage on every sensory level. Great online shopping stores must be nothing less than a form of performance art.
Don’t conduct transactions. Create community.
Yes, your business succeeds by selling things. But all those things are sold to people and people are, by nature, social animals. Building a tightly connected community of customers who are mobilised by a common passion, place, idea or interest is the surest way to cultivate a sense of community and an atmosphere of fun. Doing so raises your online store beyond the shallow level of commerce and into the realm of becoming a powerful place for communal gathering.
Especially in the rapidly changing world of eCommerce, online shops must also embrace the fact that there are now technological stakes involved, just to play. But instead of trying to lead with technology, begin by more artfully engineering a new and exciting path to purchase in your category. Reinvent the journey. And after breaking this new, unique and remarkable customer journey into its most simple moments, ask a question: where could technology remove friction or deliver joy?
Re-engineering the purchase journey seems like a behemoth task that many brands won’t touch with a 10 foot pole. Get an edge over the competition, break away from the methodical eCommerce status quo, and redefine joyful online shopping experiences on your own terms. Luckily for you, we’re in the business of transforming online shops. Give us a bell here. 😉