3 areas where rivals beat Amazon

October 16, 2015 02:30 PM

The most important thing consumers look for when buying a product is its value. Value is the line that connects price and product. When talking about value, “relevance commerce” must also come into play. Simply defined as the right price for the right product to the right consumer, delivering relevance commerce effectively is becoming extremely difficult, especially in a world with very diverse product categories.

Let’s examine the biggest e-commerce player in the U.S., Amazon. Excluding books and media, 42% of products on Amazon are fashion-centric, 30% fall within the electronics range, and the remaining 28% are a part of other categories including home décor, beauty and care and pets. That’s based on Intelligence Node research.

Every category has different dynamics.

Electronics: The Best Price at the Right Time Wins

The number of products offered by Amazon in this category is four times more than any other ecommerce site in the world. Despite this huge discrepancy, a relatively new site,, has been able to take on the retail giant successfully even though Jet covers only 3% of the products on Amazon and lacks any unique offerings.

Jet very successfully manages to gain traction and attention with consumers by utilizing intelligent marketing approaches like real-time price changes. Jet’s pricing changes, on an average, every 9.8 minutes. But Amazon is only half a minute slower at every 10.5 minutes. So what makes Jet’s real-time approach competitive?

Jet’s real-time price adjustment is effective because it utilizes a tracking mechanism that manages prices based on Amazon’s current price. As a result, Jet delivers lower prices than Amazon when it matters. Overall, 93% of the products that Jet offers are cheaper than Amazon.

Fashion: Quick Merchandising Decisions Matter

There are two essential factors when it comes to merchandising:

1) Breadth of coverage, (for example, number of brands and styles)

2) Ability to deliver the most on trend style at the right time

Amazon is not a leader on either of these criteria. Amazon carries 635 brands that are not available on Sears, and Sears carries 946 brands not available at Sears.

Additionally, the pressure for merchandisers is not only about variety of styles and brands but about how quickly they can deliver new styles to the stores and adapt to the hottest trends. Zara is the best example, the Spanish-owned retail chain introduces new products regularly, allowing Zara to completely refresh its catalogue every 29.5 days compared to 75.1 days for Amazon.

Fast-fashion retailers like Zara and Forever21 use technology to capture what’s trending. They confirm the trends via social media and data analytics and capitalize on them. Social media estimates that on average only 95.8 new styles/looks per week get 80% of the “digital word of mouth” in the form of mentions and shares on key websites. Ensuring merchandisers know this information and can react quickly is key.

So although Amazon is perceived to “provide every product from A to Z. it may be positioning itself to lose to the more value- and fast-fashion-oriented players.

Intelligence Node research suggests approximately 278,000 products are added daily to e-commerce sites globally, and out of them 4,100 are considered new and unique. This creates a thin line between price and catalog that drives consumer behavior. Real-time intelligence becomes a must-have to acquire and retain online customers.

Intelligence Node provides retail analytics software.




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