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How do you compete with Amazon in the mobile world… and win?

There is no denying Amazon’s domination in the eCommerce industry. Selling nearly anything you could imagine, Amazon’s sales account for 43% of all online sales. Amazon’s Prime Day official sale results marked the biggest-selling event in its history.


Being the force of nature that is Amazon has its advantages, but there are ways in which eRetail businesses smaller than Amazon can have the upper hand in the mobile arena.

Sixty-five percent of consumers say Amazon makes it easier to find what they are looking for. Good UX for mobile shopping is being able to say what you’re looking for and see exactly that. But does Amazon really do that? Is it really that difficult to compete with Amazon? Can smaller eRetailers make it even easier for customers to find what they’re looking for?

What’s that you say?

In a mobile shopping environment, particularly with the proliferation of voice search, we have no idea how a shopper is going to search. There is the unknown factor of how a shopper may choose to speak their request. When using voice search, people are more verbose; they don’t think as carefully about the words they will use, and they throw in unexpected words. Many eRetailers are trying to dictate how a shopper may search, but there is truly no way to know. Therefore, it is imperative that the engine processing the request is incredibly intuitive and flexible. This way, no matter how a shopper asks, they can find what they asked for.

Let’s play off the results from different voice searches on Amazon against search results from The North Face, a store that uses EasyAsk search.

Strike One!

Using voice input, we made the following search: “Show me red jackets for my wife under 200 dollars”
Here are the results pages for Amazon:

And here they are from The North Face:

The Amazon site displays a no results message then searches for different combinations of the words from the original query. Unfortunately, instead of throwing out the conversational words, Amazon uses these words to search, and consequently shows many irrelevant results.
EasyAsk has intuitively ignored the extra words used in voice search on the North Face site and has found 34 relevant results that match what was being asked for. EasyAsk recognized the term, ‘wife’ to be synonymous with ‘women’s’ and therefore the results show only women’s jackets.

Strike Two!

We thought we needed to give Amazon another chance with different language and by being more specific. We next made the following search using voice input: “I’m looking for a ladies waterproof red jacket for less than 200 dollars”
Here are the Amazon results:

And again from The North Face:

Once again, Amazon displays a “No Results” message and a selection of results using various combinations of the query words. The results shown include a fitness tracker, cleansing wipes, and hiking boots, but absolutely no jackets.

Conversely, the North Face site displays 11 red ladies’ waterproof jackets that are all less than $200. Exactly as requested.

Strike Three!

So, Amazon hadn’t made it easier to find what we’re looking for when we used long-tail conversational queries. But surely, they would have the victory when it came to a more keyword-based search?
We tried the following search: “men’s blue ski jackets”

Here are the Amazon results:

Amazon was able to process this request and has returned over 1000 results. Although the first result is a men’s blue ski jacket, the second result is blue pants and the third, a water-ski vest. The sheer number of results returned means that the relevant results are buried.

In the North Face results, we have the perfect outcome; 6 or 7 results that match the query exactly.

Three strikes and you’re out Amazon!

One minute, Amazon has no results, and the next it has thousands. Neither option equates to a good mobile shopping experience. If a customer has to scroll through 600 products, they are not likely to buy anything.

So how do you compete against Amazon and win? By showing customers fewer products, not more. But those products need to match the requests made by the customers. An excellent shopping experience is when a search brings back 6 results that fit.

Once eRetailers recognize the forecasts that mobile is the right user experience, they must take advantage of smarter search and start competing. Amazon has thousands of products. So even if they get the search right, there are too many results. EasyAsk is the world’s smartest eCommerce search engine. If you’ve got EasyAsk, you’ve got the advantage – you can compete with Amazon. You’re competing because you’re making the UX better than Amazon. You can provide concise, meaningful search results and experiences that result in transactions.

That’s how you win!

Search # of Amazon Results # of The North Face Results
Show me Red Jackets for my wife under $200 0 34
I’m looking for ladies red jackets under $200 over 10,000 34
Show me ladies waterproof jackets in red 0 18
I’m looking for waterproof red jackets for my wife for under $200 0 11
I’m looking for a ladies waterproof red jacket for less than $200 0 11
I’m looking for a warm red coat for my wife 0 33
I’m looking for warm red ladies coats over 2,000 33
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