Amazon Could Be The Next Big Search Engine (What This Means For Brick and Mortars)

by Brandon Wright January 17, 2019
Amazon Logo Shown on Samsung Phone Screen

There have been lots of talks lately on Amazon becoming the next big search engine! Over 55% of online searches have been said to begin on Amazon. I get it, it’s convenient! Amazon is a great resource to do a little price research, and then easily buy with one click of a button, but there is still so much that Amazon cannot do. As a brick and mortar, how can you compete with this next big search engine?

What Can Brick and Mortars do to Compete with Amazon?

1. Create Your Own Search Engine

The last thing I want you to do is to feel like you have to go full e-commerce or sell everything on Amazon. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that strategy but Brick and Mortars bring so much more of the shopping experience. There are still people out there that prefer to do their research in the store versus typing in questions on their computer. So, here are a few ways you can create your own search engine.

a. Have an online presence. Even if your focus is the in-store experience, it doesn’t hurt to have an online presence. Maybe it’s just a landing page that shares your story, or maybe you take it a step further and allow people to buy your products from your site. Either way, it’s definitely wise to at least have some key factors on your site: your physical address, contact information (phone #, email), your operating hours, and an about us page. A bonus would be to include an easily searchable list of your products so people have the option to research a bit before they come in the store. That means you need to keep track of your products and their organization and have a robust-enough site that users can search by keywords.

b. Create a simple store layout. Who needs a “search engine” when you have a stellar store layout? If your environment is super user-friendly then your customers might be able to walk in the store and find what they need all on their own. You can’t beat that.

c. Hire top salespeople (and give them great tools). No need for a robotic search engine when you can have a human one right in the store. Hire great salespeople, train them well, and provide them with tools that can help them search and find what people need. A tool that can give them inventory tracking, specific customer details, and sales info all in the form of an app would be a lifesaver.

2. Humanize the Experience

I’ve talked about this before on our Amazon Goes Retail blog and that is the fact that Amazon dehumanizes the customer experience. In some cases, I understand that is exactly what the customer wants–but not always. Some shoppers want to interact with an expert or they want to walk around the store, touch and feel the products, compare and contrast different items, and that just can’t be done while sitting in your PJs on your bed with your computer in hand.

Create an experience for your customers! Decorate your store in a way that’s appropriate to what you’re selling, or the current holiday you’re celebrating. It doesn’t need to be a crazy party, but a little entertainment can go a long way.

3. Offer What Amazon Can’t

This one is vague on purpose. But as a store owner, you need to figure out how you can set your brick and mortar apart from the competition. Whether you offer unique products, a unique experience, stellar customer service, or anything else, you get to set yourself apart from the rest.

Brick and Mortar: Bigger Than Amazon

You have to give props to Amazon for disrupting just about every industry but you can be a disruptor too. And not everything needs to be about competing against Amazon. It really needs to be about how you can best support your customers. Selling products that solve a need, creating an environment that caters to those products, and an experience that resonates with your target market. Always be improving and continue to listen to your customers!

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Brandon Wright

Brandon is the Founder and CEO of Clientbook (a clienteling tool for retailers that increases in-store foot traffic and sales).

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