In 2015, 2/3 of U.S. adults shopped online at least monthly, with 1/3 of adults shopping online every week, up from 24% in 2014 (Mintel). As e-commerce grows, online marketplaces like Amazon and Jet continue to improve their value proposition, making a commodity out of fast free shipping and returns, a wide assortment of products, and low prices. Now more than ever, customers expect free shipping and free returns. In fact, 80% of them won’t buy if return policies are difficult.
As a consumer, this is great — buying what I need has never been easier. Before our honeymoon, my husband and I stocked up on swimsuits and summer basics on Amazon Marketplace, shopping from several brands and categories all in one shopping cart, using our Amazon Prime benefits. Yet on the other side, as an online marketing executive, my job has never been more challenging. I currently lead E-Commerce and Digital Marketing at Journelle.com, a startup luxury lingerie retailer. The shift from brand loyalty to platform loyalty has forced specialized online retail companies like my own to ask, How can I keep my customers loyal? Do I sell my products on my own website, or do I sell them through Amazon or another third party platform? If I try to do both, how do I pull that off? Read more at Harvard Business Review.