In the hustle and bustle of online entertainment retailing, Amazon has led the way since it was launched in 1994. The store has constantly innovated with Web 2.0 applications like customer reviews which are rated by others. They have also lead the way with Web 3.0 “Symantic Web” features in the way the site uses browsing patterns to make recommendations for things you never knew you were looking for but are just what you want now.
Amazon’s diversification strategy has included Movies, Music, Games, to Electronics and Computers which arguably is something of a decent fit. But in its mission to increase share of consumer spend, Amazon is now seeking to dominate Home and Garden, Grocery, Toys, Kids and Baby, Lifestyle Shopping, Health and Beauty and Sports and Outdoors.
As a result the whole experience is becoming bloated, overwhelming and built around the need for profit growth rather than the needs of the punter. Order journeys can go on and on, when they should be getting back to basics. It’s become all too easy to get lost in the jungle…
The one thing that something that really matters is to be able to Log Out easily – Amazon make it very hard I think but Play.com allows for a quick escape so the consumer can make a quick purchase. The site is also up front with its price promotions which work better with the entertainment sector than Amazon’s range-first approach.
Play.com are also ahead in areas like Digital Rights Management free audio files again, a completely customer centric approach ie do what you want with the music you buy. They’re also now diversifying into clothing, but extending their same “free delivery” proposition there. I do hope they keep to their essence as they develop the business.
This is where the likes of Play.com are making a massive headway. A “simplicity first” site which offers a straightforward (ie not clever) experience, presenting me with cheap, popular items in a linear (Web 1.0) way, but concentrating on free delivery at the centre of a promotional strategy, and a customer experience which built around (very) short user
OK, so Play.com sources grey imports and ship from the Channel Islands, but isn’t that just playing markets effectively? And the margins it creates mean it avoids the consumer having to build large shopping baskets in order to get free delivery so I can go there, see what I want and buy it.