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The famous words of hotelier Cesar Ritz, “The customer is never wrong”, are just as true today as they were over 100 years ago. Although the mood has remained constant over the decades, strategies and tactics for establishing a customer-centric model are constantly emerging.Companies that do not understand their customers cannot remain competitive for very long in a jam-packed digital ecosystem.
It would be difficult to find an organization with a better strategic model than Amazon.
Amazon's current mission is: "To be the most customer-centric company in the world, where customers can find and discover anything they want to buy online, and strive to offer the lowest prices to their customers." The company's goals have always been customer-oriented. In 1997, Jeff Bezos promised Amazon to "focus relentlessly on our customers". He also said, "We see our customers as guests of a party and we are the hosts. It is our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience that little bit better."
Here are five ways businesses can benefit from Amazon's customer-centric growth strategy.
1. Make the customer your focus
The customer is at the center of everything Amazon does. In a 2013 interview, Bezos said: "I would define Amazon by our big ideas that are customer-centric and put the customer at the center of everything we do, inventions."
If you look at some of the offers from Amazon, such as Prime delivery, one-click ordering, recommendations, special offers and real-time support, everything is for customer benefit.
2. Publish new products that are specifically tailored to the needs of your customers
When Amazon started in 1994, the idea of digital buying was still new. It has been a long way to build customer confidence buying online that Amazon met due to its emphasis on customer service. Since then, the company has expanded to include other products and services, all of which meet consumer needs. Preferences are constantly changing, and your products need to evolve with them.
Always focus on the "who" and "why" when creating a product that puts your audience first. Test it, talk to your customers about it and make sure it solves a problem for them. The starting point for a product definition is a customer-centric document that does not deal with technical details. If you can't tell your customers why they need your product, it probably won't sell.
Related: 10 Ways To Learn More About Your Target Audience
3. Invest in research and development to achieve greater customer satisfaction
It turns out that when we ask and listen, customers like to tell us what they want. Investing in research and development to understand customer needs is critical to a customer-centric growth strategy. In 2019, Amazon spent $ 42.7 billion on research and development (which they refer to as technology and content). The cost reflects how the company plans to invest in numerous areas of technology and content to continuously improve the customer experience and improve process efficiency through rapid technological developments.
Customer surveys, focus groups and evaluation platforms offer small and medium-sized companies the opportunity to invest in research and development. Experiments can be initiated by employees at all levels of the company to create new knowledge, and that is what R&D is all about. With each idea, ask how it will make things easier for your customers, and if there is a straight answer, it is worth moving forward.
Related: Why Your R&D Budget Should Be the Last Place You Should Save
4. Diversify into new trending markets
Over the past two decades, Amazon has grown into an ever-changing ecosystem of products and systems, including Kindle, Alexa, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and wholefood purchases. It is believed that AWS alone generates around 50 percent of Amazon's profits, which underscores how diversifying into new markets can have a positive impact on sales. Always keep an eye on new markets so you can meet your customers everywhere. It will foster loyalty and appreciation to ensure market diversification is a success.
5. Use innovation and creation to grow your audience
Every business should improve their customer experience and continue to be unique by offering something that your competition can't. Of course, innovation doesn't happen overnight, but keeping up with trends and fostering creativity should be the focus of a customer-centric growth strategy.
Amazon responded to the "now" economy with Amazon Prime delivery to give customers free shipping on thousands of products. They also pioneered one-click ordering with preset options. With Amazon Lockers, customers can pick up items from numerous locations around the world. The Twitter account @AmazonHelp processes customer inquiries seven days a week in seven languages. Recently, Amazon Go introduced a cash-free shop.
Amazon's list of innovations goes on, with the customer being the focus and setting Amazon apart from the competition. Amazon is a multi-billion dollar company that has had several years to develop and perfect its customer-centric model. While the tech company's capabilities are beyond the reach of the average business, these five aspects of the customer-centric model can provide inspiration that can benefit any business.
Related: Starting a Business? This is how you drive innovation