Four Design Learnings From Amazon For Aussie Retailers

Four Design Learnings From Amazon For Aussie Retailers

In this guest post, the CEO of creative digital agency Butterfly, Liz Mclean, says Amazon’s arrival in Australia – particularly from a website point of view – could be just the kick in the pants many local retailers need…

Amazon’s arrival into the Australian market heralds a new era for retailers, holding both positive and nerve-wracking connotations. People want immediacy, functionality and ease when using a website, and with Amazon’s shopping experience being second to none, it is an excellent example of how local e-tailers can up their e-commerce game.

Liz McLean

When assessing your counter-attack against Amazon for 2018, look at these four areas first and assess how to action learnings from Amazon’s success in a way that will give your business a competitive edge.

Speed and Optimisation

Amazon’s site is fast, really fast. Whether you are browsing on desktop, tablet or mobile, the whole experience is quick and seamless. There are a few reasons for this:

  1. Amazon loads certain content only as the user scrolls up to it – resulting in faster page loading speeds
  2. It uses low-resolution images as placeholders while the full images are loading
  3. The mobile website has its own template/management to tailor promotions very specifically to the mobile audience. There is less content on the landing pages so it’s more digestible for the user.

With 40 per cent of people abandoning websites that take more than three seconds to load, speed should never be considered a ‘nice to have’ but a necessity for driving engagement, leads, and sales. Amazon has mastered this and it’s the first aspect of the Amazon website Aussie retailers should look to replicate when design their mobile and desktop sites.


Amazon has built up an audience of engaged users who actively review products and make suggestions. It is one of the few websites where users actually base their purchasing decisions on user reviews, mostly because Amazon does not filter out negative comments.

Building a community won’t happen overnight, but you can start by sending an email to customers asking them to share their experience. Social media is another way to encourage interaction, for example, by getting users to tag photos of the product ‘in-action.’


Amazon’s greatest strength is arguably the granular level of personalisation it provides for shopping suggestions based on users’ interests. Amazon leverages customer data and spending habits to provide (scarily) accurate recommendations for other books, games, appliances and more, based on what would interest you, often squeezing out a few extra purchases.

While you may not have Amazon’s huge data pool at your disposal, you can get started by thinking of logical upsells for your products. For example, pants that match a shirt, a case that fits the phone, etc. Start simple and develop the recommendations over time.

Customer service and shopping experience

Amazon prides itself on its quality of customer service and shopping experience. Their customer service team is available via live chat are will proactively try to resolve your enquiry or issue a refund – no questions asked. Furthermore, there are no additional charges like shipping insurance fees or credit card fees that add up over time. Lastly, Amazon incentivises shoppers to spend more post-purchase, by offering voucher discounts on saved items and remembering your cart items for later. 

Amazon is a useful yardstick to measure your website customer experience against, but it certainly isn’t the only way to do things. Think about your unique selling point – what advantage do you have from being local and understanding the market? And how can you use this to your advantage? Invest in user research to understand your customers and don’t be afraid to innovate and try something new.


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Butterfly Liz McLean

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