Gone are the days when Amazon was simply an ecommerce website, providing a way for users to browse and buy products ranging from books to kitchen appliances. The reason it has been able to transition from a business investing heavily in new ideas to one posting record profits of $857m is largely down to the extra services (like Pay with Amazon) it now supplies.
As we’ve examined in previous features, looking at Amazon Web Services and Amazon Marketplace, much of it centres on its business-to-business (B2B) offerings. To find out more about one of its latest initiatives, Real Business caught up with the new UK head for Pay with Amazon, Karen Pepper.
She explained that Pay with Amazon is available to the 300m customers that have an active account. All account holders can make payments using information already stored on Amazon, with customers in more than 150 countries having used their Amazon account to make a purchase on third-party merchant websites.
“Pay with Amazon helps businesses of all sizes, but especially entrepreneurs and SMEs, by bringing the convenience, trust and familiarity of the Amazon buying experiences to their own website – helping reduce checkout time and cart abandonment,” Pepper added.
“Accessing Prime customers is another driver for ecommerce business. Amazon’s most loyal and active customers have a propensity to spend more when shopping online, so many online retailers are increasingly looking at ways to reach Prime customers, and Pay with Amazon is one way to do so.”
Driving down on the kind of friction pinpoints Amazon has seen growing businesses encounter in today’s economy, Pepper indicated trust and security are big issues. However, she also noted that at the end of the day it is often simply about dealing with payments in a simple and convenient way – so business owners can get back to doing what they do best – “selling products and services that delight customers”.
Non-alcoholic spirits business Seedlip Drinks is one such company that has used Pay with Amazon as a way of taking the system of its hands. Founder Ben Branson said: “We’re a new product and so giving people the familiarity of using their Amazon account to pay makes the whole process much smoother and ultimately better for the customer.”
Giving it some context, Branson revealed having Pay with Amazon has meant Seedlip was able to double sales within two months.
Fellow small business Muddy Puddles, which sells kid’s waterproofs and outdoor clothing, is another company that operates entirely online.
Managing director Natasha Ascott said the main growth landmarks in the last few years have been growing revenues across the various digital channels the company focuses on. “With the dramatic rise of mobile, we have also worked hard to make the customer journey as quick and seamless as possible to improve conversation rates,” she explained.
Ascott uses Pay with Amazon as a checkout option for customers who are “time-poor, multi-tasking mothers”. The service means Muddle Puddles is able to reduce its checkout process from fives steps down to three, meaning the drop-off rate for mobile customers has declined by 25 per cent. “Equally, it has led to a 24 per cent increase in conversion rate – which has been great for our sales,” she added.
Mirroring Pepper’s comments, Ascott also finds that trust is top of the consumer concerns list when it comes to payments. Having had feedback that trust is “paramount” when checking out, Ascott has been forthright with her desire to provide security and assurance.
Research commissioned by Amazon in September 2016 showed that alongside bigger demands for a frictionless online and mobile payments systems and greater use of apps, customers want to know their personal information will remain secure.
This is where Pepper believes Pay with Amazon comes in, and explained: “Pay with Amazon is designed to facilitate a simple, safe and secure relationship between merchants and their customers. We do not receive any information about customer activity on third party sites.”
Muddle Puddles and Seedlip Drinks are part of a growing small business army keen to harness the potential of online sales, using the latest technological developments as a way of providing everything a demanding and non-brand loyal customer wants from a shopping experience.
“Technology means that it is becoming simpler, more reliable and convenient to purchase everything you need from your mobile phone,” Ascott said.
“As a small business striving to grow, then it is crucial to be able to plug in off the shelf technology we could never afford to develop in house.”