Amazon has become a major player in the search engine space, and could soon become a “more important search engine than Google,” NYU Stern School of Business professor Scott Galloway said on CNBC on Tuesday.
The company’s ad business is “gaining significant momentum” and will take market share from Google, Facebook, and others, BMO’s Daniel Salmon said in a note out Tuesday morning.
Is Amazon getting into the search and PPC business that are the profit centers for Google and Facebook? Not exactly.
But what these two gentlemen point out is the huge dominance the online retailer has gained in product search and how it is now encroaching traditional web search.
LET’S TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT SOME AMAZON METRICS
In a Bloomberg State of Amazon 2016 Report three major data points stick out:
- 55% of consumers turn to Amazon first when searching for products online
- 9 in 10 consumers will check Amazon even if they find a product they want on another retailer’s site
- 58% of U.S. consumers have left a retailer’s site for Amazon after having a poor site experience
This is a significant disrupting shift by shoppers to use Amazon as a research tool. Basically, the company’s large inventory and product availability makes them the perfect product search engine.
In addition, they attract the most consumer feedback on products. They typically have some of the lowest prices and offer the fastest delivery.
The site also has a good search algorithm and uses layered (or drill down) navigation for most categories.
Can you really think of a better place to find and research consumer goods?
Since all product data on Amazon is structured the same way, they don’t have to parse different shopping carts or make assumptions of products being the same or similar.
Marketplace sellers must conform to the company’s listing standards or their products just don’t show up.
It is true that Google through its shopping feed has standardized data as well and continues to push for more standardization.
But it is still not at the same level as a product search on Amazon. And many Google users still look at organic search results, not other promoted or displayed content.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR SMALLER ONLINE RETAILERS?
In one short sentence; You must sell on Amazon!
It is really that simple. You may not want to take advantage of the Amazon FBA program, but you should list all your products on Amazon. This is especially important if you are selling unique products.
Ideally, FBA is the way to sell on their marketplace. Study after study has shown that FBA sellers outperform non-FBA sellers by a wide margin.
You may have a unique product niche where this does not apply. But if you are in most consumer product segments, FBA is a major revenue booster.
Google will not go away and they still command about 3/4 of all global search traffic among search engines. Bing & Yahoo and the other smaller search engines may be hurt more by this phenomenon.
SEO will continue to be important for highest possible placement of your products in Google searches. And of course, SEO won’t hurt you with the other 1/4 of searches on these other search engines.
Also to consider, Amazon’s site strategy is mostly targeted for single country sales. If you are a cross-border seller, they probably won’t help you gain much exposure outside of the target country.
There is no reason to totally abandon your strategy if it is working. There are always consumer behavioral shifts online retailers need to adjust for.
But if you are not well represented on Amazon, this information should make you think about tweaking your online marketing strategy for better product placement.
What do you think about Amazon challenging Google on product search? Please use the comments section below or head over to our Facebook Group for Small Business Sellers and interact with other small business owners.