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Notice To SMBs: Amazon Is Becoming The ‘First Search Engine’ For Products

Local marketers cannot afford to lose 75 percent of visitors who never click a product — so refine your digital presence now, Bloomreach advises.

As local businesses continue to worry about about the SEO impact of Google’s algorithm updates, they might have a larger concern regarding Amazon’s increasing attraction as a search portal for consumers looking for specific products, according to online marketing researcher Bloomreach.

According to a survey of 2,000 shoppers, ecommerce giant now commands 44 percent of web users searching for something to buy, Bloomreach found. In comparison, Amazon is way ahead of the 34 percent who first try the major search engines run by Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft’s Bing.

Showrooming Battles Continue

As greater numbers of consumers directly bypass the dedicated search engines when researching potential purchases, and go directly to Amazon to search for products they intend to buy, even if they don’t intend to buy them from Amazon itself, it looks like brick-and-mortar’s battle against showrooming is not abating.

A big part of this success for Amazon can be attributed to its strong algorithmic recommendation system combined with a wide catalogue of products from all different industries, says the report.

Joelle Kaufman, head of marketing and partnerships for BloomReach, described this situation as a wake up call for retailers, who need to provide their own ways for consumers to search for their products.

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Bloomreach’s Joelle Kaufman

Search Engines’ ‘Slow-Bleed’

“Amazon has turned a slow-bleed of search engines’ and retailers’ e-commerce importance into a gushing wound,” Kaufman said, in a statement. “Search engines like Google have done their part by making product discovery and search intuitive, convenient and seamless; but if retailers want to slow Amazon’s dominance, then they must integrate technology that creates frictionless experiences for their customers across channels. Amazon has a commanding lead, but retailer personalization and brand experiences can power a counterattack.”

In fact, the study also found that consumers on a 2:1 ratio are wondering why their favorite retailers haven’t provided them with adequate search and recommendation features on site or on a mobile app the way Amazon and search engines have online.

Refine Digital Presence — Now

“Local, brick-and-mortar businesses have to focus on the relationship they form with the prospect and customer — leveraging their curation abilities and assets,” Kaufman told Geomarketing. “They have to ensure that their digital presence is high quality and structurally well designed for compelling customer experiences and to maximize their organic search visibility. They cannot afford to lose 75 percent of visitors to category pages who never click a product.”

A companion survey of 500 retail marketers found that they feel the same way. About 86 percent believe that personalization features like those provided by Amazon or Google are influencing what consumers expect from them. But the study also found that marketers are split on how to tackle that obstacle, or even how to define “personalization” to begin with.

Kaufman said it doesn’t need to be that complicated.

“It’s not about refining SEO — it’s about being distinctive in your content and experience while also being structurally sound,” Kaufman said. “If you do those things, SEO will take care of itself.”

About The Author
Daniel Parisi Daniel Parisi @daniel_parisi_

Daniel Parisi is a New York City-based writer and recent graduate of the University of Maryland. Daniel specializes in coverage of mobile payments, loyalty programs, and the Internet of Things.