Amazon acquired Zappos because the platform did not have the backend in place to sell footwear. I joined Amazon in 2011 after selling at local flea markets and in locally owned shops in Memphis. When I launched in 2011 it was late November. By December 31st I’d earned over 40,000 dollars with very little experience on the platform. The following year on Amazon I sold half a million dollars in shoes as a one man online shop. What I soon realized was that the perception of Amazon as the cheapest place to shop was so pervasive that I often sold shoes that were in stock and sitting on shelves in local stores, and on online sites of other companies for more than retail. This was not a situation that was only at the launch of my online shop. The idea that Amazon always has the best price remains and was evident when I wrote this article on the Curry line from Under Armour recently:
In this article I explained that other sites carried the UA Curry at a price much lower than I sold the Curry shoes. Why was I able to get more for a shoe that was literally sitting everywhere? Was it my copy? Was it the way I described the shoe? Possibly, but I tend to think it was one thing that most people think about Amazon, Amazon always has the cheapest price.
This belief is not just in footwear, but it’s on almost every channel from apparel to electronics. Amazon’s customer loyalty is unrivaled and with Amazon Prime, Free Shipping and Free Returns, not to mention the customer information is already saved which removes any of the obstacles that happen when ordering on other platforms and you get a complete willingness by the customer to pay the listed price without ever checking on either the brand’s site, or a retail site that could be carrying the same product at a lower price. It’s mindblowing. For example:
In this instance it is obvious that Amazon is not the lowest price. As a matter of fact you can get the shoe cheaper on Kixify.com where the seller has already sold 205 pair. Footlocker still has a full size run and lands at second place for the Jordan 11 at retail. eBay has over 700 pair available with an average price of 178.00. There are some pairs being sold at 159.00; which is not surprising if you’ve ever seen my video on early release footwear. Nike.com is sold out which shows why Nike remains a dominant force as their DTC works better than any other footwear brand due to their consistency in marketing and content creation with SNKRS and air.jordan.com. Amazon.com comes in last place on this chart and I can compile information on almost any release and Amazon will consistently cost more than the other sites.
What is it that makes Amazon such a force? Above I placed in bold print, “which removes any of the obstacles of ordering on other platforms.” Customers who visit Amazon are probably Amazon Prime members. This means that those customers pay for the service and more important the customer’s information is saved and they can utilize the one click option on the site. Customers long for convenience and the average customer is not a sneakerhead. They are mom and dad and they just know that their children want the Jordan 11. They trust that Amazon has the best price and they believe that Amazon does not sell counterfeits. They also simply have to click one button and their order is shipped. Sneakerheads know how to search eBay for the best deal and they understand how to read feedback and customer reviews. They will find the best price, but those type of shoppers are not using Amazon. They are using SNKRS first and then they are using Kixify and eBay.
Amazon relies on the laziness (yep I said it) of their Amazon Prime members. They understand that their members are willing to get an Echo and remove the final obstacle of having to use any muscles at all to make an order. Echo allows for ordering with only your voice. I guess that requires a muscle, but you get the picture.