Fix thyself Amazon!

Fashion @ Amazon or the lack thereof. I am huge fan of Amazon. Since I also have their prime membership, I am ordering household stuff from there all the time.

What I never end up buying from Amazon though – is clothing, shoes and accessories. Why? Here are my 5 biggest reasons:

1. Too many choices OR the lack of proper customer targeting

Amazon tries to be “everything to everyone”. There is no clear customer segmentation and marketing. When I try to search for “Cropped pants” on Amazon – I am slammed with too many types of choices – yoga pants, cheap casuals, formals from CK and even denim cropped pants. None of them come close to what I was looking for product wise, price point-wise or style wise.

Www.asos.com also has a large variety but they KNOW their customer and they know what their customer wants when they search for “cropped pants”. Results – I get exactly what I want, trendy, formal, cropped pants that I can wear for work and play.

Recommendation – don’t be “place for everything”. Be a place for “something”. I know it can be hard to do that as “Amazon” which has traditionally been the place for everything a user wants. But women’s shopping doesn’t work that way. Try starting targeted sites powered by amazon for different customer segments OR customize the results based on customer past purchases, demographics etc.

2. Reselling the big brands all the time – which I can get elsewhere and better

When I land on the Amazon’s dress shop from their emailers etc., I am bombarded with Bebe, BCBG, Calvin Klein and the other standard easily available brands.

Now why would I buy these from amazon versus their own sites (or even brick and mortar store) when:

  1. I get better discounts at bebe or bcbg’s sites. They frequently have – Spend $250 and get 20% discount and free shipping. I don’t get this at Amazon. So why would I purchase those standard brands from Amazon?
  2. I get loyalty points at places like Guess by their guess list program. No reason for me to lose my $10 cash back when I get same or better at Guess’s own online store.
  3.  The sales at these brand take a long time before they reach Amazon.
  4. When I try to buy some of these clothes like mango, amazon sends me to Mango’s site anyway.
  5. And many many reasons.

Recommendation – don’t focus on brands that already have online presence. Simply providing a loadful of brands doesn’t help. It’s not like electronics where people want to see these things together and compare. Clothing is a different ball game. Focus on indie brands that are trying to make their name, don’t have other well-established web or physical presence and offer something to the users that cannot be found elsewhere.

3. Fix your trends!

Looking at the following trends on the dress-shop landing page – “ladylike” is the lasts popular trend? Is “knit” one? NO. This makes me feel like I just entered the dress barn. And I want to run away as fast as I can! What about “color block”, “floral”, “peplum” and all those awesome trends. A lot of us women, not only expect stores to give us the latest trends, but also educate us about what’s the latest and greatest in the fashion world.

Recommendation – Excite me, give me the latest stories, tell me that “Kate Moss’s latest drop-waist dress is creating wave.. here are some more”.

 4. Fix your cryptic sizes

The biggest nightmare for a girl shopping online is not fitting into the clothes properly. And it doesn’t help when the sizes aren’t standardized. Here is an example. A cute dress I found, what does those sizes mean anyway – 16-20W? Are they US16- US20 sizes and extra wide? The girl in the picture seems slim and possibly a US size 2 standard. Then why am I seeing weird sizes that don’t match the picture. I am so not buying this!

Recommendation – it may be hard to get all the sellers to calibrate and represent standard sizes. But you got to do that. It makes it easier for me to search (the easiest way for me to stop seeing random results is to filter by size:XS, it’s the fastest way) and also to be certain about what I am buying and that it will fit me after the long wait.

Bonus point for remembering my last size search – for dress, jeans, tops – and applying filters automatically when I search.

5. Make that “search” work

Check this out – bright purses page. So many neon purses and other crap that I don’t care about. So I try to “search”. And now check out my – neon clutch search. Just 2 results!!! No wonder I am unable to buy anything.

Recommendation – fix the meta data, fix the search, add image search – since a lot of shopping is visual. Especially when you claim “more like this”, it needs to work.

And can search be more social and shareable? Something like “hey check these bags out! I am thinking of #1 and #3. What do you think”. Viral, social and good for Amazon.

All the best and keep me posted if you need usability participants or more customer feedback!

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