Buying Direct vs Amazon: Why aren't people shopping direct on your store?

| By Shannon McFarlane

Buying Direct vs Amazon: Why aren't people shopping direct on your store?

As well as having your own online store, there are now lots of other ways to cross-sell your products online through marketplace sites such as Amazon. In some ways these sites can be great, giving potential customers more opportunity to find out about your products and giving you additional streams of income for your business. It’s easy to think of the benefits and leave it at that, but could you be doing more to get people shopping directly from your store? The answer is probably yes!

A few weeks ago, Kelly asked her Twitter followers a question about shopping directly from a merchant vs Amazon:

An item is available on the merchant website listed with the same price as on Amazon. Amazon is offering 2 day free shipping. The merchant's website doesn't state the free shipping date. Let's assume you're not in a rush. Do you buy on Amazon or directly from the merchant?”

She also attached a poll, to gather some quantitative data as well as the responses from her audience. Of the 1,175 respondents, 74.5% said they’d buy from Amazon rather than directly from the merchant. That’s a big difference!

So why are people choosing to buy through Amazon? Outside of schemes like using Amazon’s credit card for 5% cashback, the two most common responses were:

  1. The no-questions asked returns policy on Amazon makes customers feel safer placing an order
  2. The returns process itself is quick and easy

People see Amazon as less of a gamble and more trustworthy than a smaller merchant they may not have purchased from before. This isn’t a reflection on the reliability of smaller merchants, but it might be they’ve had an experience in the past that’s made them wary, or that smaller merchants simply aren’t as clear and straight-forward as sites like Amazon.

What You Can Do

We’ve given you the problem, now let’s think about a solution. The two key things you need to focus on with your returns process are clarity, and simplicity. Thankfully, there are some really easy things you can implement quickly to bring both to your online store and increase the amount of trust your customers have in placing an order.

Make your returns policy easy to understand

Have a returns page that outlines exactly what the process is, how it works, and how long it takes. But don’t write paragraphs upon paragraphs of text, because if anything that makes it more difficult for your customers! A simple list of the steps involved along with any additional information will suffice.

Display your policy across your site

Don’t hide your returns policy way at the bottom of your website - make sure it’s displayed obviously for people to find easily no matter where they are on the site. Have a simplified version of the policy on products pages, include it in your FAQ, and include a link in your footer. 

Use a returns app to simplify the process

Managing your returns process doesn’t mean a whole load of extra work, especially if you use an app. There are plenty of apps in the Shopify App Store that help with this, so have a look around and see which option suits you best!

Add chat to your store 

Customers prefer to quickly get an answer to their questions without having to wait for an email reply. There are plenty of free and low-cost apps in the Shopify App Store that do this. For a more complex setup where you can essentially use chat as an interactive FAQs page all on its own, we highly recommend Octane AI.

Mention returns in transactional and follow-up emails

Building that trust doesn’t just end when the customer places an order, you need to make sure they know that if something does go wrong then it’s easy for them to return the order. Include returns information on order confirmation and shipment notification emails, as well as in follow-up emails.  


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