At the start of 2019, we launched a monthly thought-leadership series called 10in20, where we cover one topic in 10 tip, points, or ideas, and we do it in 20-minutes or less. We saw an opportunity to share some of our learnings and insights to help your business, while keeping things short and sweet.

Throughout this series, we’ve received a lot of incredible questions from attendees around the globe. In lieu of our monthly recorded 10in20 webinar, we’ve compiled 10 of your most interesting and relevant questions asked during our 10in20 series.

1. What’s an area where I can start making an impact today?

As you consider where to place your bets for the next year or the next quarter, it can be helpful to start small – focusing on a few easy ways to make an impact on your business. At Amazon we are obsessed with creating better experiences for our customers. There are some simple ways you can start doing this today, making it more about your customer and personalizing their experience. Simple email marketing tactics are a great place to start. For example, setting up an automated welcome email experience can make a good first impression with new customers.

Another strategy to consider is extending your offering to an online marketplace in order to drive more sales and generate greater traffic to your web store. These online shopping centers can offer a excellent means of diversifying income streams, bolstering brand awareness, and testing out new products quickly. 

2. Why prioritize mobile optimization over other channels? Where can I go to find more information or dive deeper on optimizing our checkout for mobile shoppers?

Mobile’s share of ecommerce sales continues to grow around the globe. Statista projects that by 2021, mobile commerce will account for 73% of retail ecommerce purchases worldwide – up from 59% in 2017. Emerging ecommerce markets in mobile-first economies are a large driver of this trend.

To learn more about optimizing checkout for your mobile shoppers, we recommend downloading the Amazon-commissioned report from Baymard Institute on reducing mobile cart abandonment and increasing conversions.

3. Do you have insight on how to optimize the overall checkout experience beyond mobile?

In our March 10in20 webinar, we offered ten actionable tips for optimizing your overall checkout experience, based on research we’ve commissioned. You can watch video of the webinar and read the report to learn more.

4. Where can we find resources for building a new commerce based skill with Alexa?

A great way to get started is by referencing the resources on developer.amazon.com, where you can find guides to creating, building, and managing an Alexa skill. If you are an individual developer, or a business that is doing it in-house or by yourself, you’ll find a lot of great material from a self-service perspective. It’s also worth connecting with your solution provider or agency, depending on your setup.

Amazon Pay also provides a demo store on GitHub, showcasing how you can integrate Amazon Pay into your shopping experiences on Alexa. If you want even more resources, you can register for the new AWS Certified Alexa Skill Builder – a specialty certification, the industry’s first and only certification that validates your ability to build, test, and publish Alexa Skills. Alexa has also prepared a best practices guide for creating engaging, premium experiences on voice.

Want to get started today? Download Amazon’s introductory Alexa Skill builder’s guide and you’re on your way.

5. Any sample Alexa Skill that you would recommend we refer to when we creating an Alexa Skill for our retail brand?

Atom Tickets has enabled voice purchasing with Alexa and Amazon Pay. Right now it’s the only movie ticketing skill that lets customers reserve seats by voice, and also helps them skip tedious steps during payment. Customer just say “Alexa, ask Atom for movie tickets,” to find out which movies are playing near them, buy tickets with their voice, and then pay with their securely stored payment information.

Starbucks has also done an excellent job with the design of their reorder Alexa skill, enabling regular customers to reorder their usual from one of the last 10 stores they’ve ordered from; check their primary Starbucks Card balance; and switch between their last and previous orders.

6. What nonprofits have developed what you consider to be the most successful skills, and what are those skills?

In Europe, the World Wildlife Fund has successfully developed an Alexa skill centered around a WWF quiz that helps donors become a nature conservation expert by immersing them in the world of plants and animals. Through the skill they can support WWF by making a quick and easy donation. This skill uses Amazon Pay to process payments with the details stored in the donor’s Amazon account.

If you are a charity and you’d like to accept donations, you can enable 24/7 donations powered by voice in just a few steps. In fact, we’ve already enabled 260 organizations to accept donations in the US. You can enable Alexa Donations simply by registering for Amazon Pay. No Alexa skill development or technical expertise is required. When you complete registration, we will begin the work on our side to enable you, and will notify you as soon as the work is complete. More information on the donations experience can be found here. If you have questions for Customer Support, please send an email to amazonpay-nonprofit-help@amazon.com.

7. Can you tell me a bit more about Amazon Pay? Where is it available and what is the customer experience like?

Amazon Pay is available around the world, including the US, the UK, and much of Europe. What’s more, millions of customers in over 170 countries have made purchases on third-party sites using their Amazon account to fulfill the transaction.

The customer experience with Amazon Pay is very straightforward and simple. The customer simply sees the Amazon Pay button at checkout or payment mark on the website. Once they click on it, they are given the option to login to their Amazon account. After logging in to their Amazon account they’ll immediately see their address book and payment options stored in their Amazon account. Then they can simply move forward and pay that way. It’s not a different credit card or a new credit card, it’s simply the credit card information stored in their Amazon account.

8. The process of working backward from the customer sounds great, but the exercise seems like a lot of work. Is the working backwards process optional?

At Amazon, every idea starts by thinking about how we can delight customers. In fact, customer obsession is our guiding principle and part of our “secret sauce” as a company. That’s why we spent the time to develop a webinar on customer obsession. A key takeaway is the idea and process of starting with customers’ needs and working backwards to build the right solutions.

When it comes to working backwards, the exercise shouldn’t be optional unless you know a better way. At Amazon Pay, we believe you probably won’t know a better way until you’ve tried the exercise a few times. If done correctly, the working backwards process is a huge amount of work, but it saves you even more work later by ensuring you are building the right solution. This is something that can be done by any one person – in fact it could be done by a startup of one. You don’t need a lot of resources; you just need to put in the time.

Read Leah Holzman’s overview of how we apply customer obsession, Amazon's number one operating principal, to learn more about our decision-making here at Amazon Pay. She digs into one exercise called “5 Customer Questions” that helps us vet ideas, making sure they will delight customers before investing the time to build something.

9. As the way shoppers discover and purchase products evolves, how can we support a more connected experience?

Voice is an exciting new way to meet your customers where they are, as shoppers continue finding and purchasing what they love across multiple channels.

Merchants offering Amazon Pay can quickly integrate voice into their ecommerce offerings with Alexa’s delivery notifications capability – further opening up an opportunity to leverage an Amazon channel. This comes at a time when research shows that more consumers are interested in using voice for checking delivery status in the next three years. Now merchants can use Alexa to let their customers know when an order has been delivered, when they want, and in a natural, contextual, trusted way.

There are a number of benefits for you and your customers -- proactive shipment delivery notifications, less customer support required with fewer customer service inquiries for checking delivery status, brand differentiation by becoming an early adopter of voice commerce with Alexa, as well as a simple and straightforward API, enabling a faster integration.

10. What’s one way Amazon has helped customers discover something they didn’t know they wanted?

We’ve seen how Amazon works hard to make the right bets, but not every bet pays out. Amazon has recognized that the development of the Fire phone, for example, wasn’t a successful bet. But the Echo, which proved to be enormously successful, was created around the same time. While the Fire phone was a failure, Jeff Bezos speaks to how the learnings from the failure of the Fire have accelerated the development of building Echo and Alexa in a 2018 letter to shareholders. The internal Amazon team’s vision for Echo and Alexa was inspired by the Star Trek computer. Their idea also had its origins in two arenas where they’d been building and wandering for years: machine learning and the cloud. From Amazon’s early days, machine learning was an essential part of their product recommendations, and AWS gave everyone a front row seat to the capabilities of the cloud. After many years of development, Echo debuted in 2014, powered by Alexa, who lives in the AWS cloud.

No customer was asking for Echo. This was definitely us wandering. Market research doesn’t help. If you had gone to a customer in 2013 and said “Would you like a black, always-on cylinder in your kitchen about the size of a Pringles can that you can talk to and ask questions, that also turns on your lights and plays music?” They would have probably looked at you strangely and said “No, thank you.”

Since that first-generation Echo, customers have purchased more than 100 million Alexa-enabled devices. Last year, Amazon improved Alexa’s ability to understand requests and answer questions by more than 20%, while adding billions of facts to make Alexa more knowledgeable than ever.

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