amazon or vodafone

Anyone else have a love/hate relationship with Amazon or is it just me? ….

I love how easy they make it to spend money with them. I also hate how easy they make it to spend money with them ….

I recently read The Everything Store by Brad Stone which tells the story of Jeff Bezos and Amazon and it made me realise that although he must be a very difficult man to work for he really has put the customer wants and needs at the heart of everything they do.

And I see this in the way so many of us, including me are addicted customers.

They take away all friction in the sales process.  The 1-click service means that wherever you are and whatever you are doing you can simply get your phone out your pocket and buy just about anything you need without even having to get your bank card out.

Also if you subscribe to Prime, that product you just bought with 1-click is going to be delivered within 24 hours too – how many other companies can compete with this?

When purchasing audible books, they have made this process so easy too.  Your membership fee gives you 1 credit to a book every month.  The membership is £7.99 a month and most audible books are in the price range of £15 to £25 each, making you feel like by being a member you are getting something back.

If you consume more than your one book a month you have the option to purchase 3 more credits (note not one at a time) for £18.  The great thing is that you aren’t worried about the £18 purchase because your credits stay on your account until you use them.  And when you decide to leave any of Amazon’s membership products, you can .. just like that!

Now if we compare this to how Vodafone treat their customers to try and make them stay you see a huge difference.

Vodafone make you pay for your 4G bundle but it disappears at the end of every month if you don’t use it, they tie you in to a contract for years after knowing your phone is bound to be out of date and to leave you have to use a cracked phone screen for a year or take out a mortgage to buy an off the shelf one.  Some companies are good at getting rid of buyer friction for customers, others aren’t!

Naked Wines are another good example of taking away buyer friction as, although they ask you to pay a certain amount per month on membership to get wine delivered, you have no obligation to have any deliveries on a monthly basis and they even give you the option to get your money refunded if you so choose (although who would want their money back when you can have great wine?!?)

In your business what ways can you lessen buyer friction?  Do you make it easy for customers to join and leave you?  Do you have bundles that are “no brainers” that they can use to their convenience and not yours?

Are you an Amazon or a Vodafone .. I’d know which I’d rather to aspire to.