Frictionless Shopping: Amazon Continues Its War on Friction in 2020

July 28, 2020 (Updated)

Chatbots, Customer Service

Amazon’s success has everything to do with how well it creates a frictionless shopping experience. The company has an obsessive focus on removing every pain point from the customer journey.

Dash buttons, one-click checkout, and Amazon Pay are all ‘prime’ examples of seamless experiences. They represent Amazon’s dedication to speed, choice, convenience and accessibility. So, what’s next in Amazon’s frictionless shopping mission?

Setting the bar high for frictionless shopping

The customer experience that Amazon provides is always the benchmark that other brands aspire to reach. In fact, the way that Amazon shapes customer expectations and habits is often called the “Amazon effect.”

In just less than two decades, Amazon essentially redefined online shopping. Customers can now view products within seconds, check prices, read reviews, and buy products with the click of a button.

Along the way, Jeff Bezos became the spokesperson for customer-centric retail. “We’ve had three big ideas at Amazon that we’ve stuck with for 18 years, and they’re the reason we’re successful: Put the customer first. Invent. And be patient,” he said. 

These days, Amazon is learning that customer-centricity is complicated. Customers want convenience and speed, but they’re not always in favor of Amazon’s cost-cutting efforts. Now, Jeff Bezos has gone from tech-hero to tech-villain in the eyes of many. 

Setting these environmental and labor concerns aside, Amazon’s mission to create less friction in the buying process is one we should try to emulate. With a projected e-commerce market share of 38.7% in 2020, it would be foolish to ignore the tactics Amazon is getting right. 



Amazon quietly rolls out a customer service chatbot

Amazon’s customer service chatbot is just one recent step the company took towards frictionless shopping. The company reportedly launched the chatbot last summer to help streamline post-purchase support.

David Ruddock, Editor in Chief at Android Police, had good things to say about his recent experience with the bot. He reports how an entire refund experience took 30 seconds from start to finish.

In a world where Amazon is literally using people’s hands as ID for payment (yes, you read that right), it might be easy to overlook this new chat feature. But, doing so would be a mistake. 

This customer support chatbot is telling ecommerce leaders exactly where their customer support models should be right now — and it’s really not that complicated.

What Amazon’s customer service chatbot means in 2020

Frictionless shopping is conversational

Amazon’s customer service chatbot should make digital innovation leaders take notice. First, it reinforces the fact that automation is needed for frictionless customer support. More than that, it supports the idea that chatbots are the best tactic to achieve this goal. 

For most successful brands, the idea of a customer service chatbot is nothing new. Most enterprise level businesses already use them, and their customers prefer them. Chatbots are one of the few tools that increases customer lifetime value while reducing costs. 

Don’t overcomplicate it

Amazon’s customer service chatbot also says a lot about where businesses should be focusing in 2020. The fact that Amazon — creator of Alexa — rolled out a simple decision tree bot says a lot about the technology companies need (and more importantly, don’t need) right now. 

Amazon’s customer service chatbot doesn’t rely on AI or natural language processing. It’s not trying to mimic a live conversation with a customer or solve an unlimited number of use cases. Instead, it’s guard-railed enough to guide a customer quickly to a path of resolution. 

In a time when AI and voice assistants (like Amazon’s own Alexa) exist, sometimes it’s easy to forget that the most efficient solution is often a simple one. Brands can go down a rabbit hole trying to build their own AI systems, but it’s generally not necessary to get the job done.

Read more about rule-based vs. AI chatbots here.

Amazon’s customer service chatbot proves that to win at customer support, companies must begin with narrowly defined use cases. Customers don’t need to be able to chat with bots about every topic under the sun. They’re just looking for a clear path to resolution. 

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