March 21, 2012, 9:32 AM

Amazon dominates Europe

It serves up the best deals, inventory and customer experience, says an expert .

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Competing against the Amazon.com Inc. isn’t easy, as Europe’s largest online retailer continues to serve up the best deals, inventory and customer experience, says Scot Wingo, a long-time Amazon observer and CEO of ChannelAdvisor, which helps retailers sell on marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon.

Key to Amazon’s success is its desire to experiment to find ways to transform online retailing. For instance, Amazon, No. 1 in the Top 400 Europe is running a pilot in the United Kingdom with a series of coded drop boxes situated near two busy subway stations. Busy commuters and Amazon shoppers have the option of having their purchase delivered to the subway drop box. When the parcel is ready for pick-up, Amazon sends the shopper a text message with a code that will open the box.

The retailer is running another pilot, this one with Italian postal service Poste Italiane, in which the postal carriers will deliver goods ordered from Amazon.com’s Italian web site, and in some cases accept payment.

“Amazon has a nice way of figuring out what European shoppers want,” Wingo says.

The retailer also continues to make acquisitions to grow its European e-commerce operations. Amazon, which Internet Retailer calculates increased its European web sales year over year 37.2% to 12.9 billion euros ($16.7 billion) in 2011 from 9.4 billion euros ($12.1 billion) in 2010, made two acquisitions, U.K.-based online bookseller The Book Depository International and U.K.-based video rental and streaming firm LoveFilm International Ltd., last year to broaden its merchandising growth.

Amazon also has about 4 million users of Amazon Prime, a program that gives subscribers free two-day shipping on all Amazon purchases and other perks in exchange for a $79 annual membership fee. “Amazon Prime gives Amazon an excellent platform to keep serving up better value, selection and customer service to its best return shoppers,” says Wingo.

For the first time the Top 400 Europe is available in three forms: print, digital and as part of the all-new and completely updated Top500Guide.com. Information on how to order the Top 400 Europe is available here.

Roger Hardy, CEO of Coastal Contacts, will speak this June at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2012 in Chicago in a session titled “Border crossings: how to get orders to customers across borders.” The IRCE $200 early-bird discount expires Mar. 31.

 

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