I buy a lot of books through Amazon, and I do it for two reasons:
- It saves gas.
- They give me a lot of information.
Let’s talk about the second reason – the information.
Amazon provides a lot of information that many vendors won’t. And because of that, I trust them.
First, they tell me if they have the book I want in stock, and if I order it, how soon I’ll have it.
They tell me what other readers said about the book, even if the readers didn’t like it. They’ll tell me how many people wrote negative reviews about the book, and they’ll show me those negative reviews if I want to read them. How many other vendors have you bought from, that show you their customers' complaint letters?
If another person was thinking of buying the book that I’m thinking of buying, but that person bought something else instead, Amazon will tell me that, too. And they’ll tell me exactly what book that person ended up buying.
If an affiliate has the same book – new or used – available for a lower price, Amazon will tell me that. And they’ll even help me order if from the other seller. They make a lot less money from me in the short term, but it makes me a more loyal customer over the long term. Not exactly your typical car-buying experience, is it?
Customers crave transparency.
The Internet makes more information available to more people than ever before. And the Internet has created an entire industry of what I’ll call “Transparency Brokers” – companies like Angie’s List, Yelp, and the BBB are examples of organizations who promote fair business practices using real customer feedback, according to “I of the Consumer.”
Customers are growing accustomed to having access to more information before making a purchase decision. The person or company that provides the information is the one that earns the trust. As a company, you can work really hard to sell your products, or you can provide information to help your customers make informed buying decisions, earn their trust, and a longer-term relationship.
It’s your call.