Marketing 7 min read

How Amazon Could Become Next Big Search Engine in Three Easy Steps

Eric Broder Van Dyke |

Eric Broder Van Dyke |

Could Amazon overtake Google as the world’s premier search engine? It’s possible, especially when you take into account the dominance of their online market and what that could do for their brand.

We know that many people go straight to Amazon when searching for products on the online market, but did you know that this could soon give the tech giant the ability to overtake Google as the world’s premier search engine?

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Believe it or not, its true, and the key is in Amazon’s proprietary search engine algorithm. This engine provides sellers with an unprecedented amount of tools to ensure that their product is seen by the people that need to see it, and because of this we may forget all about the prospect of ‘Googling it’ when we need to search for a thing on the internet.

To understand how Amazon could do this, I’ve separated the process into three easy steps:

Step #1: Leverage the Advantages of the Online Market

The first step is something that can be observed in the here and now by taking a look at site statistics such as those hosted by Bloomreach. If you want to dominate the online market, then you need to be the ‘go-to’ site for anyone searching for any kind of product, and with 55% of product searches starting with Amazon, they are easily the ‘go-to’ site for online shopping.

But with so many search engines out there, how can you ensure that your service is the one that people will choose? The answer is simple: Make your search engine results page, or SERP, capable of finding the right product in the right category every time. Oh, and you’ll want to make sure that sellers understand how to optimize their product titles, descriptions and images to compete for the top spot in the SERP, like so.

Amazon gives its sellers a comfortable level of options, making it easy to stay with Amazon once you have transitioned over to hosting your product there. By establishing themselves as the de-facto default online marketplace, Amazon has the ability to refine their category trees in ways that change how we define products in the marketplace. If Amazon becomes the dominant search engine, this means that how people define/name products in order to fit into Amazon’s categories may also change how we describe these products, and therefore they can change how we conceptualize them. This means that, instead of leveling the playing field between them and their competitors, Amazon is becoming the playing field itself.

The advantage here is worth thinking about.

Consider the philosophy of Plato’s chair: there are practically endless iterations of a chair, but there is only one definition. Amazon’s categorization of products could push companies to fit those categories, thereby redefining where we look for certain products.

If you can control the information behind a marketplace, you can control the marketplace, meaning that step one is easily the most important for Amazon as they push toward search engine dominance. That being said, the company can hardly rest on their laurels having dominated search engines with their SERP, and to achieve true dominance over the internet searches of the future they will have to leave their comfort zone and venture away from the purely virtual marketplace into the familiar brick and mortar of a physical storefront.

Step #2: Brick and Mortar not Optional

To the uninitiated, brick and mortar stores are projected to be obsolete very soon. For those in the know, however, these stores are crucial elements to giving customers relevant shopping options.

Ok, so maybe they are really just using technology to update the old pick-up or delivery option, but anyone who denies the significance of that option is missing out on an important part of retail’s future. While it may sound convenient to have everything sent to your home, it isn’t always the most effective option, logistically speaking.

Let me give you an example of what I mean: Using their existing warehouse infrastructure, Amazon could utilize warehouse distribution locations to send drones out for home delivery. Alternatively, they could turn those locations into optimized store fronts that have the ability to give consumers the option to pick up items without having to wait for shipping. By leveraging their existing infrastructures, Amazon can deliver more value, relevant products, and options to their customers at costs that allow them to compete with any storefront, virtual or not.

But wait, there’s more! Amazon’s forays into physical bookstores and grocery stores show how those distribution centers could easily be converted into shops that sport a fancy AR interface instead of cashiers, essentially hiding a store inside of a distribution center. You might enter the center to buy 60 orders of paper clips for the office, but if your AR display showed you a rare deal on some beef jerky that they have overstocked, could you really pass up the chance to leave the store with a tasty new bonus? Maybe you could, but I sure couldn’t.

What does this have to do with the SERP? Simply put, everything you do in such a warehouse would be run through their search engine algorithm, meaning that the relevance of the search engine results could translate directly into the fluidity of whatever products are both in stock and relevant to local consumers. In the previous example it is likely that your previous searches for beef jerky let the local Amazon team know that you would be receptive to buy their overstock, so the moment you search for a product that they know is available at the local warehouse, they knew that you might want to spring for the extra snack. That’s good for the beef jerky supplier, and it totally justifies their switch from advertising with Google to advertising with Amazon.

Step #3: Prepare for the Future

Despite the current trend, Amazon will probably not replace Google for a while yet, but if it does happen then it will depend on a factor that has become relatively widespread since the advent of the Internet of Things: The Digital Assistant.
The tech giants all have their assistants, but Amazon’s Alexa is unique in that it offers exclusive Prime deals to its users. It’s easy to use, as well; simply press a button and tell Alexa what you want for an easy shopping experience. With your information stored within the device, Alexa can place the orders on your say-so, giving Amazon the edge in providing better conversion rates to their suppliers. After all, it is much easier to make a sale if the consumer merely has to ask for it, and if Alexa provides higher conversion rates then suppliers will flock to Amazon’s banner.

Of course, the other tech giants aren’t going to be found sitting on their hands. Don’t discount Google’s Assistant, or Apple’s Siri and their potential to match or even outdo Alexa’s marketing abilities with similar capabilities or greater convenience. If a certain assistant becomes the dominant force in the field, it won’t matter what kind of deals Alexa is bringing to the table; nobody will be listening to those deals, after all.
Amazon is on the cusp of something great, but it isn’t guaranteed. As always, Edgy Labs will be keeping an eye on the situation and keeping you apprised.

What do you think? How could Amazon overtake Google as the world’s go-to search engine?

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  1. Amy A. April 11 at 10:09 am GMT

    Using drone to send communication device to lost person in the woods is okay, but for delivering pizza in 4AM, i can’t see how this gonna make fulfillment services of shipping companies any better, it’s just waste of money.

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