What can insurers learn from Amazon Prime?
Updated: Jun 7, 2020
When we think about the process of consumers’ buying insurance online, chances are, many of our thoughts will turn towards annoying opera singers and strangely accented meerkats.
In short, comparison sites.
A chance to aggregate policies via a simple search and find…
THE CHEAPEST PRODUCT ON THE MEERKAT – SORRY, MARKET.
Because that’s what the internet offers for the consumer isn’t it? Price comparison – simple searches to find the cheapest flights to France, the cheapest new pair of Nikes or the cheapest home insurance policy that fits your particular criteria.
It’s a rather simplistic view and one that, frankly, is somewhat out-dated.
Of course price is a factor to some degree when selling a product; but is it THE factor? Aren’t we living in an age when something more tangible than simply price is taking up the mantle of most revered selling point?
The concept of convenience
We live in an App-based digital society where the emphasis seems ever more focused on finding ways to reduce the hassle in our busy everyday lives.
Want to find a plumber for our leaky tap? Why go to the hassle of walking into the hall and picking up that hernia inducing directory when you can open up your phone (which will of course be in your pocket) and simply type ‘plumber’ into your Google Maps app? And if typing seems a bit like hard work then you can just speak the word into SIRI.
The market is full of products, apps, businesses and services all designed around the idea of making life a little bit easier.
Not necessarily cheaper – easier.
People want convenience and are, in the main, willing to pay for it.
Just look at Amazon.
It’s not a particularly controversial claim to suggest that Amazon are pretty much the biggest, most recognisable name in online retail.
Their business model has historically been based on using the power of the internet to drive huge volumes of sales on a vast product range. Businesses put their products onto the Amazon platform, consumers buy these products online. Amazon delivers and takes a cut of the profit on each sale.
And why do consumers go to Amazon?
Because it’s convenient.
Amazon have mastered the art of making shopping easy for consumers.
Here’s an example:
A search for a 40 inch Panasonic HD TV takes me to exactly the TV I was looking for in a second. The sales page has upon it:
Full imagery of the TV
Full product description
A list of the reviews highlighting a four and half star out of five customer rating
The price (including how much it has been discounted)
A note saying: Want it (insert next day)? Order it within 19 hrs 27 mins and choose One-Day Delivery at checkout.
All the info you need and the knowledge that by a simple click of a button the TV is ordered and will be with you the next day.
And you haven’t left your chair.
Everything about buying through Amazon is easy. If you’ve ever purchased anything from the site then your payment and delivery details are securely logged on your account so you don’t need to fill out prolonged forms. The information is clear and right before your eyes – as is any consumer endorsement you may wish to use.
But there’s more
The sales process on Amazon isn’t just concerned with what you have come on to buy. Contextual marketing suggests additional, related products to that which you’ve just bought.
If you’re buying a flat screen TV, you’ll probably need that wall-mount, won’t you?
Click – Add to basket.
And what good is a state of the art TV if you don’t get the associated sound system?
Click – Add to basket.
It’s all very easy, very convenient.
And it’s why fewer head into town seeking a bargain, choosing instead to potentially pay a little more but get what they want, delivered directly to their door.
But direct delivery isn’t enough in this ongoing push towards uber-convenience. We don’t just want the item – we want it tomorrow.
Which is where Amazon Prime comes into play. The ultimate in convenience shopping. Pay your £60 subscription fee and you can have all your purchases delivered to your home the very next day, every time. And, while you’re at it – you can download the latest Marvel Movie, direct to your recently purchased Panasonic TV.
So how does this impact on the insurance industry?
Well, it certainly demonstrates the notion that consumers are interested in products that make life easier. If they’re willing to accept this in pleasure purchases, surely the same would apply to essential items?
Such as insurance.
As Amazon have leveraged the versatile power of the internet to create a convenient shopping platform so brokers have the opportunity to similarly use technology to be able to present insurance schemes that can be delivered and managed with transparency and ease.
And as the broker gathers more information on the client, so the bundling of additional products – tailored to match a specific need – can be presented directly to the client.
The insurance industry is ready and primed to embrace new technology. Digital platforms which allow brokers to sell targeted insurance policies directly to clients through their phones, tablets and PCs. Policies which have the convenience of being available as and when required, securely stored in the cloud and delivered through an app on your phone.
No need to dig out the paperwork at home, hours after the prang in your car. It’s there, on your phone; enabling you to get all the details you need and give you a direct route to the claims department to get things rolling.
Insurance policies that are straight-forward, value-adding and convenient.
The type of thing your clients would pay for as they strive for less and less things about which to worry.
WRITTEN BY ED HALSEY
Any opinions expressed here are my own and not the views of any of my employers. They are personal views based upon a 15-year career in insurance across underwriting and sales roles at mainstream insurers, consultancy firms and technology providers.