The eCommerce Guide to Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services (AWS) was built for eCommerce. The AWS platform provides access to hundreds of services, that can be used to create a dynamic customer experience. Read on to learn how to leverage AWS for your own eCommerce business. 

What Is Amazon Web Services (AWS)?

Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers over 165 cloud computing services, through a user-friendly platform. The AWS platform serves a centralized hub from which you can manage all of your AWS resources. 

Cloud computing is a model that offers remote computing resources. The remote part means that you don’t have to own a data center. You don’t have to pay for any cost associated with setting up and maintaining a data center. The cloud provider sets up and maintains the data center, and the cloud user gains access to resources over the Internet. 

Computing resources are generally classified into four categories, each offering different resources:

  • Software as a Service (SaaS)—software licensed for use in the cloud, eliminating the need to download and install software on workstations.
  • Database as a Service (DBaaS)—storage and backup resources, such as structured databases, data warehouses, data lakes and aws snapshots for backup.
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS)—development resources such as operating systems, execution environments, and middleware. 
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)—networking resources such as servers and virtual machines.

Computing resources are accessed remotely, via an Internet connection, through the AWS platform. AWS services are offered on-demand, and billed per usage. You pay only for the service you use.

AWS—Built for eCommerce

In 1994, Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie opened an online book shop. Over the years, they went public, expanded into more markets, and turned Amazon into a global eCommerce platform. 

Back then, if you needed computing resources, you had to build and maintain your own data centers. As the years passed, Amazon required more and more computing power. They set up data centers throughout the world. To allow different departments access to the resources, every department created their own enterprise-grade interface.

In 2003, Amazon took their computing infrastructure, including their globally-spread data centers and online interfaces, and offered it to businesses as a web hosting platform. AWS was born then, and have since expanded, serving developers and organizations in all fields and industries.

Today, AWS dominates a third of the cloud computing marketplace. One of the main benefits of AWS is that the services they offer were created to serve Amazon’s needs. That means that eCommerce platforms have much to gain by renting cloud computing resources from AWS.  

What Is a Customer Journey and Why It’s a Must for eCommerce

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AWS for eCommerce offers a brand new view on the customer journey, and the resources that support it. Before delving into this new paradigm, we’ll take a look at the traditional customer journey.

The customer journey tracks the journey the customers goes through until they make a purchase. The customer journey is used for building marketing and sales funnels, which allow businesses to get involved in the process. 

The journey, and the funnel, always start with the customer. The goal is to influence as many aspects of the journey as possible, and persuade the customer into making a purchase. That means you need to raise awareness to your product’s existence (branding), their gain their interest (marketing), and then stimulate them into buying (promotion).

The Journey-Driven Retail by AWS—Explained

The problem with the traditional customer journey is that it’s static. Even though the journey have expanded over the years, to include many of today’s digital stages, such as retention and advocacy, there are still gaps in the journey. 

AWS has taken its decades of experience in eCommerce, and created a journey-driven retail experience that covers the entire journey. Here’s how it looks like, compared to the traditional journey:

Legacy Journey Term What It Means AWS Journey Term What It Means
Plan & Forecast Research your audience and the market, and create an estimation Interest & Research Get real time information about what your audience wants and needs
Promote & Recommend Use your plans and forecast to promote your product Engage & Evaluate Use user data to engage the emotions of users
Incentivize & Sell Offer rewards and discounts for buying your products Justify & Purchase Provide informative content that logically justifies the purchase
Fulfill & Ship Provide an order confirmation and shipping details Anticipate & Track Create anticipation by offering customers real time tracking
Deliver & Support Deliver the order and provide support if/when needed Inquire & Return Ask customers for feedback through digital channels
Analyze & Expand Take accumulated data and use it to create new business Loyalty & Advocacy Inspire customers to spread the word about your business

 

AWS Use Cases for eCommerce

The journey-driven retail by AWS offers a dynamic view on the customer journey, and a way to continually grow and improve. Here are a few use cases that can get you started on creating a dynamic customer journey:

  • Serverless hosting—hosting your eCommerce website could be expensive. The more products you offer, the more traffic you get, the more storage, backup, security and speed you need. AWS has free tiers, and usage-based pricing models, that you can leverage for hosting your website. 
  • Fast go-to-market with microservices—one of the most important things in eCommerce is agility. You need to be able to adjust storage capacities and release updates in a fast and efficient manner. Microservices is a software architecture model that breaks software into mini services. Containers, for example, are used to deploy updates on a regular basis without the costs associated with Virtual Machines (VM).
  • Cost-effective analysis in data lakes—eCommerce websites generate a lot of data, all of which could be used for analysis. Data lakes are cheap and scalable repositories, used to store huge amounts of data. Typically, you would assess your main storage, locate data you don’t need for operations, and send it to a data lake for analysis.
  • Ready-made API for personalization—the Amazon platform offers its customers a personalized experience. That means the platform uses customer data to offer personalized suggestions and features. AWS offers its customers use of the Amazon personalization API, as well as Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities.

It’s a Wrap!

AWS is a global platform that offers cloud-based computing services. In today’s saturated eCommerce market, eCommerce businesses need any advantage they can leverage. AWS was built for eCommerce, and offers cost-effective resources for creating a dynamic customer journey, designed to offer customers the products they are most likely to buy.

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Gilad David Maayan is a technology writer who has worked with over 150 technology companies including SAP, Imperva, Samsung NEXT, NetApp and Ixia, producing technical and thought leadership content that elucidates technical solutions for developers and IT leadership. Today he heads Agile SEO, the leading marketing agency in the technology industry.

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