How to Take Advantage of the Amazon Effect in Healthcare Marketing

Where can you go online to order everything from books and electronics to food and even toilet paper?


If you’re like most people, you’ve probably ordered something there within the past few months. Maybe you have one of their boxes waiting at your doorstep right now, ready for you to go home and open it.

With their selection, convenience, and personalized shopping experiences, Amazon is uprooting our thoughts of what it means to do business today. How we do business there–and what we’ve grown to expect–are changing the way we look at every industry.

Even healthcare.

Changing Customer Expectations Across the Board

Major retailers like Nordstrom’s, Target, and Macy’s are all reeling after huge decreases in earnings and market share. They’re struggling to compete as Amazon gobbles up bigger pieces of their business.

The implications of Amazon’s rise expands far beyond the retail space. They aren’t just making a lot of money. They’re creating a massive upheaval in the way we think about business.

Marketers and journalists have noticed the impact and even decided to name it: The Amazon Effect.

The Amazon Effect describes just how deeply their business model has penetrated into consumers consciousness. By innovating constantly, Amazon puts a ton of pressure on other businesses to follow suit. Consumer expectations are changing quickly; we are starting to expect, even at a subconscious level, an Amazon-like experience no matter what we buy or where we shop.

The Key Ingredients to Amazon’s Massive Success

Healthcare isn’t the same as shopping retail. With that said, the people you’re trying to reach are coming into the process with higher expectations. Doing business with Amazon and other innovators online has shown them what kind of customer experience is possible.

Here are the key reasons why Amazon has captured our hearts, and how you can use them to do the same in healthcare:



Photo Credit: Alvaro Ibanez

Shopping on Amazon is a breeze. Products are categorized and easy to search. Sorting through the top sellers is simple. You can get through their electronic checkout in a minute, maybe less.

A few days later (or hours later for Amazon Prime customers), your purchases show up at your doorstep. It’s hard to beat that kind of convenience.

Unfortunately, “convenient” is probably one of the last words someone would associate with healthcare. There’s so much confusion about treatment options, insurance, and what to do next. A lot of people get so frustrated they don’t take any action at all–to their health’s detriment.

You can’t remove all the red tape that comes with healthcare, but you can make things easier for your audience. Here are just a few things you could try to make the process as convenient as possible.

  • A user-friendly website. A user-friendly website helps visitors get the information and answers they need. Bonus points if you empower them to schedule demos, consultations, and/or follow-ups online. Even better if they’re able to handle payment there as well.
  • FAQ section. Track the most common questions you receive from prospects and customers, then compile them into a FAQ document or web page. This saves time for everyone involved.
  • Multiple communication channels. Some people don’t mind picking up the phone, but others do everything they can to avoid it. Make the experience more convenient by offering people multiple communication channels–phone, in-person, email, contact forms, live chat–to choose from.
  • Automated reminders and follow-up. Email and CRM software lets you follow up automatically, saving you time and customers the hassle of having to remember the next step.


3d illustration of a large chrome heart over top of a reflective black Amazon logo

Image Credit: C_osett

A big reason why Amazon customers are so loyal: the experience improves with time. The more they shop, the more they feel like Amazon “understands” them by showcasing certain deals and recommending other products they might like.

Amazon has taken this process–gathering data about every customer to create unique experiences–to a sophisticated level never seen before. They even have their own “recommendation engine” that uses algorithms to predict what someone will like based on their previous purchases and buying activity.

If that sounds overwhelming, don’t worry. Just a little data is all you need to make every customer’s journey more unique. Digital tools (many are inexpensive or even free), like analytics platforms, CRM software, and email software give you the ability to deliver personalized experiences.

Imagine the possibilities. When a potential customer calls, you pull up their info and know which of your web pages they’ve visited, which emails they’ve opened, and a quick summary of their previous calls. You save time focusing on what the customer cares about instead of rehashing material. You know where to pick up the conversation to strengthen the relationship. Most importantly, you show them you value them as an individual.

Remember, your audience is probably beginning their search for healthcare online. They’ll browse search engines and your website long before stepping into your facility. With digital tools, you can track everything that makes them unique. This makes for more effective marketing and leaves a big impression on every customer.

Valuing Customer Input


Photo Credit: Jeff Sandquist

Amazon customer reviews make up for not being able to see or feel a product before deciding to buy. They offer insight you can’t find anywhere else. The best ones persuade someone to buy better than even a talented salesperson.

Healthcare products are complicated. Services are unique. Sometimes it’s tough (or impossible) to compare what you’re looking at now with anything you’ve seen before.

That’s why stories or insights from past customers are invaluable. Testimonials introduce someone who was in a similar position as the audience and successfully addressed their problem. They give hope that a solution is not only possible–it’s within reach. They answer questions and ease doubts.

Leaving a review on Amazon only takes a few clicks of a button. It might be harder for someone to chime in about his or her experience with your healthcare brand.

How can you make it easier?

Don’t just wait for the feedback to come in. Get active about soliciting it instead. There are plenty of online tools available to help you set up a quick survey for website visitors to fill out. Invite them to participate in creating content for your healthcare blog. At the end of every interaction, have your team simply ask the customer if there’s anything they can do to improve their experience.

Negative feedback isn’t the enemy. It can be even more valuable to you than the positive stuff. Assure customers that their opinions are always valued, whether positive or negative. Every complaint is an opportunity to create a better experience going forward.

Your customers’ words are more powerful than yours will ever be. Seek them out. Use them not just to attract other customers, but to improve and grow.

Delivering the Experience Your Customers Crave

Healthcare will never be a retail experience. It’s much more than that. It’s a chance to connect with someone on a deep level. To provide service and attention they can’t find anywhere else. To make an unforgettable, human impact.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from the world’s best retailers. Focus on the key elements above, and you can innovate like Amazon to deliver the experiences your audience demands!

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