Amazon Marketing Playbook: 24 Strategies, 96 Examples

Company: Amazon

Founded: 1994

Founder: Jeff Bezos

Description: Technology company focused on e-commerce, cloud computing, digital devices, AI and media streaming.

This playbook focuses on marketing strategies and tactics used by Amazon.

The marketing playbook series is for founders who want to:

1. learn from real-life examples
2. discover which growth strategies fit which businesses and industries
3. find the 20% of strategies that return 80% of results

Table of Contents

Urgency Marketing

1. Want it Tomorrow?

Amazon urges us to purchase by showing a timer tied to a delivery date. (Article)

2. Only 4 Left in Stock – Order Soon

Amazon shows the number of items left in stock. Failure to order soon, presumably, means that we would have to wait longer to get an item. (Discussion)

3. Lightning Deals | Today’s Deals | Gold Box Deals

Showing the regular price, percentage claimed and a timer are schemes to get us to make quick purchase decisions. (Page)

4. Prime Day Deals

Events such as Prime Day, Cyber Monday and Black Friday urge us to take advantage of deals before they are no longer available. (Article)

5. 24-Hour Super Bowl Tease

A Super Bowl ad for an Amazon show, Hanna, was paired with a 24-hour streaming of the pilot episode. If users missed the 24-hour window, the pilot would not be available for two more months. (Article)

Remarkable Marketing

6. Amazon Treasure Trucks

The Amazon Treasure Truck pops up in different cities with remarkable deals. Truck sales pale in comparison with online volume but the truck is designed to raise brand awareness and spark conversations. (Page)

7. Prime Day News Coverage

Prime Day receives lots of press leading up to the event. Journalists and bloggers write about the early deals and speculate on the deals that will be offered. (Article)

8. Amazon Drone Videos

Amazon set news cycles on fire several times when it released videos demonstrating how drone deliveries would work. (Article)

Ease Marketing

9. 1-Click Checkout

Amazon’s patent of 1-click checkout demonstrates an early commitment to removing friction from the checkout experience. (Wiki)

10. Lower Prices — Amazon’s Flywheel

Although Amazon removed it’s price match guarantee, they’re still focused on low prices and it’s a core tenet of their growth flywheel. (Article)

11. Prime Shipping

Amazon Prime makes the shopping experience seamless in many ways. Two-day shipping and same-day shipping makes buying decisions easier. (Page)

12. Guaranteed Delivery

Uncertainty carries a cost. Amazon’s move from delivery estimates to guaranteed delivery dates makes it easier for buyers to make better decisions. (Page)

13. Easy Mobile Shopping

We’re near our phones more than our computers. Amazon invests heavily in the mobile app experience. Later we’ll cover how Amazon hacks user adoption of it’s mobile app. (Article)

14. Zero-Click Checkout

Amazon took easy checkout further by allowing buyers to order with their voice. The potential of zero-click ordering goes beyond Amazon devices. It applies to any Alexa-enabled device such as cars and microwaves. (Post)

15. Amazon Lockers and Open Anywhere

Amazon makes receiving packages easier with Amazon Open Anywhere and Amazon Lockers. Lockers carry the added benefit of receiving packages sooner by allowing delivery to a single hub. (Page)

16. Camera Search

Amazon makes it easier to find products and compare prices with camera search in the mobile app. (Page)

17. A to Z Guarantee

Amazon’s A to Z Guarantee has lowered the cognitive load of shopping and purchasing from third parties. Customers generally understand that any issues with third parties will be remedied by Amazon. (Page)

18. Amazon’s Choice

Amazon seeks to shorten the shopping process in highly fragmented areas with Amazon’s Choice. They claim that Amazon’s Choice products have lower return rates and higher ratings. (Article)

19. Amazon Credit Cards

Amazon seeks to make the shopping experience better by offering credit cards with Amazon rewards. Some cards do not have expiration dates. (Article)

20. No Checkout Stores

Amazon carried the seamless shopping experience into physical retail with Amazon Go. (Wiki)

21. Dash Buttons (Discontinued)

Although the Amazon Dash Button was discontinued, it shows a commitment to making the shopping experience seamless. (Wiki)

Perception Marketing

22. Charm Pricing

Amazon uses charm pricing ($8.97). We tend to falsely believe that we’re immune to charm pricing tactics. (Article)

23. Strikethrough Pricing

Amazon uses strikethrough pricing to raise the perceived value of items. (Article)

Presence Marketing

24. Advertising on Trucks

With so many trucks on the road, it makes sense for Amazon to get extra marketing mileage by advertising. (Page)

25. Advertising on Planes

Amazon also advertises on planes. (Article)

26. Advertising on Packages

Amazon ships millions of clearly labeled Amazon packages. This simple tactic does a lot to raise brand awareness and capture mind share for Amazon. (Article)

27. Amazon Devices & Mind Share

The ubiquity of Amazon devices functions much like clothes with logos. We pay to promote the company we purchased from. Others seeing our Amazon devices is a subtle means of virality. (Page)

28. AmazonBasics Brand

The AmazonBasics brand is gaining market share in utility hardware such as batteries and charging cables. Amazon gains extra marketing mileage by clearly labeling these items with the AmzonBasics logo. (Page)

29. Sponsored Devices with Special Offers

Amazon offers discounts for many devices if users purchase hardware with special offers. This gives Amazon permission to promote to device owners. (Discussion)

30. Amazon Gift Cards & Brand Awareness

Beyond proving additional revenue, gift cards give Amazon a physical retail presence and raise brand awareness. (Post)

31. Colorful Amazon Fresh Bags

Amazon draws attention for to Amazon Fresh service by leaving colorful bags for their customers to retrieve when they get home. In the meantime, Amazon gets to advertise to our neighbors. (Page)

Flywheel Marketing

32. Audible on Amazon Devices

Amazon combined two strengths to create a unique experience by merging Audible and Alexa-enabled devices. (Article)

33. GoodReads on Kindle

Amazon integrated GoodReads app into Kindle devices. (Article)

34. Kindle Direct Publishing + CreateSpace

Amazon provides physical and digital distribution for authors while keeping them in the Amazon ecosystem. (Page)

35. Amazon Credit Cards + Amazon Retail

Amazon creates more opportunities by having a credit card business and retail business. They can offer credit card rewards and financing options specific to the retail business. (Report)

36. Amazon Prime as Glue

Amazon Prime acts as glue that unites many tentacles of Amazon. These include:

  • Prime Now
  • Prime Pantry
  • Prime Day
  • Amazon Video
  • Amazon Music
  • Amazon Photos
  • Prime Delivery
  • Twitch Prime
  • Amazon Studios


37. Amazon Prime meets Twitch

Amazon increased the value of the acquisition by marrying Twitch with it’s Prime Program. (Article)

38. Seamless Physical Retail

Amazon carried it’s knowledge of designing seamless retail experiences into the physical world with Amazon Go. (Article)

39. Amazon + Whole Foods + Amazon Fresh

Acquiring Whole Foods helps several Amazon businesses including Amazon Fresh, Amazon Prime and Amazon Lockers. (Post)

40. Amazon Phone and other Experiments

Amazon is an experimentation machine. Flywheel marketing requires companies to experiment in search of businesses that complement their existing businesses. The search isn’t glamorous.

Failures are bound to happen. Here are some experiments that were shut down:

  • Amazon Restaurants
  • Amazon Spark
  • Amazon Storywriter
  • Amazon Dash Button
  • Amazon Webstore
  • Amazon Local
  • Amazon Register
  • Amazon Auctions


41. Amazon Advertising

Amazon is slowly encroaching on Google’s advertising dominance. (Page)

42. Alexa Everywhere

Alexa is a versatile component of Amazon’s flywheel marketing strategy. This gives Amazon a presence in third-party hardware that’s Alexa-enabled. This is similar to Google’s Android strategy in TVs, watches and cars. (Post)

43. Amazon Delivery Network

Amazon is treating delivery as a product by investing heavily into it’s delivery network. Constant improvements to the delivery ensures that Amazon Fulfillment Services become even more valuable to third-party sellers. (Page)

44. Buying Zappos

Amazon bought Zappos after trying to compete and failing. This gives Amazon a presence in online fashion retail, an area where they have been traditionally weak. (Post)

45. PillPack — an Amazon Company

Amazon acquired PillPack for $753 million to move into the online pharmacy space. (Article)

46. Amazon’s Private Label Brands

Amazon is constantly starting new brands. This represents a profitable opportunity with Amazon owning the consumer traffic and sales data. (Page)

Freemium Marketing

47. Amazon Prime Free Trial

Amazon offers a free month of Prime membership. (Page)

48. Audible Free Trial

Audible encourages users to try the service by offering two free audiobooks. (Page)

49. Amazon Fresh Free Trial

Amazon urges users to try Amazon Fresh with a 30-day free trial. (Page)

Paid Marketing

50. Search Engine Ads

Amazon spends on Google ads for prominent placement in search engine results. (Article)

51. Commercials

Amazon pays for commercials to promote Amazon Prime, Amazon Devices and Amazon Original shows. (Video)

Feel Good Marketing

52. Amazon Smile

Amazon offers buyers a chance to donate a portion of purchases to a non-profit of their choice. (Article)

53. Prime Student

Amazon offers students discounts on Amazon Prime. They extend similar offers for those with EBT or Medicaid cards. (Page)

Partnership Marketing

54. HBO

Amazon struct an exclusive licensing deal to bring HBO content to Prime members. (Article)

55. Kohl’s

Amazon partnered with Kohl’s to accept Amazon returns at Kohl’s stores. (Article)

56. Universal

Amazon struct a deal with Universal to promote the Minions movie on Amazon packages. (Article)

57. American Express

Amazon partnered with Amazon Express to offer additional discounts to cardholders. (Article)

58. Snapchat

Amazon partnered with Snapchat which allows users to shop based on pictures taken in the app. (Article)

59. Sprint

Sprint offers Amazon Prime as a purchasing perk. (Post)

60. AT&T

AT&T offers Amazon Prime as perk for signing up for it’s U-Verse service. (Discussion)

Exclusive Marketing

61. Only From Audible

Some audiobooks are only available on Audible. (Discussion)

62. Kindle Exclusive

Some e-books are only available on Kindle. (Post)

63. Amazon Originals

Like Hulu, Netflix and other streaming services, Amazon produces content that will only be available on it’s streaming platform.. (Article)

Discount Marketing

64. Kindle Unlimited – 3 Months for $0.99

Amazon offers 3 months of Kindle Unlimited at a discount. (Page)

65. Amazon Music – 4 Months for $0.99

Amazon offers 4 months of Amazon Music at a discount. (Article)

Niche Marketing

66. Amazon Business

Amazon offers a unique shopping experience for business customers. (Page)

67. Started from the Books, Now We’re Here

Amazon started in the books category before expanding in concentric circles. This is similar to other companies such as Facebook (Harvard students) and Uber (San Fransisco). (Article)

68. Private Label Brands and Perception

Amazon offers a niche experience to many customers with private label brands. Unbeknownst to customers, they are still being served by Amazon. (Article)

Incentive Marketing

69. Get $10 for Mobile App Sign-In

Amazon offers $10 for users to sign into it’s mobile app. The hope is that this becomes a habit. That’s worth much more than $10 to Amazon. (Article)

70. Pay $0.00 upon Amazon Card Approval

Amazon offers $70 off if a user is approved for an Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card. (Discussion)

71. Get a $10 Amazon Credit — Whole Foods

Amazon chains incentives by getting users to shop at Whole Foods and online. (Article)

72. Get a $10 Gift CardIn-Car Delivery

Amazon urges users to try in-car delivery by offering a $10 Gift Card. (Page)

73. Get $10 for Prime Day — Prime Video on TV

Amazon chains incentives by offering a $10 Prime Day credit for Prime members who watch a Prime video on their TV. They are using a single offer to encourage two actions. (Article)

74. Subscribe and Save

Amazon urges users to purchase consistently by offering a discount when they sign up for auto-deliveries. (Post)

Gamified Marketing

75. Watch Ads, Win Products

Amazon gets users to watch ads in exchange for a chance to win products. (Page)

76. Alexa Giveaway

Amazon encourages users to use Alexa-enabled devices with a $5,000 giveaway. (Article)

77. Credit Card Rewards

Amazon pulls users into the points and rewards game that credit card companies and other loyalty programs employ. (Page)

78. The Alexa Prize

Amazon encouraged developers to build skills for Alexa by giving away money and prizes. (Page)

Status Marketing

79. Author Rank… Updated Hourly

Some authors admit to being addicted to checking their author rank. This keeps authors attached to the Amazon ecosystem and more likely to sign exclusive deals offered on Kindle and Audible. (Post)

Piggyback Marketing

80. FBA – An Industry in an Industry

Fulfillment by Amazon has created an industry within an online retail. Entire businesses are built on helping FBA sellers. Amazon benefits from scouting efforts of FBA sellers while taking a hefty commission on sales. (Page)

81. Using Sales Data to Develop New Brands

Third-party sellers also help Amazon by generating sales data that can used by Amazon to decide which private label brand to launch next. (Article)

82. Thousands of Alexa Skills

Thousands of businesses are increasing the value of the Alexa ecosystem by integrating. Customers who use Alexa are also providing training data to improve the platform. (Page)

Personalized Marketing

Amazon weaves recommendations throughout the shopping experience. The ability to customize the shopping experience for each user gives them a huge advantage over physical retailers. (Article)

Affiliate Marketing

84. Amazon Associates Program

The Amazon Associates program is used by tons of content creators. They drive traffic to Amazon in exchange for a percentage of sales. (Page)

Content Marketing

85. Prime Insider

Amazon has a blog and newsletter for Prime members. (Page)

86. Day One

Amazon has blog that includes job postings, book reviews and product updates. (Page)

87. Prime Day Concert

Amazon is delivering entertainment in exchange for mind share and brand awareness. (Post)

Sunk-Cost Marketing

88. Prime Member Buying Behavior

Many Prime members try to make their membership “worth it” by purchasing more. Amazon found that purchases increase by 150% after users sign up for Prime. (Post)

Social Proof Marketing

89. Reviews as Social Proof

Amazon reviews are used as social proof to make buying decisions. (Post)

90. Percent Claimed

Amazon shows what portion of a deal has been claimed. They use social proof and urgency to nudge buyers towards a decision. (Post)

91. Amazon Charts – Most Read

Unlike other book lists, Amazon uses reading behavior to rank books on Amazon Charts. (Article)

92. What Other Items Do Customers Buy?

Amazon uses our tendency to defer to others in order to sell more products. (Discussion)

93. Frequently Bought Together

Amazon shows products that other users tend to buy together. (Discussion)

SEO Marketing

94. Top Search Engine Results

Amazon tends to be at the top of organic search engine results for product searches. (Discussion)

Permission Marketing

95. App Notifications

Amazon’s mobile app sends push notifications for deals and promotions. (Post)

96. Email Recommendations

Amazon sends product recommendations to customers via email. (Post)

Thanks for reading!

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Let me know — @DruRly.

Check out the playbook series for more growth strategies.