Rolphcast #1: Why Amazon is winning the retail battle

| January 23, 2019 | By

Introducing the Rolphcast, with a very reluctant Michael Rolph, co-founder and CEO of Yoyo, sharing his thoughts on the latest happenings in fintech, payments and retail. In this first episode, Michael reveals why Amazon is conquering the world through its buying experience and warns retailers to up their tech-game or face oblivion.

Hi – I’m Michael,

I’m the co-founder and CEO of Yoyo Wallet – and welcome to the first episode of the Rolphcast. I hope you like the video!

Before we start, I just want to say that the name “Rolphcast” was absolutely not my idea! It was forced upon me by some of Yoyo’s very persuasive (pushy) marketing team (thanks Rachel and Richard!), so we’re just going to go with it.

The principal of the Rolphcast is that every fortnight myself and some of my team here at Yoyo, will give our views of what’s going on in the world of fintech, payments and retail.

Episode 1: Why Amazon is winning the retail battle

This month, we saw Amazon named the most valuable public company in the world, taking over from Microsoft.

Why is this significant? As most of us know, Amazon was one of the first companies to reveal the full potential of ecommerce, showing consumers what it meant to actually shop online when it first enabled retailers to sell books through its online marketplace more than 20 years ago.

Since then, not only has it dramatically added to the range of products that it’s able to ship, Amazon has also evolved to become a direct competitor with the retailers themselves, which makes its model incredibly unique.

One of the first things Amazon started to develop when it launched was the Amazon Recommendation experience, where customers who bought certain items were offered behaviour-based suggestions on what else they might like – and this was significant!

However, it’s not just Amazon’s ability to facilitate every part of our lives – in terms of the products we want to consume – it’s the way in which they combine experience with payment.

If you’ve been in retail these past 20 years and, like many, now find yourself struggling, it’s likely down to losing out to Amazon’s core ability to know who its customer is, put technology – in terms of the logistical experience – at the heart of a transaction, and deliver the most beautiful buying experience, where, through one click, customers get what they want.

And that’s the key here. In my view, the reason Amazon has been so successful over the last 20 years is, not necessarily about the supply of the product, but through delivering the most superior customer-driven buying experience in retail.

How can retailers compete with Amazon?

What does this mean for everybody else who are up against the might of Amazon? Well in short, unless retailers can find ways to compete on a level playing field they are going to lose.

Unlike Amazon, retailers over the past 20 years have failed to move fast enough to make life easier for consumers.

We now see this error being played out on the UK high street, with the likes of House of Fraser and Debenhams struggling because their whole in-store and online buying experience is so convoluted.

To be fair, Amazon has had big advantages. Retailers that have been around for a long time are attempting to insert technology into an old-world framework compared to Amazon, which has been able to build everything natively through their online channels.

Nevertheless, fundamentally retailers now have to place technology at the core of their business if they are serious about staying in the game.

This technology needs to enable you to:

Really know who your customers are – identify each and every customer when they transact, whether it’s in-store or online!

This is super important! Retailers need to be be able to identify their customers in order to match them to their basket data. When a customer is matched to their basket data, this is the moment retailers start to compete with Amazon on a like-for-like basis.

Similar to the Netflix experience, where if somebody has watched a certain set of programmes, the platform can accurately predict the sort of programmes the user is likely to watch next, so too can it be for a consumer shopping experience when customer identity is matched to their basket data.

Build a beautiful buying experience that enables your customer, whether in-store or online, to seamlessly pay!

This means being able to deliver the following in a single moment at the point of payment: issuing a fully-itemised digital receipt, enabling any form of a loyalty programme to be earned, delivering rewards that are due, and providing the ability for consumer to redeem rewards, both online or in-store.

These are just some of the things that Amazon enables through its one-click button.

I’ll close by saying that if you’re in retail today and you’re not already doing so, you need to seek out and deliver a tech-led customer experience now!


So that wraps up the first ever version of the Rolphcast. It would be great to hear feedback on what you thought of the video.

And if there’s anything you think we should be discussing in future Rolphcasts, email it in to with the subject line “Rolphcast”.

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