AMAZON.COM – PARTICIPATION MEDIA CASE STUDY #2:
Consumers trust online reviews from other customers on Amazon.com five times more than the message crafted by the brands that sell the products. According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, user reviews have become the most powerful asset in e-commerce. But, even this feature could be eclipsed by Amazon’s real-time recommendation engine.
By providing user participation in product accountability, the consumer has gained the power to find the best possible product. All this has happened on Amazon’s behalf without hiring a single sales representative. The consumer is the sales staff. Brilliant! In fact, when I purchase a new lens for my Canon 5d camera, I can read reviews from dozens of expert 5d users. No pro camera shop can give me that quality advice. That is powerful.
Now imagine the power of consumer-generated data used proactively to automate the sales process…
In case you haven’t already noticed, now Amazon is re-purposing user data to make shopping recommendations. My purchase patterns combine with user ratings and the purchase patterns of others. All of this data adds up to enable real-time marketing that will help Amazon guide me to purchases that I don’t even know I need to make.
They have actually integrated artificial intelligence software to learn about me over time. Now, when I go to the Amazon home page, it’s full of Canon lenses that I would love to own. Big Brother? They call it Big Data. Big Data combined with real-time recommendation engines are being developed by IBM, Cisco and even software subscription services such as Toovio (who we have partnered with for our clients). It’s the future, and the next obvious step for marketers.
Amazon is currently testing physical distribution centers with same day delivery. If they succeed, we can expect that in the next ten years, Amazon will close the gap on Walmart as the top retailer in the world. Here is a fun exercise that I play on my friends. Try to name the number two online retailer. I don’t know about you, but most people come up blank. Should we buy stock in Amazon? Yes. But more importantly, adopt the tactics that will launch industry leaders in the Participation Age.