Amazon.com has one potentially big advantage over its rival online retailers. Excerpts with heavy edits and my comments added:
While competitors have detailed systems for tracking customer habits, critics and boosters alike say Amazon is the trailblazer, having collected information longer and used it more proactively. Amazon has collected detailed information about what its customers buy, considered buying, browsed for but never bought, recommended to others or even wished someone would buy them. It has built ever-more sophisticated tools to recommend more purchases, direct your searches toward products it thinks you're most likely to want, or even stop the forgetful among us from buying the same book we purchased five years ago."In general, we collect as much information as possible such that we can provide you with the best feedback," said Werner Vogels, Amazon's chief technology officer.
More recently, Amazon has launched a Web search engine, called A9, with ability to remember all individual searches - and the site reserves the right to share that information with its retailing arm. Amazon also funds a Web site called 43 Things.com. It seeks to link people with similar goals, such as getting out of debt. There are questions whether A9 is worth the hefty investment.A9 ranked 41st in popularity among search engines in February, attracting only a fraction of visitors to Google or Yahoo.
Manber, A9’s chief says,- there are no current plans to link customer's Web searches with their Amazon shopping habits, even though data from both sites are stored using the same customer log-in. Amazon's backing of 43 Things potentially gives it an opening into social networking. At the site, people list personal goals and find out who else shares their ambitions. Many internet companies, including Yahoo Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Google Inc.,are investing in technology that seeks to build communities.
My Take: A9 seems to give me-too results like other search engines, but with a more complex interface- we have to see how this finds users regularly reusing the search engine.I see clear synergies and definite value add for amazon to develop such networking sites such as 43things.com. Amazon’s collaborative filtering and recommendation mechanism is definitelt miles ahead and all set to improve further and reap bigger rewards for amazon. The technology coupled with Amazon’s process gives it an unparalled edge even attracting rivals to use the Amazon platform.Technology edgethat can accurately anticipate a customer's greatest desires is going to be a differentiator in the growing competition with Internet-based upstarts and traditional retailers moving online, - customer relationship centers around this.Amazon may need to get more explicit and understand the sensitivities involved.
Category : Internet Retailers.