Dan Naden

10 Ways to Improve Amazon.com’s Experience

Amazon.com has become part of our everyday. Amazingly, when you think of buying anything, you think of Amazon. Sorry Target, Wal Mart and mom and pops that used to dot every street corner.

The sharp, agile organization moved confidently from the Barnes and Noble replacement to the ‘retail’ replacement. Despite its quick rise to prominence, Amazon, like any enterprise, can do better.

10 Ways to Improve Amazon.com’s Experience

  1. Handshake with the Algorithm: Here’s the use case:  I bought a book that I’d been viewing on Amazon elsewhere or checked it out from the library (yes, I am old school.) How about giving me the ability to filter the already-purchased book from my recommended list? Similar to how Pandora gives me a thumbs up or down for a song that’s playing, I’d like to see a list of ‘content’ that more relevant to my needs. Help me to help you spend more of my money.

  2. Special events are Money Makers:  I don’t do spontaneous, impulse buying very well, but I will spend money on special occasions. My buying is purposeful, targeted and direct (Mother’s Day, Birthdays, Christmas). Starbucks used to get me a free drink on my birthday. How about a 25% off AMZN discount to buy something for a loved one on their special day? I know margins are tight, but once I add one thing to my cart, the odds are high that I’ll select a few more for purchase.
    Will future generations even be interacting with cashiers? Only time will tell.

  3. Unchained to the rhythm: I haven’t bought music on AMZN in years (many, many years), yet I am still being bombarded with stimuli about Amazon Music Unlimited and Music included with Prime. I know the fight for the smart home and the music ecosystem is fierce, and lucrative, yet I’d be more apt to react positively to an ad about an e-reader or book.

  4. Wasted Impressions?: I fully understand we live in a time of unlimited scrolling and the concept of the fold is dying quickly. Oftentimes though, I don’t have the time to scroll beyond the upper-half of most home pages. With 31 images above the fold on Amazon.com’s home page, how will I ever see or maybe (a big maybe) click on the 300×250 ad? I can’t imagine that the CTR or even awareness on an Amazon.com home page ad is strong. The online ad business is a tough game to play. With AMZN’s stock hitting an all-time high and products flying off the shelves, should the company consider not having ad placements on its pages? On Amazon.com, I am intentional in my pursuit of buying something, not desiring to be distracted off site by a Verizon Wireless ad.

  5. I need the human element: Who are the people behind the products? Who are they? In my hometown of Austin, Texas, a large workforce of Amazon employees works in nearby San Marcos, Texas. I want to see the human side of the incredible selling machine. Please tell me that robots (at least not yet) aren’t the brains behind making this entire site sing.

  6. Product pages are a headache: When viewing a product page, I am overwhelmed to the point of exhaustion by choice – too much choice. Google – clean and simple. Amazon – busy and distracting. Watch my patterns and know what features should be suppressed, minimized or even eliminated from my experience. If you want me to buy, get the rest of the ‘noise’ out of the way. Good design removes distraction and clutter, leaving only the necessities.

  7. Give back: Amazon is doing well financially. Gross profit has nearly doubled from the close of 2014 to year end of 2016. Would it be smart to donate a % of each sale to a worthwhile charity? Do this once a quarter and empower your customers to pick the charity. During a natural disaster, donate 5% of proceeds to the victim’s families or a relief fund. See #5 about the Human Element.

  8. Interesting finds?: I know the interesting finds’ feature is targeting a younger market segment where I don’t fit the profile. If I was the Product Manager with an eye on adding this feature to an already busy home page, I’d probably consider these 2 use cases:
    1. Get the customers deeper into the ‘catalog’ to browse items that would never surface through a keyword search or…
    2. Help a customer find a gift for someone who has everything already. (Hint – save the money and send them a handwritten note – it will have much more upside compared to a cheesy coffee mug of a desk set that will collect dust in someone’s closet.
      The shopping mall used to be a destination for communities to gather, shop, and socialize. Those days are ending.

  9. Don’t make the footer a footnote: Reading the fineprint on Amazon’s footer unearths some hidden treasures: TenMarks.com, Math activities for Kids, Box Office Mojo, a comprehensive box office database, Amazon Inspire, a digital education resource and much more. I know AMZN has hands in my areas, but I could be the target market for one of the services that might go to the footer to die.

  10. Amazon Ambassadors: Occasionally, I’d appreciate and engage in meaningful dialogue with an Amazon ambassador after a purchase. I am not a big reviewer or survey taker, but I’d help fill the coffers with qualitative feedback. Go deep to go long.

Bonus. But wait there’s more? +1

11. What are my friends buying? In this world of transparency and open APIs, Amazon must know the content I like on Facebook most often and whose content I share most frequently on LinkedIn. Without compromising privacy, and I know this is a big IF, isn’t there a way to share the movies, books and clothes my friends are buying?

Follow the purchasing trail of a good friend opens my wallet faster compared to reading a review from someone I don’t know in Topeka, Kansas.

Until next time,

Dan Naden

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