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Posts Tagged ‘Amazon’

Is Social Media Better for Building Product Credibility?

October 29th, 2013 No comments

I had a conundrum once at dinner when I was a young military guy stationed in Tampa, Fla.

I wanted to try something new, and I had my mind set on Chinese food. In an attempt to get an unbiased opinion, I fired up my trusty laptop and Googled “Chinese food Tampa.”

After sorting through a few million results, I arrived at a few good recommendations based on star ratings and other such nonsense. Just to double check, I phoned a friend who had eaten at the spot I chose.

Knowing my personality and my legendary picky eating habits, he recommended that I not go to my top choice. Of course, I completely ignored him and did it anyway.

Gripped in the depths of gastrointestinal distress two hours later, and surrounded by throngs of hipsters, I realized a simple truth: star ratings are a ridiculous way to gauge a product or service.

As it turns out, most Americans agree with me, at least in principle.

A recent report from Forrester Research indicated 70% of Americans trust brand or product recommendations from friends and family. To give you an idea of how high that percentage is, only 46% of Americans said they trusted consumer-written online reviews.

The takeaway from this research is Americans trust personal recommendations at a much higher rate than reviews from strangers.

 

That creates an interesting dichotomy since most e-commerce stores offer consumer ratings, but not friend and family recommendations via social media.

Take a look at this product page. It just so happens to be the Amazon product page for my recently published book. 

 

You’ll notice the product page offers a star-based review system whereby people who have read the book are able to review it.

This represents the traditional attempt by retailers to reduce customer anxiety about their purchase and increase credibility of the product by allowing real people to give their unfettered opinions of the product. The problem, of course, is the Forrester report has introduced an element of doubt about how effective consumer-written online reviews are at influencing the purchasing behavior of individuals shopping online.

Let’s compare Amazon’s attempt to assuage anxiety to another approach, below:

 

I really like this example of integrating a Facebook comment into a product page because it illustrates the potential for using social media to build your products’ credibility. The widget will allow anyone to comment on your product or service, provided they have a Facebook account.

The widget can be coded to display socially relevant results first. In other words, you can show any comments from your customers’ friends and relatives at the top of the list, and as we’ve discovered, the recommendations of friends can be much more trustworthy.

The only problem I can foresee with this approach is having a lack of comments on a particular product.

Could the Facebook commenting process be so foreign to people that it scares them away?

Do customers understand this is the functionality that they should use to leave a recommendation?

We don’t have answers to those questions.

It seems as if we’re left with a valid research question: which attempt at alleviating anxiety and boosting credibility will be most effective?

Will it be the traditional user-based “star” concept that made me sick, or the socially empowered “friends and family” approach?

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Marketing Psychology: The behavioral triggers behind success at Amazon, Groupon and FarmVille

September 8th, 2011 1 comment

I like to think of myself as a savvy consumer. I research purchases. I ask friends for suggestions. I look for deals. This has undoubtedly spared me headaches and wasted money — but it has not freed me from clever marketing.

This fact is made clear in a recent Wired article by Dan Ariely, Professor of Behavioral Economics, Duke University. In the piece, Ariely explains the psychological factors that help build Amazon, Facebook, Groupon and other successful companies.

We interviewed Ariely last year about his book, Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, and published his advice. Here are three marketing insights from his recent article in Wired:

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Basic Tips for Improving Ecommerce Experiences

March 31st, 2009 3 comments

About a month ago I had the pleasure of interviewing Tamara Adlin about best practices in improving users’ ecommerce experiences.

She was speaking at Etail West 2009 in Phoenix and I wanted get her insight since she’s been in the field for the past 18 years. She created the Customer Experience services team at Amazon.com.

Here were her Top 3 Tips for Enhancing Users’ Ecommerce Experiences:

Tip #1. Display differentiators and value propositions on the homepage

Adlin says 99% of the sites she sees fail to apply this simple rule. It’s as easy as constructing a simple statement, or bullet points, or a general voice that relays: Welcome. Here’s who we are. Here’s what we sell. Here’s how we’re different. Here’s why you should care. Here’s what you should do.

Tip #2. Look at the site from end-to-end

Companies should get into the habit of clicking through their site every day. Go to the site, click on the sale or promotion creative. Where does it take you? How can you make that process make more sense for the user? How can you give them exactly what they want?

Tip #3. Customer service is the key

Don’t slack on customer service efficiencies. If a customer says the product doesn’t work, invest in a proactive customer service department that offers to expedite a new product immediately. The positive word-of-mouth garnered from that simple gesture is worth thousands of marketing dollars.

‘Tis the Season for Special Opt-outs!

December 10th, 2008 No comments

Granted this is just one consumer’s complaint, but it’s something to think about. A consumer named “Rob” recently was quoted in a Consumerist post about how Amazon ruined his wife’s surprise Christmas gift this year by sending email recommendations about the present after he purchased it.

His wife actually saw a subject line referring to the surprise gift (a TomTom GPS) on the couple’s shared Google homepage enabled with an iGoogle email widget showing recent emails. 

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