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Amazon Says It Knows What Shoppers Want

Amazon Says It Knows What Shoppers Want

Amazon was candid about how it decides what to show shoppers in a recent post on its German corporate blog (we used Google Translate to get the English-language version).

Amazon said it shows various items it thinks customers searching its site will like the most and provided some examples of the factors it considers:

“We are constantly optimizing our suggestions based on various factors such as shopping behavior (e.g. how often an item was bought by other customers), the price of the product, the speed of delivery, the topicality and popularity (e.g. the latest mobile phone model or a new music album) and indicators of customer satisfaction after purchase, such as the return rate.”

Amazon also uses shopper behavior that signal dissatisfaction with a product: “Sometimes customer behavior also shows us that they are not satisfied with a product (including Amazon’s private label products). When that happens, we present other products that we by analyzing these clues, believe that customers might like them better higher up in search results.”

As sellers know all too well, Amazon features one product over others on the product offer page – and Amazon said 95% of featured listings come from third-party sellers:

“If a product is offered by several selling partners, we will display the best offer prominently on the offer page. In most cases, all of these listings are from Independent Selling Partners (more than 95 percent of featured listings). All listings, whether from Amazon itself or from independent selling partners, compete to become one of the Featured Listings. And based on the same criteria as e.g. B. a low price (including shipping costs), fast delivery.”

In its post on the Amazon Germany blog, the company said its research validates its selection process:

“The vast majority of customers who take the time to compare all non-promoted offers end up going with the offer that was highlighted on the offers page. This confirms that we are doing a good job of predicting what customers want.”

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.

2 thoughts on “Amazon Says It Knows What Shoppers Want”

  1. This from a company that cannot even honor dimensional search requests. Buyers attempting to find envelopes of a specific size see lists of envelopes of all sizes presented in random order. Is Amazon more interested in boot-strapping algorithm validation or meeting the needs of actual buyers? Is Amazon’s search less effective than eBay’s?

  2. If they are so smart and know what I’m looking for WHY IS IT WHEN I SEARCH FOR CONDIMENTS THEY KEEP SHOWING ME CONDOMS. Guess they ain’t as smart as they think they are.

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