Amazon starts Customer Discussions

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Few e-retailers understand the power of social influence the way Amazon does. From its wildly successful customer reviews to the more recent customer images, Amazon tries hard to take advantage of the notion that when it comes to purchasing books we are heavily influenced by one another. Probably my favorite feature on Amazon has been the "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought" one. It tells me what other books I'd be interested in based on my interest in a specific book and what other customers bought. Those recommended books can be filtered by category and scroll horizontally like the Apple Album Cover Flow interface.

But there's a new feature that I like too. And that's the customer discussions. They connect customers to each other to share questions, insights and views about products available on In other words, they're discussion boards for each product on Amazon. What's refreshing is that Amazon recognizes that I'm not as interested in meeting people on its site as I am in finding books. So rather than design the feature a social network and encourage me to make friends, Amazon focuses on the reason that I'm on the site in the first place. To find good books to read and to learn more about them. Take a look at the guidelines to learn how Amazon thinks about these discussion boards.

If only other companies paid more attention to what we as consumers are trying to do on their websites. We'd have fewer social networks and just more relevant and useful interactive features.

Follow me on Twitter (@shivsingh) for more insights on digital strategy and social media.


Valdis said:

Here is a "social network" map of the relation:

People that bought X also bought Y

Social influence can create "echo chambers"...

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