Oh, That’s Beautifully Clever Amazon… Nailing UGC, Customer Experience, and Remarketing.

Freebird by Steven Women's BootI am now Amazon’s Boot Expert. So Can You!

I’m impressed.  Super impressed.  I just received an email from Amazon.ca that blew my digital marketing mind.

Here’s the play-by-play of my climb to expert bootdom.  (It involves some great boots so the visuals will be great.)

While saving $$$ isn’t the moral to this story I do have to begin there. Last month I bought some really fantastic boots on Amazon.ca after shopping around to find the best price online.  ShoeMe.ca had the boots I wanted at $400 and Amazon.ca had them at $275.  There was even more savings if I took their Amazon Prime offering – which I declined.  To me I had won.  The FreeBird’s arrived when they said they would and the free shipping option was a bonus.

So fast forward to today, I’m sitting at my desk prepping a Google Analytics report for one of our clients and checked my phone quickly while it loads…and this happened…

Amazon Answers Respond to Question Email

Amazon asks me to answer a product question. I am now the boot expert.

In one fall swoop, Amazon.ca had now…

ceri nelmes - digital marketing expert advanced SEOFrom a customer experience:

a) Appealed to my ego and my boot expertise.  I now feel good that “they” want my opinion.  (Even though I know “they” is a database.)

b)  Given me the warm fuzzies by appealing to my altruism.  I can now help someone else out with a clearly very important problem.

c) Made me click through to a landing page with more fantastic boots and want to buy more.  In fact, it was almost like giving candy to a baby how fast I clicked the link…EXCEPT it didn’t do that.  Missing an opportunity.  I am disappointed – who doesn’t need new boots?

d)  Informed me that I can also ask questions from the real people who bought them.  I can have a “pseudo” conversation with a stranger – still protecting each other’s privacy.

Did I buy more boots or related products?  Amazon didn’t tempt me on the page, but after they retarget me for the next few days I may find my next boot conquest.

Amazon landing page for respond to questions

There are no “related products”, no eye-candy, no upsells…it is barren…

As a senior digital strategist:

a) Shown the brilliance of answers/UGC (user generated content) provided by the users/reviewers instead of employing someone to answer or trying to get the information from the manufacturer (which usually takes some time).

b) Captured reviews. Studies show 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

c) Had a page to place a pixel for cookie pools to retarget/remarket…?

d)  Likely are tracking path to conversion for my demographic, so next time I log-in, my user profile will show me things that other people “like me” (expert shoe buyer and all-round sassy monkey) would also enjoy taunting me to spend more money.

e)  Amazed me with their personalization. My technical brain is dumbfounded by their phantasmagorical database and the brains that make it work.


Unknown Image Source

Unknown Image Source

Then in the flurry of how good I feel, the dark part of my amygdala had these thoughts…

Privacy and perception.

  • What if I was embarrassed about what I had purchased and they asked me my opinion.  I wonder if Amazon has a yes or no field in that phantasmagorical  database for embarrassing items, like this.
  • What if I was paranoid and thought, “How did Amazon know I bought them and why are they asking me?”Freebird by Steven Women's Wyatt Boot
  • If I was anxious, “When will I find the time to answer?  I’ll let that person down.”
  • How does Amazon deal with this? What if I’m a competitor and I buy the product just to give a bad review, lie at answers to questions, etc.?  I know that competitors never do that ;), but what if?
  • Affiliate Marketing – how does it affect who gets the commission?

Doing some research I find it is Amazon’s, Amazon Answers program is not new.  The Ask an Owner Feature was launched in 2012 and has been very successful.

2012!!!  I am a shopper and I work in digital – am I the only person who didn’t know about this?

TurnTo actually pioneered the concept of “social Q&A,” according to founder George Eberstadt. “Active Outreach is our term for the mechanism of getting fast answers from real product owners by emailing them the shoppers’ question,” he said. “Without that, community answering doesn’t work. It’s not as easy as it sounds.”

Anyway, I failed Sherri.  I didn’t know the answer to the question.  Being an avid researcher always on the quest for an answer, I may have looked it up somewhere, asked a friend, or called my favorite local bricks and mortar (I was going to say “boots on the ground’ but I didn’t) shoe store. If I didn’t have a deadline…

However, I did have time to buy other boots.  Selfish?  Maybe…but they teased…

Anyone going to take my crown?

View all contributions by

Senior Digital Strategist, Ceri Nelmes. With 16+ years’ experience in digital, Ceri began as an SEO at a UK agency after working as a Canadian journalist for seven years. She’s worked on almost every vertical in almost every digital role end-to-end from wireframes, content, UX, testing, site architecture, content, social media, ecommerce, affiliate, monetization, lead generation, media sales/buying, to advanced SEO and marketing for big brands, start-ups and not-for-profits like Chapters Indigo, Danby, Ancestry.ca to Bank of Scotland, BBC, and University of Toronto. She can be found scribbling on wipeboards and playing with her Hurricane Katrina Plott Hound, Taffy.

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