When it comes to recommendation engines, Netflix and Amazon are industry leaders. They do a great job of studying a person’s search and purchase history and suggesting new products that the user may enjoy. Amazon takes it a step further by sending suggestions simply based on what you search. For instance, I went to amazon.com the other day and was logged into my amazon account. I searched for “Machine Learning” books, I checked out some books but didn’t buy any. The next day, I got this email:
This is excellent, I can say that this would increase the probability of purchases. (One note I would make is that my name is clearly not “Amazon.com customer”, if Amazon knows my email and can connect that to my search activity, they surely can connect my name to my email address. Small detail, but personal touches matter.)
Strategies like the one above are well implemented to help me come back to the website. But once I am on the website, how do I decide which books to buy? Like most shoppers, I read the reviews. I read the reviews but never leave any, even though I have purchased numerous amazon books. I blame Amazon for the fact that I never review, they can do a better job of encouraging me to leave reviews. It is their job to make leaving reviews as seamless as possible. More reviews lead to more ratings. Their recommendation engine can use my previous reviews to suggest books that are not only similar to the ones I read before, but similar to the ones I read and liked.
Here are some suggestions that would lead to more reviews:
1. Make Reviews Timely and Easy
When is the best time to review a book? When I just finished reading it. When I read a book on my Kindle application, there is nothing on the last page that tells me or encourages me to leave a review. Adding a quick note and field at the end of the book would make it easy for folks to leave thoughtful reviews.
When I log into Spotify, I am notified of people who have subscribed to my playlist or have recently joined Spotify. Why not have something similar on amazon.com? Why not have a notification button that would remind me to leave reviews on books I read?
Alternatively, this can be done on my kindle application. My kindle application shows all of the books I’ve read:
Why not remind me to leave reviews on them? Highlight the books that I need to leave reviews for and allow me to do so in-app.
These quick fixes would increase the number of reviews, improve the recommendation engine, and will help convert more users into buyers.