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Tuesday 07|31|01
Amazon is at it again

I was browsing around Amazon the other day and I noticed a new tab in their navigation. I have followed their navigation since they started with one row of tabs, tried the awful two rows and then settled on the popular sections. After all I am an IA and navigation competitive analysis is something I do a lot. So when I noticed this new tab

I was very surprised it had MY name on it. I think it is important to note that the tab didn't say "My Store" but said "Erin's Store". That personalized difference, made all the difference to my noticing it and wondering about it. They seem to be experimenting with all aspects of customizing and personalizing. As you view items they often show in the left column a panel called "Page you made" - but this was a whole tab. Clicking into the section revealed that this was the aggregate of my stuff - Wish list, Recommendations, Favorite people - buying circles, Expert lists etc. This really was representative of my stuff. I was very impressed that they had come up with the technology to create the tab on the fly from my cookie but at the same time - similar to the last time I felt oddly spied upon. Like they knew too much about me. After all I didn't ask for this.

I would like to think that they are really learning about how to use the things they collect and turn it around to valuable offerings for the customer. Not intrusive but relevant. In the recommendations area, in order to stop being shown items I already own, I have had to go into the site and explicitly say I own it. On the one hand they are showing me things I am interested in, after all I bought the stuff - just not at Amazon. On the other hand, they don't reflect early purchase made on Amazon so requires a fair amount of work on my part to make the feature really useful to me and not intrusive. If the homepage only shows me stuff I already own or am not interested in, then they are wasting extremely valuable real estate. Just throwing it away.

The idea of a tab on the site, with my name on it, is very intriguing. It implies I have a vested interest in the company and in the content. The ideas that come to mind about sharing my tab with others or further customizing to delete whole sections of the site are intriguing and open to a wide array of cool as well as disturbing ideas. I wonder who else is doing stuff like this in the ecommerce space? Who else is this bold and willing to experiment on their "live" site?

I noticed on my next visit to Amazon, that the tab was gone. I look forward to my tab coming back.

Posted by erin at 09:58 PM | in Amazon


Posted by w. darren prouty at August 8, 2001 07:24 AM

When I first saw the "Garrick's Store" tab, I thought it was an extension of their Z-Stores. I immediately clicked it, curious as to what I was selling. Needless to say, I was disappointed with the resulting screen.

Posted by garrick at August 14, 2001 03:14 PM

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