Competitive Analysis


Identifying the Personalization Features in Amazon


Amazon has pursuing the goal of providing the most customer-oriented experience to their users, and has been referred as the best practice, or even the negative example for  personalization. Bellow we present some of the thoughts of Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO:


"If we want to have 20 million customers, then we want to have 20 million 'stores' ... our mission is to be the earth's most customer-centric company," Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com CEO [PC World, June 28, 2000 ]


What's the ultimate in personalization? When "you go into a bar and sit down, and the bartender puts a whiskey in front of you without having to  ask what you want," Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com CEO [PC World, June 28, 2000]


Amazon.com records what a shopper purchases and then matches the acquisitions to the aggregate purchases of other shoppers who have bought similar products, Bezos said. By comparing what an individual shopper has purchased to what shoppers with apparently similar tastes have purchased, Amazon.com has come up with, for example, a "new for you" feature. The features can suggest, for instance, that based on a certain book purchase, a shopper might like a certain musical artist on compact disc.PC World, June 28, 2000


The idea of a merchant getting to know customers, introducing customers to each other, and making recommendations is "in a sense, a return to yesterday," Bezos said. "In a sense, what technology has taken away from us is the ability for small-town merchants to make recommendations. But I think that what technology has taken away, maybe over time, technology can return." Personalization is Key for Amazon.com , PC World, 2000



The site of Amazon.com currently uses two different methods: (a) personalization, by tracking buyers patterns and behaviors to deliver recommendations for other books, and (b) customization, by allowing users to rate different books to further refine recommendations. In using customization, the goal of Amazon was to correct the misinterpretation of user behavior. Let's say the user decided to buy a book to a friend. Amazon would base its recommendation list in your last buys and browse, which not necessarily reflects the user taste and needs. For user would be annoying to see in their recommendation list those books that doesn’t match with their interest. Be able to refine the list and remove items from that would make users more confident in checking the Amazon suggestions. 


The site uses collaborative filtering method to recommend products to return visitors based on the purchases of other customers who have bought the same or similar products.



Personalization Features



News for You


Includes: New Releases’; The Page you Made [based in the last two options of the user, by buying or clicking], with options to change or remove.


Movers & Shakers: a list of the last 24 picks [in the case of Amazon, purchases]


Users Account,


Articles & Interviews


Continuation of the page


New for You buy E-mail: The newest releases. The latest articles. The hottest recommendations. To find out what's new for you, subscribe to our semimonthly e-mail.

Recommendation  7 Recommendation Wizards

Evaluate with the user if the recommended option

User specify in a form their favorite Author, Movie, Artist, Interest, or use some ideas to get start, but in this case doesn’t offer options for books outside literature: in this case, Amazon presents “Recommend Like this” option

Search Explorer


From the Recommendation page, users get more likely their choices.

Similarity Explorer


Users explore similar items for a product interest from the Recommendations home page or any product detail page

New for You



Friends & Favorites: Add to My Wish List

Business value: Another way of knowing user intensions.

User value: provide ways to facilitate later shopping, instead of adding/erase from the shopping chart; make “birthday list”, “wedding list” etc

In every product page users have the option to select the item for wish lists. Also provide Delete, Change quantity, and Add to my shopping cart.  It is possible to sort by date added or by last updated or price. It can be viewed by product type.


In addition to that, there is
Friends & Favorites: Find the People you Care About, with option to search for friends.

Special Occasion Reminder

Business value:  be connected to the user, and create opportunity for purchase


User value: get organized and be remembered

It start with Add a Reminder; The user specify kind of occasion; date; when would like to be reminded; The remind note; also there are fields related to the other person tastes. Person interests are defined by keywords, then Amazon display a list for each topic. It also send you an e-mail with confirmation, and giving you option to edit or delete.

Friends & Favorites: Your About You Area

Business value: stimulate other purchase and create community


User value: share with other their tastes


Share information about themselves, their personal tastes, and opinions regarding various products and services.; users can add an photo; can be added only for friends (Trustee Friends). The friend receives an e-mail with a link to the area; there is guideline to participate, with restrictions, that make Amazon on control of the content.

Purchase Circles

Business value: stimulate 

Highly specialized bestseller lists. They let user know what people are buying around the world and in their hometown, at your workplace and at your alma mater.


Individuals and companies can request erase their data from this circle list.


Amazon group the items sent to particular zip and postal codes, and the items ordered from each domain name. They then aggregate this anonymous data and apply an algorithm that constructs bestseller lists of items that are more popular with each specific group than with the general population. No personally identifiable information is used to create Purchase Circle lists, according to them. It is updated according to the purchase amount: large, every week; small, every month



Options by organizations, geography, companies, education: work + live + school


Share Favorites Area

Bring new users

users can share their favorite “stores” and their “favorites categories”

E-mail recommendations from editors



Top Reviews


The Top Reviewers list is a collection of Amazon.com's leading customer review writers. Each time a customer reads a review on the site, he/she gets to vote on whether or not he/she found the review helpful. The votes are tabulated. And the people whose reviews are voted most helpful most often are selected as Top Reviewers. The Top Reviews have their own personal profiles pages, with links to all reviews they have presented. Their background and their reviews for the week.


Users can add the Review page to their favorites.


In the list of the top reviews there is a short description about them, including photo.



Users can send e-cards to friends.