Amazon is becoming a shopping engine
Amazon • shopping engine
A couple of articles have been published in the last hours, commenting the new Product Ads program quietly launched by Amazon US:
So what is this new program? Basically a way for merchants to promote their products on Amazon: Amazon users clicking on those products are redirected to the merchants’ sites, and merchants are charged on a CPC basis. In Amazon’s own words:
Product Ads is a new program that displays links to product pages on other websites. By participating in this program, you can add products on Amazon.com and create links to your Web site. Your links can appear on Amazon.com product detail pages. Some links may appear directly in search results. When customers click on your links, they go to your Web site where they can purchase directly from you. You will be charged on a cost-per-click basis. Product Ads are currently displayed in the following categories: Electronics & Computers, Home & Garden, Tools, and Toys, Kids & Baby.
Yes, that’s it :) Amazon is becoming a shopping engine.
Currently, there seem to be few Product Ads on the site. I found some in the “Home & Garden” category using a very generic query on “furniture“:
- Product Ads are mixed with products from Amazon. Pure relevancy factor? Or is CPC paid by the merchant used as a factor in the ranking algorithm?
- The display of Product Ads is very similar to the way products from Amazon are displayed. The title links to a product detail page on Amazon site. A “available at external site” link opens a new window with the merchant’s page for this product.
- On the product detail page, a section named “available at these external websites” lists the merchants and the associated prices. A disclaimer explains that “purchases made on these external websites are not processed or fulfilled by Amazon.com and are not eligible for the Amazon safe buying guarantee“.
A few thoughts:
- Product Ads can become a threat to CSEs, as Amazon is such a known brand and powerful actor in the eCommerce space. This is surely part of a “you think shopping, you think Amazon” strategy.
- However, it may be confusing for users considering Amazon “simply” as an online store, especially for search results where no visible disclaimer explains what Product Ads are.
- I didn’t see examples of products in stock at Amazon, with Product Ads attached to them. Is it good for Amazon to display cheaper prices from competitors? Of course, it may be cheaper elsewhere, and you still decide to buy on Amazon because you trust it. But Amazon takes the risk to lose a sale.
- I’m interested to know how far Amazon wants to go with Product Ads: will it be used for the tail of its offer only, or also for very popular items?