Meditate on this • 1 July 2008 • The SnowBlog

Meditate on this

Strikes me I haven't done much Amazon bashing lately. Let me correct that. Amazon have been doing more of their ham-fisted cross-selling again. In retail circles there are often innovative ideas about what we (ex)shopkeeping types call 'merchandising' and you call 'deciding which products go on which shelves'. The old chestnut is a supermarket display set out on a Friday night that contains cold beer next to nappies for all the supposed dads with young families stopping in on their way home. I think the logic is that the housewife they're married to asks them to pick up the nappies and their eye alights on the adjacent brewskis. But you can imagine that the success of this sort of thing is all down to the execution. You don't want to make it obvious you see your customers as either stereotypes or clichés. You don't want to lay out your store entirely based on cute cross-selling opportunities so that there's no Beer section of the store any more, only Buddies' Fishing Trip and Parents Out of Town departments. In Amazon's case they sent me an e-mail recommending one DVD based on my purchase of another. I bought the recent Sci-Fi Channel re-imagining of the Wizard of Oz story (which I found really laboured, badly structured and disappointing, despite a pretty solid cast). On the strength of that they recommended a DVD about reducing my stress levels through meditation, courtesy of a celebrity stress-doctor. Ahhh, how well they continue to not know me. Celebrity-endorsed lifestyle fads are among the last things I would ever take an interest in. And how did they get there from a Sci-Fi mini-series? Customised cross-selling is clever; Amazon's version of it is not. (Unless they knew the mini-series was rubbish and recommended the de-stressing DVD to help me not blame them for the fact.)


The SnowBlog is one of the oldest publishing blogs, started in 2003, and it's been through various content management systems over the years. A 2005 techno-blunder meant we lost the early years, but the archives you're reading now go all the way back to 2005.

Many of the older posts in our blog archive suffer from link rot. Apologies if you see missing links and images: let us know if you'd like us to find any in particular.

Read more from the SnowBlog...

« Dilemma
Rob warned me about this »