Posts tagged ‘e-commerce’

The mind-control helmet from Japan – Coming to you soon in a stylish trucker hat that’s guaranteed to wow the ladies


Scientists at the Honda Research Institute recently demonstrated an electronic helmet that allows the wearer to control a robot simply by thinking. Its inventors predict that “one day the mind-control technology will allow people to do things like turn air conditioning on or off and open their car boot without putting their shopping down.”

It seems to me they’re not thinking big enough. The e-commerce opportunities implied by this technology are staggering. Merely think about wanting something and your credit card will be charged for it. Catch a glimpse of a shiny gewgaw from the corner of your eye, and PayPal instantly bills you and ships it. Should this technology be perfected, it will be harder to get a license to run a direct-response TV spot than it is to purchase a shotgun. And rightfully so.

See the full story by Ian Sample here.


April 27, 2009 at 2:52 am Leave a comment

How Amazon drove $2.7 billion in incremental sales through clever user interface design

Jared Spool has written a fascinating story on about the importance of a single question that Amazon incorporated into its user interface design: “Was this review helpful to you?” At a stroke this meant the reviews users saw weren’t simply arranged in chronological order, but in order of helpfulness. It’s also rather stunning to see what a small percentage of people bother to write or vote on the helpfulness of reviews. For Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which sold over 4 million copies on Amazon, fewer than 3,300 people wrote reviews, which works out to about one out of every 1,300 people who purchased the book. The numbers get even smaller when you look at the number of people who vote on the helpfulness of reviews. In fact, the most helpful review got only 566 votes. 

Small though the numbers seem, according to Spool, “one out of every five customers decides to complete the purchase because of the strength of the reviews.” If you do the math, that works out to an extra $2.7 billion to Amazon’s bottom line.  

Agencies and clients alike should note the importance of customer reviews (both positive and negative) not only in the world of e-commerce, but in the world of branding. If you try to hide negative comments about your brand, you’re destined to wind up with the credibility of a Cuban election. When Castro gets 99.7% of the vote, we know something isn’t right. The same is true for your brand.

April 1, 2009 at 12:22 am Leave a comment


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