One crucial aspect of the Amazon marketplaces are the customer reviews and ratings regarding the products for sale. Obviously, at the moment, the vast majority of these are written but it looks like Amazon is developing video reviews. These would not just offer information to shoppers about products for sale, but also potentially give Amazon new options when it comes to increasing advertising revenues and also offering discounts to buyers.
Amazon has started a very limited test of video reviews on amazon.com. The benefits are obvious. A reviewer can give a visual review of a product and point out how it works, where its shortcomings are and also demonstrate it in action. Obviously for household devices and electronics, this could be potentially very engaging for shoppers. A well crafted video review from a satisfied (or even unhappy) customer would be far more enlightening than simple static images or plain text. And as we’ve seen with the so-called YouTubers, who review anything from video games to make-up, and have cult followings especially among millennials, that video reviews can and do get traction.
But the really interesting bit lies with a patent Amazon filed late last year. It reads: “customers in an electronic environment can be presented with the option to receive advertising, such as audio, video, or interactive content, in order to receive discounted pricing or similar benefits.”
It’s a neat idea. Basically, shoppers can watch an ad as part of a video review and then receive a discount. Presumably the longer they watch then the greater the discount. People who aren’t terribly price sensitive can skip the promo, but people who watch the pennies can view on and maybe even see the price drop by the second as they tune in. It’s a discount per watch model.
It’s hard to tell whether the patent is watertight but it is a cunning idea that the likes of Google, Facebook and Youtube and others will want to emulate. But maybe they can’t do that now and Amazon has a stranglehold. But it does depend on the extent to which they can attract video reviews.
What is less clear is what’s in it for reviewers. Perhaps they will get credits too for making a video review? Let’s see what unfolds.