Amazon has huge advantage over bricks and mortar retailers with the intelligent systems they employ. All you have to do is get somewhere close to a product category and their intelligent systems will provide links to products other customers shopped for or bought after they viewed that particular item. Often, in a few clicks you have found a top rated product that you were not aware of a few minutes earlier.
For Harrison Kirby (owner of the golf shop from the Internship Activity from Chapter 7) this causes a real problem. He has a tough time competing with online golf stores because he is not able to carry their amount of inventory nor does he have the amount of data necessary to create these intelligent systems. Below you will find a letter from Harrison that explains how you can help him in this situation!
I have an idea that I need your help developing. First, I realize that there is a great deal of information available on the web. Every product I carry has plenty of resources to help my customers make a decision. The problem I have found is that those resources are available on my competitors websites!
For example, Amazon does a great job of using their data to offer an “intelligent” suggestion to their customers. They often show percentages of what people buy when they look at an item, suggest related items, and even suggest combinations of purchases. I will never has as much data as Amazon does, but I wonder if I couldn’t somehow tap into their system and use it to my advantage.
I am interested in developing a system that will allow my customers to use the intelligent systems that are available online but keep my customers in my store for purchases. Part of helping with this will be gathering a list of the major golf websites that offer extensive product information (including customer reviews). I need you to build me a table that has the following information in it.
• Company Name
• Product Information - Does the site offer extensive product information (even from the manufacturer)?
• Customer Reviews - Does the website offer customer reviews?
• Related Product Information - Does the website offer related products to view?
• Purchase Information - Does the website offer information on how many people purchase this item? What about other products they purchase after looking at this one?
• Combination Purchase - does the site offer suggestions on combinations of items that customers typically purchase?
Once you compile this list, I will use it to talk to developers about ways to pull this information together. It will also help you see how many websites make use of Intelligent Agents to help their shoppers!