CAMPAIGN-I: Behind the hype - Online shopping with total confidence. Amazon.co.uk is an easy to use e-tailer that appeals to both net savvy and novices

A US survey recently revealed that Ebay has knocked Amazon.com off

the top spot for retail sites.



When putting the UK version together, the designers recognised that

there was little wrong with the parent site so decided not mess with an

efficient, navigable layout.



There is all that you would expect from an e-tailer - books, music,

DVDs, videos, software and games. The site has also linked with business

partners, such as the BBC and Sony PlayStation 2, to bring special

offers to users.



One of the best things about Amazon is that you can send presents to

people anywhere in the world. The site also watches what you look at and

buy, then recommends items it thinks you might like and sends users

e-mails asking them to reserve copies of a new book or CD.



However, Amazon's attempt to take on Ebay with its auction section looks

underused with not a single bidder for any of the items in the section

reviewed.



The product reviews are good but you are never sure if they got a job

lot in and are trying to flog 'em off cheap. But they get round this by

asking the punters to rate products themselves.



Target Audience: Your average net generation demographic - plus bold

adverts trying to convert those scared by the white box in the

study/kids' bedroom.



Principals: Amazon.co.uk was launched in October 1998 following the

acquisition of Bookpages.co.uk by Amazon.com in April 1998.

Amazon.co.uk's managing director is Steve Frazier.



Funding: Amazon.com stumped up the cash.



Marketing: They've done viral campaigns, TV and radio, customer

relationship marketing, gift certificate promotions, post buying

mailings and PR. Its agencies are HHCL & Partners and Total Media,

although the account is currently under review.



Competitors: Barnes & Noble, Ebay, Beeb.com and the like.



THE YEAR AHEAD - Excellent prospects



With Amazon being knocked off the US top spot by Ebay, the UK operation

will no doubt be looking over its shoulder but its hold on the market is

hardly in question. Steep shipping and inventory costs of its core

retail business are a disadvantage when competing with the likes of

Ebay, but the demise of BOL won't do the site any harm.



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1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).