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
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
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.