Amazon Goes Social Shopping: What Quorus Hires Mean
Amazon is poised to make a major leap into social shopping thanks to a rash of recent hires from Quorus (formerly Fridge Door), a company whose chief product was software that added a social experience to online retailing.
When we wrote about what 2012 may hold for the world’s largest online retailer, Amazon, we mentioned the idea that Jeff Bezos and co. may eventually pull together the site’s myriad digital services and leverage its growing Kindleplatform into some kind of social network. Now it appears the company may be doing just that.
Quorus’ former vice president of business development, Matt Scoble, confirmed to Mashable that the company’s other co-founder, Michael Dougherty, now works for Amazon. The report says Amazon also snapped up Quorus employees Sam Rayachoti and Peter Abramson. Quorus.com now shows a placeholder site and the company’s official Twitter feed hasn’t been active since July.
Hold your horses before you think Amazon’s grab at social-software talent means the company is prepping to take on Facebook. Quorus makes software that lets shoppers essentially bounce purchases off friends before committing to a buy. It’s not quite the next Google+, but it could give Amazon an edge over other online retailers.
Quorus software works like this. Say you’re buying a sweater for your dad, but you can’t decide between two different patterns. Right from the product page, Quorus lets you call up a window to contact your mom, siblings and friends to help you out. The connection can be done by email, Facebook, Twitter or even text message.
Once you’ve reached out to your impromptu jury, Quorus can facilitate both a live chat and offline discussion. Not everyone will be able to stop what they’re doing to help you hunt down the perfect wool cardigan, so the software saves those messages for you (and yours) to read later. The whole exchange is hosted by Quorus — it’s not dependent on the social networks it uses to communicate.
That’s probably why the service looks attractive to Amazon. While Amazon has an interest in playing nice with the likes of Facebook, there’s no way Amazon will trust its destiny with a third party. Rather then create a social shopping experience from the ground up, Amazon simply gobbled up Quorus.
The next logical step is for Amazon to deploy Quorus’ collaborative shopping system on its product pages. The question now is whether it will appear universally throughout the site or if it will be something lumped in with the premium services of Amazon Prime. By going site-wide, Amazon will have even more of an edge over other retailers. However, the company needs to convert more customers into Prime members to help push its platform and right now there just aren’t a lot of good reasons for Amazon users to opt for the service.
What do you think about the Quorus experience, and does it work for Amazon? Would you use it if it was available? And more important, would you pay for it? Let us know in the comments.
January: Amazon launched Amazon Deals, a free iPhone application that provides users with an overview of new daily deals from Amazon’s Gold Box service.
The app lets you monitor and purchase Amazon’s daily deals directly from your iPhone. You can also share the deals with friends and family via email, Facebook, Twitter or SMS.
January: Amazon bought the remaining shares of LOVEFiLM, a European home entertainment subscription service that operates out of the UK, Germany, Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
LOVEFiLM is a site that lets users rent DVDs and games, as well as stream movies and TV shows online.
Amazon acquired LOVEFiLM for approximately £200 million ($312 million).
March: Amazon joined the online music streaming business with Cloud Player, a music player that allows anyone to upload her music to Amazon’s servers and stream them on the web, an Android device, iPad or a Kindle Fire.
The “Save to Amazon Cloud Drive” option allows users to store music purchased from the Amazon MP3 Store onto their Cloud Drive for free without counting against the storage quota.
March: Amazon launched the Android equivalent of Apple’s App Store to improve the Google’s Android Market shopping experience, the go-to store to purchase Android apps.
What sets the Android App Store apart from Apple’s App Store is the “Test Drive” feature, which lets users test apps on a simulated Android phone on their desktops before committing to a purchase.
Similar to Amazon’s ebook and music store, shoppers can view customer reviews, browse personalized recommendations and set up one-click payment options on the Android App Store.
May: Amazon hit the runway with MyHabit.com, a membership-only shopping site that offers sales up to 60% off clothes and accessories for men, women and children. The site also offers discounts on toys, beauty and home products.
Most of MyHabit’s events begin at 12 p.m. EST and last 72 hours. During this time, members can shop for discounts on a selection of designer brands.
Becoming a MyHabit.com member is easy: Either sign in with your Amazon login information or sign up for free on the site.
May: Amazon added a new member to the Kindle family: a 6-inch Kindle 3G with Special Offers.
Although almost identical to the Wi-Fi Kindle, the 3G costs $164 because it displays occasional advertisements. Users who purchase the 3G receive special offers and a $25 discount on the Kindle 3G, originally priced at $189.
May: Only four years old, Amazon’s Kindle ebooks outsold physical books purchased on Amazon. For every 100 print books sold, 105 Kindle ebooks were sold.
Amazon has sold more than three times as many Kindle ebooks in 2011 as it did in 2010.
Image courtesy of iStockphoto, shawn_hempel
The Mac Downloads Store is a marketplace where Amazon users can purchase and download Mac applications and games. However, users are more likely to purchase these Mac items from Apple’s App Store because they receive updates on new products from Apple’s desktop application.
Since Amazon’s store is not available as a desktop application, users may forget to visit the store on a regular basis and instead go directly to Apple’s App Store.
Image courtesy of iStockphoto, tbradford
June: In another European deal, Amazon acquired The Book Depository, a UK-based online bookseller that offers more than 6 million book titles and free delivery worldwide.
The Book Depository claims to be Europe’s fastest-growing bookseller and the UK’s largest online bookseller, with more than a million customers in the UK.
July: After signing a deal with CBS to begin streaming online videos from the network, Amazon also signed an agreement to add 1,000 movies and TV shows from NBCUniversal.
Under the agreement, Amazon Prime customers can watch a variety of titles from NBCUniversal, including Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Gosford Park and Babe, among others.
July: Amazon experienced a 51% increase in revenue during the second quarter of 2011, compared to the same time period in 2010. According to CEO Jeff Bezos, the jump was the fastest growth Amazon has seen in a decade.
Revenues for the second quarter, which ended in June, reached $9.9 billion, leading to a 12% jump in Amazon’s stock prices.
September: Details about Amazon’s Android-based tablet emerged ahead of Amazon’s press event in September.
The Kindle Fire has a 7-inch display, weighs 14.6 ounces, offers Wi-Fi connectivity, contains a dual-core processor and includes a new web browser called Amazon Silk.
November: Amazon’s Kindle ereaders and tablets sold exceptionally well on Black Friday, especially the Kindle Fire, which was the bestselling product on Amazon.com that day.
In an announcement, Amazon noted the following:
- Customers purchased four times as many Kindles as they did last Black Friday.
- Kindle Fire is the bestselling product across all of Amazon since the device was released in September.
- Many customers bought multiple Kindles.
Kindles also sold well at Best Buy and Target.