Amazon Reviews As Market Research

Jason Feifer at Fast Company badgered his way into interviewing a very random and very successful online company he stumbled upon called C&A Marketing, whose business model is based on reading product reviews on Amazon and manufacturing products to fill in the gaps of what people want.

Each buyer has a specialty–beach products, cellular accessories, and so on. Their job is to scour the web to learn all the features people wish a product had, and hire a manufacturer, often in China, to make the desired version. Pikarski lets each buyer create their own Hipe-style brand name, and order anywhere from a dozen to a truckload of units. If they sell well, the product is renewed. Otherwise, it’s junked.

So dark, so brilliant.

Most manufacturers used [Amazon and Ebay] as a place to sell, but they’re actually giant laboratories. In the past, say, an audio company would have to make many speakers–otherwise, who would take them seriously? But on Amazon, the consumer doesn’t look at a brand’s full line of products; she looks at Amazon’s full line, meaning a tiny company with one speaker can compete against anyone.

This case seems fairly benign, though the potential problems with an online marketplace contextually legitimizing third-party transactions that the marketplace doesn’t necessarily investigate or endorse are crazy to think about.

Photo: insideology

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3 Comments / Post A Comment

I don’t see the nefarious downside here? This is exactly what traditional manufacturers and wholesalers do, only cheaper, more nimble, and more responsive to consumer demands. Aside from a very few categories of products (electronics, leather goods, fashion) nobody really cares what brand makes their beach chair or car console caddy or whatever.

Meaghano (#529)

@stuffisthings omg don’t you care about the creative process and domestic manufacturing? jk, fair, my Kickstarter/Brooklyn-ness is probably showing here.

EvanDeSimone (#2,101)

This seems like one of the points where data is being used to create desirable products to meet needs and wants rather than just to place ads in front of receptive eyes in order to sell more of what’s already on the market. I actually think this sounds kind of fun.

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