Monthly Archives: September 2011

Are Consumer Interest Groups Bad for Consumers?

We live in a consumer age.  My own view is that consumerism is part of evolution.  I know that there are a few people out there who really hate how far it’s gone: I’m certainly not arguing that the consequences of being a consumer society are all good.  However, I don’t think we can turn back this particular tide. Increasingly, what was once a case of consumer need (indeed, many marketers still talk in such terms – mistakenly, in my view) is now much more often a case of consumer desire: we meet our basic psychological desires by buying products. These psychological desires that have served us so well in evolutionary terms, can now be satisfied from a trip to the shops: if you want status, buy a Rolex or an iPad; if you want power, buy a high performance car; if you want romance get a make-over and buy […]

Amazon Test New Website Design

It’s always interesting to see what ideas a web giant like Amazon is evaluating, particularly when the change is more than just a subtle adjustment. At present they’re trying out a very different home page. One thing Amazon does that is super-smart is split test.  They don’t rely on the vague irrelevancies of what customers tell them in market research to decide whether a change is worth making: they send customers to the new look at random and check to see what the impact is on behaviour (and particularly on conversion).  This means the evaluation isn’t done as an artificial conscious exercise, people don’t know they’re taking part in research: as a result the unconscious drivers of consumer actions are still ‘in-play’ and the artificial influence that comes from asking questions isn’t an issue. From this perspective it doesn’t really matter what I or anyone else thinks when they evaluate […]