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.