By: Siera Fregosi
Amazon.com has decided to open stores in New York City that only sells their highest rated products. If products online received a rating of 4 stars or higher the product will be featured in the first Amazon Go store in NYC. Traditionally, Amazon Go Stores were just grocery stores, now that Amazon has acquired Whole Foods, instead of opening new grocery stores, Amazon has decided to revolutionize the online marketplace.
Now Amazon is trying to revolutionize the Click and Mortar market place. Amazon has a goal to please as many customers as possible, especially with their new stores opening in NYC. Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, has tasked Steve Kassel with overseeing Amazon’s in-store marketplace for years and has helped design the new version of Amazon Go, where customers can not only order online, but also pick up in-store. With Amazon’s new stores, customers also have the option of browsing top rated products in a physical store. Featured products in the new Amazon store have the opportunity to increase their sales. While competing brands have a higher incentive to achieve customer loyalty, the rating system of Amazon now holds a considerably high value for both the consumer and the company. Amazon Books is another physical store that uses customer ratings to stock the shelves with the highest rated titles. While this creates a high level of competition for writers, it also creates a situation where the people buying and rating books are given the power of the marketplace. Since the ratings are what drives Amazon to put certain books on their shelves there is not a standard for the type of content; however, if the mass public is rating and reviewing books then content that is ‘unpopular’ will not be able to be sold by Amazon Books.
This raises a concern, since in the past few decades the most popular content is not always full of information or new ideas. Instead, the content being pushed by Amazon Books could be mostly superficial and celebrity-based. Books about the ‘secret life’ of a famous person will sell much better than a new scientific theory or a renowned physician making a medical breakthrough. The sensationalism needed to push books sales requires writers and editors to care more about pleasing the most people instead of staying true to the ideas of book writing. Many novels that come out by new authors will not have a chance to be seen in these stores since the public does not have access to the information that it has even been released or what their novels contain. Amazon is a monster company, which many may argue is drowning out competing businesses in pursuit of revolutionizing the American marketplace. The only issue consumers will have with Amazon will primarily be customer service-based. As long as Amazon can maintain a positive image and treat their customers well, the internet giant will be able to gobble up more industry market shares.
Hopefully consumers will take the opportunity to rate titles that deserve their space in the store. Amazon is full of opportunities to sell products and content, no matter the format, to a large segment of the population. During the next few years the flow of content will continue to change to the American public, hopefully consumers can see past the mass media and will be able to identify important content over sensationalized reading. Amazon will have the ability to shape the way we think by what is marketed and sold to Americans. The social responsibility of Amazon is to steer the direction of buying products and books to where consumers are able to find and access notable content.