And probably terrifying for retailers whose names aren't Amazon.
User-generated Amazon reviews are one of the most important ways that consumers find products and decide what to buy. So much so that Amazon has consistently shown itself to be Google’s competitor in e-commerce search. Almost all Amazon product reviews are written but, as business research firm L2 wrote, Amazon is now pivoting to video.
It’s a broad strategy with Amazon inviting some of its 2 million merchant partners to join the test program, where videos will be posted to the site in mid-December. According to L2, “this feature is a logical step given how often consumers watch how-to and product review videos before making purchases. By adding the feature, Amazon clearly aims to keep shoppers on its own site, preventing them from migrating to YouTube or social media platforms.”
There’s potentially another reason for Amazon to promote the use of video in e-commerce. It now has a way to offer customers discounts for watching ads. In October, Amazon was awarded a patent for “content-based price reductions and incentives.” The patent says that “customers in an electronic environment can be presented with the option to receive advertising, such as audio, video, or interactive content, in order to receive discounted pricing or similar benefits.”
One example of how Amazon sees this working is that a customer can watch a video ad on an item’s detail page, such as a product review. As the customer watches more of the ad, the displayed price for the item drops....MORE