Brands Ben Hedrick By Ben Hedrick

ICYMI: Amazon Expert Recommendations — What This New Feature Means and What to Do About It

Amazon didn’t become the global, industry-disrupting force it is by resting on its laurels. The retail giant is hyper-focused on optimizing the marketplace experience for its customers and is always tinkering with new programs and features.

As a result, Amazon’s search engine results page (SERP) lives in a constant state of flux, whether that’s moving around paid advertisement placements or merchandising proprietary brands.

One of the latest changes to the Amazon SERP is called Amazon Expert Recommendations.

These banners, featuring third-party product reviews, offer a new way for shoppers to get comprehensive opinions on product categories from an independent review they trust, rather than digging through tons of customer reviews on a product detail page.

They will also, no doubt, keep brands on their toes and eager for positive reviews.

What are Expert Recommendations?

Expert Recommendations are carousel-like banners that appear in desktop searches for some higher-browsed categories that showcase a third-party’s opinion of the best items in that given category.

These “experts” are independently-run companies that review products and rate them according to similar products and provide a summarized reason for why a consumer should buy. They also backlink to a longer article in which the reviewer does a deeper dive into the “why” of their rating.

Expert Recommendations are not necessary brand new — we saw early appearances of this merchandising feature earlier this year. But the recent proliferation of the reviews across more category search results indicates that Amazon is seeing positive results from the program.

How does my brand get involved?

We recommend that brand owners get involved with this program by contacting some of the publishers of these review articles. Some of Amazon’s expert reviewers include:

BGR

Reviewed

RTINGS.com

BestReviews

Wirecutter

What do we think about this?

Amazon has been trying to tackle the inauthentic product reviews problem for quite some time. It seems the marketplace is striving to build more trust with buyers and this option gives the buyer a different type of recommendation without having to leave Amazon’s site to research their purchase.

We like the idea of how it uses an independent “expert” reviewer, and hopefully Amazon continues to ensure these articles are published with originality.

Our main questions are around how Amazon plans to translate this content into mobile browsing. Black Friday sales topped $6.2B this year with 33.5 percent of those sales derived from mobile devices. If this new feature proves beneficial for shoppers, Amazon will need to figure out how to deliver this information beyond desktop searches. We have seen a few iterations of mobile curation, but it’s not widespread at this time.

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