Amazon – mind readers? We dig into the Ask A Friend beta…

August 22, 2012

ChannelAdvisor ChannelAdvisor By ChannelAdvisor


I was doing a little (ahem) last minute back to school shopping today and one item on the list was a calculator.  I was presented with six flavors of the calculator and wanted to ask which one is the right one.

I was about to cut/copy/past the 8000 character URL into an email when I noticed a little thought bubble blink at the bottom of the screen.

Amazon Ask a Friend

When I hovered over it, it said: “Want quick feedback? Text/email this product to a friend.”

Why, yes Amazon, that’s exactly what I was just needing.

I clicked on the bubble and sure enough there’s a handy box that pops up that lets you have a real time SMS/email convo with someone right from the item page.  We use enterprise gmail at ChannelAdvisor and it was able to slurp in my contacts right from there which was very handy.

Here’s what that looks like:


I chose the SMS option and here’s what it looks like on the phone:


When you click on the link in the SMS, you go into a live chat mode.  Oddly, my first instinct was to just reply to the SMS, but that went into the ether (feedback for my amazon friends-> you should make that clearer and/or msg me that I did something wrong vs. zero feedback).

The end result is that you are on an Amazon item page having a little chat about the item with someone.  This is what a full convo looks like:


What’s cool is you have essentially a complete chat client here that I’m sure could be repurposed for a ton of different uses:

  • Social media integration – why not tweet this or FB timeline this out to your friends?
  • Kindle fire – this could be a chat app on the kindle family of devices



Every year, Amazon makes hundreds of improvements like this that on their own don’t seem like much, but they really add up to a very polished and ‘gold plated’ online shopping experienced that continues to dig a moat between Amazon and the rest of the e-commerce World.  This stuff isn’t all robot cars and moon rockets – I had an actual need for this functionality and like mind readers, they had an intuitive helpful solution right there that caused me to convert from a shopper to a buyer.


SeekingAlpha Disclosure – I am long Google and Amazon. eBay is an investor in ChannelAdvisor where I am CEO.