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Who chooses it and how does it work?



  A cartoon hand holds a magnifying glass over the Amazon's Choice logo.
DRogatnev / Shutterstock

Amazon's Choice is a fantastic little program that will probably tell you a handful of your purchases. But have you ever asked who chooses Amazon's Choice or how the program works behind the scenes?

Amazon's Choice is a by-product of Alexa

Overall, Amazon is successful because it's easy to go shopping. It's hard to complain that shipping is free within a day, cheap prices, easy returns and the largest selection of retail outlets in the world. However, Amazon has a seemingly unsolvable problem: there are too many products on the market.

While most retailers sell their products directly to customers, Amazon relies on an open market system with a lot of third-party vendors. Anyone can sell items on the Amazon Marketplace. These third-party vendors are responsible for half of Amazon's revenue, according to Jeff Bezos. As you probably suspected, this system works well for Amazon and its customers. Open markets create a competition that leads to lower prices, better service and a large selection of products.

A broad retail selection is usually a good thing. But what happens if you need to buy something cheap and ubiquitous, like a USB-B cable? Well, you should know better what you are looking for. Among the more than 400 search results from Amazon for the term "USB-B" cable, there are a host of strange options and technically incorrect results. This ultra-intricate selection is manageable (though annoying) on ​​a computer or even a phone, so Amazon did nothing until 201

5 when Alexa hit the market.

Whenever Amazon launches a major new product, it can be expected to have access to the Amazon marketplace. You can buy books through a Kindle, buy apps on a Kindle Fire, and rent movies on Fire TV. You can also shop only with Alexa.

Here's the problem: Alexa is supposed to make life easier, but buying socks and toothpaste with your voice is a nightmare. To fix the problem, Amazon decided that you can only buy certain popular articles through the Alexa interface. These items were called "Amazon's Choice" and the label has been extended to the Amazon website to make shopping easier from your computer.

Amazon does not say who chooses Amazon's Choice

The purpose of Amazon's Choice is pretty big Sure, but how do products get the Choice label? According to Alexa, the Choice label will be awarded "high-priced, low-priced products that can be shipped instantly." Anyone might suspect that, but who chooses the products labeled as Amazon's Choice? Is this done through an algorithm or are Amazon employees involved? Can a business pay to see its product listed as Amazon's Choice?

  A girl chooses between a stack of donuts and an apple.
Kylie Walls / Shutterstock

Long story, no one knows who chooses Amazon's Choice. Not even the Amazon sellers who were awarded the Choice badge. We asked an Amazon representative for more information, and she reiterates Alexa's claim that Amazon® Choice 2015 was introduced to make shopping easier for customers by highlighting high-quality, low-cost products that are in stock are. "Good to know. She also made it clear that "companies can not afford to have their product listed as Amazon's Choice," but they did not tell us whether Choice is completely algorithmic or whether people are involved.

Well, if you've gone half a decade, Amazon's Choice products are being tested by real people, this conversation can be a bit frustrating. The name "Amazon's Choice" suggests that real people are choosing products for you, and it's possible that Amazon may not know the exact operation of the program because it's completely robotic. However, Amazon probably only protects the integrity of the Choice system. Amazon's algorithms are routinely manipulated by sellers, and the Choice program could be compromised if its interior becomes public.

Until Amazon publishes more details on Amazon's Choice, it's impossible to know how products are labeled with the Choice label. However, you can learn a lot about the program by simply browsing the Amazon market.

Amazon's Choice Depends on Your Search Terms

Have you ever noticed that the label & # 39; Choice & # 39; Amazon only shows for one product? Tagging multiple articles as a choice would ultimately ruin the program's purpose and make it difficult for Alexa to shop. But how does Amazon decide which product will be displayed as an Amazon product? Well, that depends on your search terms.

Each Amazon Choice product is linked to a specific search term, and you can verify that search term by hovering over the Amazon product label. As it turns out, the product's choice label only appears when you search for a specific search term. For example, Amazon's Choice for "Dish Shop" is a Meyer-day soap with lemon fragrance. However, if you are looking for "Meyer's Detergent Soap", the lemon fragrance soap loses its Choice label. Similarly, the current Amazon Choice element for the search term "guitar" is a YMC acoustic guitar, the choice for the search term "acoustic guitar" is a Jameson acoustic guitar.

  A screenshot of the AmazonBasics seat belt cutter. I'm listed as a choice element for the search term
Amazon

Interestingly, broad search terms sometimes lead to strange choice results. If you are looking for amazonbasics, the choice article is a seat belt cutter. This is not the situation in which a choice label is useful, suggesting that it may have been applied by an algorithm. Any attempt to find Amazon's Choice system is just speculation.

This system is very specific but surprisingly simple. They believe that Amazon Choice articles would take into account a user's buying history (people who buy natural mouthwash, of course, want natural toothpaste), but they are the same for every user. In addition, a user's location does not change which choice elements he sees. Yes, on the Italian or UK Amazon websites, there are various "Soap" choice items displayed. However, your IP address or location information has nothing to do with the choice items you're viewing. Everything is in the search terms.

Amazon Articles Belong to Amazon's Choice

  A screenshot of the Amazon Kindle page. The Kindle Is Amazon's Choice for the Search Term
Amazon

Nobody knows how Choice articles get their label, but you can usually predict which article should get the choice label before you search. Just ask, "Does Amazon sell one of these?"

You've probably noticed this by now, but Amazon products have an Amazon Choice label. Look for "Batteries" and choose AmazonBasics batteries. "Micro USB" is an AmazonBasics USB cable. "Streaming Stick" is a Fire TV stick. The choice of Amazon for the search term "Tablet" is of course a Fire tablet.

Is Amazon the opportunity to gain the upper hand in new markets? Probably not. The AmazonBasics seat belt cutter is cheaper than any other seat belt cutter on Amazon, as well as the AmazonBasics HDMI cable. Since the choice label is dedicated to "high-end, low-priced products for immediate delivery," it makes sense to beat the choice label on AmazonBasics products.

But on the other hand, Amazon's competitors rarely get Amazon's Choice label their products. This situation can not be explained, but it is also difficult to overlook. You would think that iconic and specific products like the iPad Pro would have Choice labels, but if you're looking for the iPad Pro at Amazon, none of the product lists have an Amazon Choice label. The same applies to the AirPods, the iPhone X and the Apple TV. Following Amazon's credit, the Apple Watch is Amazon's choice for the term "Apple Watch," and the iPad Air is Amazon's choice for the strangely specific but ridiculously false search term "iPad Pro 10.5."

Apple clearly has the short end of the stick, but Google has got it worse. The company has never had a good relationship with Amazon. Only about 20 official Google products are sold on the Amazon marketplace (some of these products are being mined on a regular basis). If you're wondering how many Google products are listed as Amazon's Choice, the answer is a resounding zero. You might think that ultra-specific products like the Pixelbook, the Chromecast, or the Google Wi-Fi (Amazon's best-selling WiFi router) have Amazon's Choice label, but it does not.

So who chooses Amazon's choice?

Again, it is impossible to know how products get the choice label. It is safe to assume that most (if not all) work is done automatically, especially when some products, such as the Amazon seat belt cutter, are given choice badges for broad or useless search terms. On the other hand, the exclusion of competitor products from the Amazon Choice program suggests that Amazon can manually decide which items receive the label.

Amazon confirms or denies nothing, so everyone can offer speculation. While it's easy to assume that the company is hiding something, it probably only protects the integrity of the Amazon Choice system. Amazon's sorting algorithms are constantly being manipulated by sellers, and the Choice program could be compromised the same way.

It's also possible that Amazon is tempted to avoid controversy. Regardless of how the Amazon Choice system works, people will get upset about it. When curated manually, sellers accuse Amazon of giving an unfair advantage to certain companies. When the program is fully automated, customers will complain that the name "Amazon's Choice" is misleading.

In both cases, the Amazon Choice system seems to work well for all (apart from Apple and Google). Customers can find cheap, reliable products, and sellers have a greater incentive to cut costs and increase customer satisfaction.

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