Amazon's Choice is a fantastic little program, and it's probably informed of your purchases. Amazon's Choice is a by-product of Alexa
As a whole, Amazon is successful because it makes shopping easy. It's hard to find out about free one-day shipping, low prices, easy returns, and the largest retail selection on earth. But Amazon has a seemingly unfixable problem: there are too many products on its marketplace.
Anyone can sell items on the Amazon marketplace, and these 3rd-party sellers are responsible for half of Amazon's sales according to Jeff Bezos. If you're probably guessed, this system works well for Amazon and its customers. Open markets create competition, which leads to lower prices, better service, and a wide selection of items from.
A wide retail selection is usually a good thing. But what happens when you need to buy something cheap and ubiquitous, like a USB-B cable? Well, you'd better know what you're looking for. Among Amazon's 400+ search results for the term "USB-B" are available for all options and technically incorrect results. This ultra-convoluted selection is manageable (albeit annoying) on a computer or even a phone, which is why Amazon didn't do anything about it until 2015 when Alexa launched.
Whenever Amazon rolls out a big new product, you can expect to have access to the Amazon marketplace. You can buy books through a Kindle, buy apps on Kindle Fire, and rent movies through Fire TV. You can buy just by Alexa, too.
Here's the problem: Alexa has life to make life easier, but shopping for socks and toothpaste with your voice is a nightmare. To fix the problem, Amazon decided that you should only be able to buy specific, popular items through the Alexa interface. These items were dubbed "Amazon's Choice," and the label was extended to the Amazon website to make it easier to shop from your computer.
Amazon Won't Say Who Chooses Amazon's Choice
The purpose of Amazon's Choice is pretty clear, but how do products get the Choice label? According to Alexa, the Choice label is awarded to “highly rated, well-priced products available to ship immediately.” Sure, anyone could be guessed that but what products are marketed as Amazon's Choice? Is it done through an algorithm, or are Amazon employees involved?
Interestingly enough, broad search terms will sometimes give you weird Choice results. If you search “amazonbasics,” the Choice item is a seatbelt cutter. This is the kind of situation where a Choice label is useful, which suggests that it may have been applied by an algorithm. That being said, any attempt to figure out the Amazon's Choice system is just speculation
While this system is super specific, it's also surprisingly simple. You'd think that Amazon's Choice items would cater to user's buying history (people that buy natural mouthwash probably for natural toothpaste), but they're actually the same for every user. Not to mention, a user's location doesn't change which Choice items they see. Yes, you will find different choice items for “soap” on the Italian or UK websites, but your IP address or location data has nothing to do with the Choice items that you see. Amazon Items Tend to be Amazon's Choice
You've probably noticed this now, but Amazon branded items tend to have on Amazon's Choice label. Look up “batteries,” and the Choice is AmazonBasics batteries. For “micro USB,” it's an AmazonBasics USB cable. For "streaming stick," it's a Fire TV stick. Amazon's Choice for the search term "tablet" is, naturally, a Fire tablet.
Is this Amazon's way of getting the upper hand in new markets? Probably not. The AmazonBasics seatbelt cutter is cheaper than any other seatbelt cutter on Amazon, as is the AmazonBasics HDMI cable. Since the Choice label is dedicated to “highly rated, well-priced products available to ship immediately,” it makes sense to drop the Choice labels on AmazonBasics products.
But on the flipside, Amazon's competitors receive the Amazon's Choice label for their products. This situation is impossible to explain, but it is also hard to overlook. You think that iconic and specific products like the iPad Pro would have Choice labels, but if you search for the iPad Pro on Amazon, none of the product listings have on Amazon's Choice label. The same goes for the AirPods, the iPhone X, and the Apple TV. To Amazon's credit, the Apple Watch is Amazon's Choice for the search term “Apple Watch,” and the iPad Air is Amazon's Choice for the very specific yet laughably incorrect search term “iPad Pro 10.5.”
Apple's clearly getting the short end of the stick, but Google has it worse. The company has never had a good relationship with Amazon, and only about 20 official Google products are sold on the Amazon marketplace (some of those products are routinely taken down). If you are wondering how many Google products are listed as Amazon's Choice, the answer is a resounding zero. You would like to have-specific products like the Pixelbook, the Chromecast, or the Google Wi-Fi (Amazon's bestselling mesh Wi-Fi router) would have in Amazon's Choice label, but hey, they don't.
, Who Chooses Amazon's Choice?
Again, it's impossible for us to know how products get the Choice label. It's fair to assume that most of the work is done automatically, notably when some products, like the AmazonBasic seatbelt cutter, are awarded Choice badges for broad or useless search terms. On the other hand, the exclusion of competitor's products from the Amazon's Choice program suggests that Amazon can manually decide which items will receive the label.
Amazon is confirming or denying anything, so anyone can offer is speculation. While it's easy to assume that the company is hiding something, it's probably just protecting the integrity of the Amazon's Choice system. Amazon's sorting algorithms are continually being manipulated by sellers, and the Choice program could be compromised in the same way.
It's also possible that Amazon is tight-lipped in an attempt to avoid controversy. The thing is, regardless of how the Amazon's Choice system works, people are going to be upset with it. If it's manually curated, sellers will accuse Amazon of giving an unfair advantage to specific businesses. If the program is fully automated, customers will complain that the name "Amazon's Choice" is misleading.
Either way, the Amazon's Choice system seems to be working well for everyone (minus Apple and Google).
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