Recently, I was in the market for a new e-reader. I was first introduced to e-readers by Sony (they gave it as a gift at a Sony show years back), and have enjoyed the convenience ever since. However, since the online Sony store where I purchased books was closing, I decided it was time to move on. I wasn’t looking for a lot bells and whistles from my new reader; I just want to read. I had tried to read off my iPad, but it was too heavy and bright (even with the contrast turned down). Better battery life and reduced eye strain are reasons I’ve always been fond of the e-ink. Algorithm Me!
Enter Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite e-reader. I did some mild research on the unit, looked at a few reviews, and then one day I went online with diminutive intention to make a purchase. The unit sold for $119 with “special offers” and $130 without (update: the unit now sells for $99/$119, doh!)
Special offers are a clever twist on providing advertisements. By digging a little deeper I found that these special offers are “sponsored screensavers directly on your Kindle,” they include daily deals on titles, clothing, and other things. “This content displays on your screensaver and the bottom of the home screen—it doesn’t interrupt reading.”
How brilliant. Offer me a discount if I keep letting you offer me discounts. I’m betting they’re “watching” what I read in order to offer me more titles that I might enjoy. Bring on the algorithm! I’m always looking for more great reads.
What if we, as custom integrators, could provide a similar service? We may not have systems as refined as Amazon’s, but we know our clients best. Early adopters will want to see your new 4K TVs, the client that loves a deal will want to know when model numbers are changing, and most people will want to hear any way you can make technology easier. Provide this information in your social networking and newsletters. These are ways we can tap the right client for the right product. Purchase for FREE
As I continued to step through the process I was offered a quick video, which I watched, demonstrating all the great features (back light with battery that lasts up to eight weeks, built-in WiFi, no glare, very lightweight). It was at this point I noticed that Amazon was giving me the option to use my credit card points.
Now, I have never connected my points to Amazon, yet I have used that credit card (pretty rarely) on Amazon previously. The system showed me how many points the Paperwhite would cost, making the “click to purchase” that much easier. I felt as if I had just purchased something for free.
We AV integrators may not be able to use client’s points for purchases, but we can store payment information to make the sales process a simpler one. On the job site, we offer Square for credit card payment. This smart phone plug-in is a “fun” process for the client and a very “techy” one. It also ensures quick payment for us and a signing process for the client (verses calling a credit card in). Making Additional Purchases Simple
I have received my Kindle Paperwhite, and I love it. If I’m not sure about a new book, I can sample it with just the touch of a “button.” Once I’m ready to make a purchase, the reader will update automatically. Only have your tablet or smart phone on you with the gift of additional time? Download the app and you can pick up where you left off last time. The units are synced across multiple platforms.
By storing client’s information, we would no longer need to write up each detail every time they want to make a purchase. We email invoices and estimates for added simplicity. We have caller ID that allows us to start pulling their information before they even give us their name.
Amazon has made it so easy that you cannot help but say yes. We need to steal these concepts for our own businesses so we can continue to ensure success both now and in the future. Make shopping with you a pleasant and simple experience.
Heather L. Sidorowicz is the president of Southtown Audio Video in Hamburg, NY.