My wish list for Amazon wish lists

My wish list for Amazon wish lists

With another end of year gift giving season coming to a close, I’ve been thinking about what Amazon could do with a really useful “friends and family” gifting service.

They recently introduced

Amazon Friends & Family

and they may add features to it over the year. As they do, these are some of the things I’d like to see.

All of this would be opt-in, by the way. None of it would happen automatically, and you could choose to participate in each one or not.

Here are the basics:

Each possible recipient would have a page. That page would only be available to people they chose to have see it, possibly by providing a simple code you could enter into Amazon (finding wish lists right now could be easier). If somebody wanted it to be public, great. Otherwise, only those in the “circle” saw it.

Let people list the “players” they use

This was a weird and different question this year when buying gifts: “How does so and so read books?” This went from children to people in their eighties. We love giving books as gifts, but you need to know the preferred method. Do they read paperbooks? Do they read on a Kindle? If so, which one?

That’s also important for other things, like videogames and apps. Music, interestingly, is much less of an issue; you give someone an MP3 album and they are good, generally.

This also changes from year to year for some folks.

One thing that would make this easier is to give people who buy a “player” (a Kindle, a PS Vita) an option to have it show on their…I’ll say “gift profile”. People could also add a comment (that is already a function of wish lists), in case they use one player in one situation, and another in others.

There also can be “aware” shopping connected to this (and other items in this post). If you went to a product page for a videogame, it could give you links for people on your list. “Buying for Bob? Click here.” That would then get the appropriate version, based on their player(s).

Let people list sizes

That would be similar to the above. If you were on a page for a jacket, it could show you the right sizes for the people on your list.

Let people list preferences

We don’t use leather, so it would be great if we could just put that on the gift profile…and if it would warn people when they bought things: “Buying this for Bufo? Bufo has said that this product isn’t one that they would use.” Certainly, this could also go for food allergies and dietary preferences, among other things.

Let us see what other buyers in the “gift group” have bought for people

This would be a huge function. As a giftee, you wouldn’t see your list change, but other buyers could see that someone already bought that Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ 4G LTE Wireless 32GB that was on so and so’s list. Now, you can buy a cover, or a gift card for content. I think that would be the killer app here, ,the one that got people to use it.

Want to go in with me?

On a gift list item, a buyer could indicate a willingness to split the cost with other people, who could then jump in. You could indicate the amount you wanted to spend, or just have it do an even split. When enough people get in there, the gift gets ordered.

I already own…

Simple. You can publicize the ones you already have to the “gift group”. That’s especially true with book series, but would also go for things like special cards for some games, videos, and more. This could also include “I just finished…”, which might inform us for other choices, and show us what is big in the person’s life right now.

Social media feeds

I think this would also be transformative. On my Amazon Author Central Page, you see my Twitter feed. That would be cool! Twitter, Facebook: show us on the gift profile what is going on (again, only opt in). That would keep you going to the gift profile even when it wasn’t an expected time for a gift, like a birthday. You might buy a gift just because it’s fun for that person right then.

Ideally, this would also be interactive, and include a forum for the person (which they could see), right there. Unique content and social content combined…that’s the glue for a website like this.

Show us their recommendations 

Okay, the recommendation function could be a whole lot better, but this would be helpful. The big problem would be that it might compete with what the person is buying for themselves. Hm…I wonder if it could block you buying something someone else just bought for you? Probably not, due to Prime meaning you would know in a couple of days that you didn’t actually get it. Fortunately, returns at Amazon are easy, so you might end up with two, but you could return one.

Remind us

This functionality exists in the new page, but it is nice. Let us know when somebody’s birthday is, and alert us to it.

Include services

This is a big opportunity for Amazon, but would involve a lot more than a wish list change. Let us get somebody a restaurant coupon, or a travel gift certificate. Costco does this, and I would guess it is effective. Amazon is now doing it with AmazonLocal, although those deals aren’t on their website in the store.

Give us alerts when a price goes down

This would be huge! If something on a gift list goes on a special (maybe a Gold Box deal at Amazon, or just drops in price), send us an alert. People would jump on the opportunity, and probably buy something they wouldn’t have bought otherwise.

Well, that’s a few of my ideas. I think this spectrum of ideas would be big moneymakers for Amazon, and would make its customers happier and more loyal.

What do you think? Are there other things you’d like to see? Does this seem too crass to you? Does your family have a wish list tradition? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

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3 Responses to “My wish list for Amazon wish lists”

  1. rogerknights Says:

    I don’t know how much Amazon pays its Designated Backseat Drivers, but nothing under seven figures would be too much for you.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Roger!

      I appreciate the kind words. :)

      I don’t get paid anything by Amazon as a blogger (except for royalties on subscriptions made through the Kindle store). I think that’s appropriate in the relationship. I have also not been given devices by them in that capacity. I was invited to the last Kindle product announcement, but that would have been on my dime to go.

      As a Kindle Forum Pro, I’m also not paid anything. We have been given some gifts (including devices), but we do not have a professional relationship with Amazon.

      As an author (well, actually as a publisher), I get a royalty on books published through Kindle Direct Publishing, and for “borrows” through the Kindle Direct PUblishing Select program, when they are borrowed through the Kindle Owners’ Lending library (KOLL).

      I have one more relationship with Amazon that generates some income, and it does have an indirect connection to what I write here, but it isn’t directly tied to the content.

      I do this, in large part, because I enjoy it. I think it helps people (and I enjoy that, too). Yes, it does make me some money, which helps me justify to myself the time and energy I spend on it. However, my “rewards” come mostly from readers like you. :)

  2. Kim Says:

    I would like to see a “fill a box” program. I have two girls in college out of state. I already order most of their books from Amazon and ship directly to them. I would love to be able to send other things such as coffee, toothpaste, soap, cleaning supplies etc. If Amazon had an option to fill a box with supplies and set a price minimum (maybe $25) so that it would be cost effective for them to ship, I would definitely use it. The wish list could function as a page for my daughters to select the things they need and I could approve and ship the box. It would be like sending a care package that I don’t have to shop for, package, or mail.

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