In the fourteen years that Amazon.com has been in existence, we have seen them add thousands upon thousands of new products to their ever expanding online store. Initially starting life as an online book store, Amazon has grown to include products such as the then popular VHS, moving to the digital market with DVD’s, CD’s and more recently MP3’s.
With such a huge product base, simply browsing Amazon has almost become a tedious job. There are the lists of “What’s Hot”, but the interface is more functional than enticing.
Therefore, allow me to introduce Amazon Windowshop.
Simply put, Amazon Windowshop is a virtual portal designed to display “What’s Hot” on Amazon.com interactively. Here, text links and preview buttons are nowhere to be found. Instead you are presented with unique “tabs” that display new and popular music, films, book and games.
This service is very simple to use and can be navigated using just the keyboard. Instead of using your mouse to click links, you are encouraged to select from categories such as “New Music This Tuesday” which, as you may have guessed, displays all the popular music releases, “Bestselling Video Games”, charting that particular month’s sales and pre-orders and even suggests bands/acts you should listen to in their “Music Artists We Think You Should Hear” section.
If, like in the screenshot above, you select the “Bestselling Video Games” section, you will be presented with the top ten best-sellers in that category. Each game will feature its official trailer and plays automatically so be careful if you are checking this out in an environment that wouldn’t lend well to Banjo Kazooie’s catchphrases!
Inside the music sections, you will be treated to a thirty second snippet off a track from that album with the options to buy said album on either CD or digitally from their MP3 store. The book section surprises, it includes a voice-over reading the synopsis of the book but Amazon haven’t yet incorporated their “Search Inside” feature.
Amazon has made use of Adobe’s Flash Player and have also tapped into their S3 service so they can deliver high quality images, video and audio clips quickly to the user. The service is updated real-time and provides complete integration with Amazon’s commerce store meaning if you like what you see/hear/feel/think, you can travel to the product site and purchase to your hearts content. There is no word on whether they will introduce the “Search Inside” service but incorporating it into their Flash interface shouldn’t be too much hassle for their developers.
Currently, Windowshop is only available for US audiences and there are no indications as to whether it will be ported to their worldwide user base. I think the real question is whether Windowshop can be incorporated into Amazon’s main portal, allowing users to choose their own way to browse the store.
What do you think of Windowshop? Do you see yourself using it? Is this the future of Amazon? Or is it just a sales gimmick?