Last week, online retail colossus Amazon announced a new feature in its book sales called Amazon Charts. In case you missed it, this chart has been billed as a ‘new’ bestseller list, giving users a top 20 list of the ‘most read’ books on Amazon. The data combines both how much these titles are read on Kindle and listened to via Audible.

Amazon Kindle: Data included in social proof chart

Moreover Amazon will now also publish a ‘most sold’ top 20 list, including books sold, pre-ordered and borrowed each week on Amazon.com, Audible and Amazon Books. As time passes we’ll also see other selective stats and data about their sales.

Avid Amazon shoppers will ask what’s changed? Amazon has long-published lists, but this announcement shows a richer reliance on the data that it’s continually collecting as sales are made, and replaying that to add value to the online sales experience. What’s key is that the data wholly-belongs to Amazon by way of the opinions and behaviors of its millions of customers. From a branding point of view, Amazon is reinforcing its position as the leading online book retailer each time these stats are used – and undoubtedly replayed in the media and other sources.

Amazon sells millions of books each day, so as a game of numbers alone, it’s already viewed as a credible source. But what excites us about this announcement is that these charts are using social data first and foremost. Amazon is promoting information about what others are reading as way to encourage more sales. This works by using the wisdom of crowds to influence the behavior of new or returning customers.

Add to this that most of us have shopped on Amazon in the last few months, and probably know other people that have also used the site, so by mining and replaying the preferences of previous customers back to new visitors, we’re being giving recommendations by ‘people like us,’ making us feel more comfortable about the buying decisions we might then make. Amazon is adding value on-site, and therefore also reducing the likelihood that book buyers will go elsewhere.

According to the TechCrunch report, the data points presented will be selective.  This makes sense. We expect that Amazon will use the latest data to support seasonal or other marketing campaigns, but it will also be interesting to see what site’s algorithms show us according to the behavior of real-time customers.

It’s great to see more retailers show a deeper reliance on socially-sourced factual data.  At Taggstar, we work with the principle that the opinion of the crowd is always stronger than an individual, and are rolling out new ways of applying real-time social proof data to some of the web’s largest brands.

We already have a ‘top sellers’ feature available to Taggstar customers, which collects and presents data in the form of real-time messages sourced from the crowd, without the bias of the retailer.  We know from our testing that this is statistically-proven to improve sales.

You can read a recent example how we’re helping retailers and their customers to make better buying decisions using crowd-sourced trends here, as Finn Christo, online optimisation lead at N Brown explains.

We’ll be keeping a close eye on how Amazon develops its social charts.

Want to try Taggstar’s social proof messages yourself?  Drop us a line here.

Marjorie Leonidas

Author Marjorie Leonidas

Marjorie is Taggstar's CEO. With a background in technology, digital marketing and in growing companies, Marjorie's been with Taggstar since 2014, developing our social proof leadership.

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