Does Predictive Data Ruin the Fun of Online Shopping? Maybe, Maybe Not.
Online retailers like Amazon (or Goldstar for that matter) use predictive math to try to guess what you might like to buy next. This is nice enough, especially when it works, but there’s also a sense that good old-fashioned serendipity could be lost in more and more of our shopping experiences and, therefore, in our lives. That’s the point of this article.
Some people believe that this isn’t true, saying that every technology that’s come along was charged with driving us further and further apart or making us less human in the process. While I’m not ready to concede that that didn’t in fact happen, it’s a good point. Every technology impacts us and changes the way we think a little bit.
On the other hand, I think most people probably understand the limits of this math. Stop me if you’ve never seen a recommendation from Amazon or elsewhere for a book written by the author of a different book you recently bought. It doesn’t take a genius or hardcore math to figure out that if I bought four Stephen King books, I might like another one.
Still, the thing that makes this interesting to me is that there is a strong desire to mix the novel and the familiar, as we’ve discussed before. We want to see things that are like the things we’ve already enjoyed so that we don’t miss them, but we’d also like to get introduced to a bunch of new and interesting things, too.
That’s a formula that works for marketers of anything, including live entertainment.