Thursday, October 25, 2007

Catering to the Minority Customer

As a relatively frequently shopper at Amazon Japan, I get plenty of ads from them via e-mail. This doesn't trouble me because I don't regard it as spam when I've surrendered my e-mail information willingly to a vendor. In the past, all of the messages have been in Japanese and tended to focus on just a few products such as a new book or CD release. I can honestly say that I paid as much attention to the Japanese ones as I do the English ones. That is to say that I give them a quick once over and see if there's anything of interest without reading any details besides the price.

Click this small version to see a version large enough to read.

Today, I received a message which struck me as strangely different than the usual announcements from Amazon Japan. I couldn't put my finger on it at first but then I realized that it was different because it was entirely in English. There's an odd feeling associated with seeing an interface (the tabbed bar across the top) you've only seen in a foreign language suddenly perfectly rendered in your own language.

This is an interesting move on the part of Amazon Japan and I can't say it's unwelcome. Though we don't have too much trouble navigating their Japanese site, this does make the chances that we'll browse certain products casually more likely as opposed to hunting down only specific products of interest. It's also a bit curious because they are making an effort to accommodate customers who are in the minority in a fashion that you don't often see in Japan.

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