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Amazon’s iPhone app picture recognition analysis

Dec 4, 2009   //   by Jens Buch   //   mobile  //  3 Comments

I just had the pleasure of trying out Amazon’s new feature in their iPhone app. There is one feature of the app which really impressed me. Not because it is there, but because it works (and it works fast). It’s really simple – you launch the app, you take a picture of a product and amazon will send you back the link to that specific item in their store. Here is how I tested it and what happened:

amazon iphone app remembers example

  1. Take a picture of the product in question
  2. Submit the picture to amazon
  3. Get the reply with product recommendation
  4. Check out the product and buy it if you like

For those who forgot they asked amazon to find a product for them, and for those who prefer to buy producs on the computer rather than on their phone, amazon also sends you an email (to the account registered with your amazon account) with a link to the product:

amazon iphone app email product recommendation

What amazes me is the speed at which amazon’s picture recognition works. It took literally one minute from taking the picture to having the product recommendation. But the tuly amazing thing about this service, is that it actually works and recommends the real product. Remington has several trimmers that look the same. Yet, amazon still managed to pick out the right product for me. I am amazed.

There had to be a downside…and there is. Even though my amazon account is registered to my address in Luxembourg, Europe, I am still taken to the US amazon store. I really don’t see what the big deal is for amazon to guide me to my ‘home store’. By recommending me products from the US store, amazon will not make any sale to me (and other non-US residents) via their iPhone app.

The app is free from the itunes store – click here to get it.

SEO Example from Real Life: How being on top of search engines can make you leader in your offline business

Dec 2, 2009   //   by Jens Buch   //   Real-Life Examples  //  1 Comment

As Luxair was playing crazy again with their prices, I decided to catch the train from Luxembourg to Frankfurt at 42€ rather than catching the Luxair flight at 330€. I will not get too much into that now… I will write a separate post on Luxair and their retarded pricing policies another time. Right now I want to share my hotel experience in the Frankfurt Airport area.

As all I need is a clean place to sleep before I catch my morning flight to San Francisco, I google’d ‘preiswert frankfurt airport hotel’. I google in German, as an English search will just give me the large portals and hotel chains that are either over priced or leaves me browsing hotel portals for ages. I find ‘Motel-One’ as the first organic result.

SERP-frankfurt-airport-hotel

When clicking through, I get a nice clean website that tells me what I want to know and doesn’t over-inform me with all kinds of irrelevant crap. So perfect, this is what I need – I go ahead and reserve my room without entering information that is none of their business anyway (such as what flight I will be taking from the airport etc).

motel-one-website

At the airport, a shuttle bus picks me up (free of charge) to take me to the hotel. It is a 10 minute drive that takes me to an ‘office village’ close to frankfurt airport. I can’t help but see lots (and I mean lots) of ‘to let’ banners on the office buildings in the area. Definitely not much activity going on here…The shuttle bus drops me off just outside the ‘Motel One’. Across the street is a similar hotel called ‘B&B Hotel’. Same size, same concept, same ‘49€ per night’ advertising outside. The only difference: all the lights are off on the floors of the B&B Hotel. In short – the hotel is empty. Motel One on the other hand has lights in the rooms on all 6 floors and there are people in the lobby. I enter with the feeling that I made a good choice…

Being the internet geek that I am, it is very important for me to have internet access. The friendly staff at reception informs me that there is free internet in the lobby, and at 12€ for 24 hours (or 4€ per individual hour) I can have wireless access in my room. I of course take the flat rate option. 12€ is a lot of money to access the internet for 24 hours, but compared to other European hotels, this is a fair price. When I go outside to smoke, I notice that there are many people in the lobby on their laptops benefiting from the free internet access there. Each of them are having a drink and some even a sandwich as well.

So now to the conclusion. In my eyes this experience is a very strong illustration of the power of good online marketing. We have a hotel in an area that expected lots of business from nearby office buildings. As the offices are all unoccupied, the hotels will not get any business from there. The B&B Hotel is suffering from this, while Motel One has invested in Search Engine Optimization that brings them business because they are on the first page of google results for good generic search phrases. It doesn’t stop here! Because Motel-One’s customers find the hotel via the internet, chances are quite high that these are people who spend their time online. The hotel understands this, and give people two options. Either have internet in your room and pay for it, or come to the lobby and use it for free. The hotel then banks on people buying drinks and/or food when they are using the internet in the lobby. So not only does Motel One have more customers than its competitor – they are also generating additional income by providing internet access and/or food & drinks. Great work Motel One – back to the drawing board B&B Hotel.
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