December 15, 2010, 1:42 PM

Alibris shakes up product recommendations

Its new iPhone app enables shoppers to shake a device to receive recommended books.

Lead Photo

Shaking an iPhone or iPod Touch turns search results into book recommendations.

Alibris, a division of Monsoon Commerce Solutions and a marketplace for sellers of new and used books, textbooks, music and movies, has launched Alibris Recommends for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The app enables consumers to search for books by title or author and then shake either of the devices to instantly receive recommendations based on the search.

For example, a customer searches “Dead in the Family,” one of Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse novels. He touches search and that novel appears atop search results. With the search results page on screen, he then shakes his iPhone and a new screen appears with a list of product recommendations, which include other Charlaine Harris books and books Alibris believes are similar and that the reader will enjoy.

Mobile commerce experts say apps that provide unique and entertaining experiences are more likely to be kept and used, and that retailers developing apps should make full use of the innate features of a smartphone, in this case the iPhone accelerometer that senses shaking.

“Alibris Recommends is a fun way for consumers to discover new authors and titles. Our app also showcases the depth and breadth of Alibris,” says Liz Derr, chief operating officer at Monsoon Commerce Solutions. “It’s a great way to get gift suggestions and provides a handy link to the new Alibris mobile site, making purchasing a breeze.”

Alibris Recommends uses the Alibris search and recommendation application program interfaces, or APIs, to connect the app to the retailer’s database of books. The APIs were built using the API management technology from provider Mashery.

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