Former Agenda LLC co-owner Seth Haber is tasked with turning around the bankrupt web retailer.
Friends and trends make these sites excel.
Books, movies and music are, in most cases, all different versions of the same thing: entertainment. And selling entertainment requires a different finesse than most other products.
While a shopper might want to know that a sweater is wool rather than acrylic, most consumers couldn't care less about the paper stock used in a book. Books, movies and music shoppers instead want to know as much as possible about the content: Will it make them laugh? Cry? Is there a surprise twist? And, as entertainment is highly social, they also want to know what others think of it.
In a way, this approach makes entertainment products an easier sell online because consumers are not as concerned about touching and feeling a product. But it also means these retailers better serve up a lot of content—and in a compelling way.
That's what makes the books, movies and music retailers in this year's Hot 100 excel. BN.com, for example, allows a visitor to preview parts of the book she is considering online if she logs into the site—something an apparel retailer couldn't do with a pair of jeans.
Music retailer Spotify, meanwhile, brings the social aspect of entertainment into its strategy. People like to listen to tunes with friends, so a Facebook integration enables listeners to share on the social network tracks they listened to, and collaborate with friends to create playlists together. BookDepository.com, on the other hand, offers a voyeuristic (and slightly addictive) map feature that shows a streaming view of what books are being purchased in each country across the globe at any given moment.
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