The evolution of ecommerce, search, and digital delivery are opening up new opportunities for creators of media products, especially digital media products. We wondered if you could combine a subject-specific catalog of media products with content articles to create a destination that appeals to people passionate about a given subject.
Our first effort is in golf where we already have a number of contacts. Golf was also ideal because of the breadth of available media products—not just books and DVDs, but MP3 recordings, video games and music.
The underlying ecommerce and search technology is courtesy of Amazon’s aStore feature. aStore is essentially the Amazon affiliate program with the ability to offer entire swaths of products based on search criteria. They also do a nice job helping you match the aStore design to your website design. Here is our GolfMediaLibrary.com home page and here is the main store page.
But how do you differentiate your online store from Amazon’s own store?
Content is the obvious answer but it is a lot of work to create original content like reviews and interviews. Instead we settled on part curated content and part original content (specifically interviews).
Content curation in our case is the act of finding and presenting existing information that we believe others are interested in. An interesting MP3 recording from 1963, a highly rated book published 25 years ago or a new video game. We don’t review products in the traditional sense, we simply uncover hidden gems and point out products we think our audience might find interesting. So far we’ve been able to find a steady supply of ideas for product posts: 93 posts since June of 2010.
So how is it working? It is fascinating to watch the traffic grow and see what people buy. Our highest visited product so far was a Ryder Cup calendar. Most unusual product sold? Batteries. (Your affiliate link stays with the visitor through checkout.)
The one product category we probably won’t have much luck with is mobile phone apps. So far apps are offered in stores managed by the developer of the mobile device’s operating system (Apple, Google, Blackberry). That makes it difficult to integrate featured apps into a store like ours. We expect that to change but it will take time.
In the meantime we have more than 8,000 products in our catalog and it grows weekly. There are also other subject categories to consider as well. The aStore/curated content approach works for big and small sites alike.