Using Amazon’s 4-Star Approach to Shape Your Education Offerings

Author: David McMillin       

The e-commerce giant opened a new brick-and-mortar store with a product selection based on digital feedback. The model might be a way for organizations to think about curating their face-to-face programming.

When you think of Amazon, you most likely think of ordering one of the company’s endless variety of products online and having it shipped to your door. However, the most-recognized name in e-commerce in the U.S. has been stepping out from behind the screen to open pick-up locations and cashier-free grocery stores in several locations across the country. At the end of September, Amazon opened its newest brick-and-mortar outpost in New York City’s Soho neighborhood: Amazon 4-Star.

Amazon’s in-person experience will resonate with its frequent online customers who look at others’ reviews before deciding whether to buy. That’s because the store’s inventory selection is curated based on digital feedback — and all the products on its shelves have earned at least a four-star rating online. In a blog post announcing the store’s opening, the company said that the “selection is a direct reflection of our customers — what they’re buying and what they’re loving.”

Using Digital Feedback to Fuel Better Face-to-Face Experiences

Amazon’s focus on innovation inspires all kinds of businesses. The events industry can take a page from the online giant’s latest move in the retail space in terms of how education team members select breakout sessions and speakers in a face-to-face environment. Think about all of empty seats at convention and conference sessions. Some session topics may have seemed like a strong addition to the program to the few people in charge of curating a program, but the small crowd they end up attracting is a clear indication that the sessions lacked broad appeal.

Rather than assuming that certain topics belong on a program for a face-to-face conference, perhaps organizations can apply the Amazon model by making an effort to provide digital learning opportunities throughout the year across a swath of topics. By measuring engagement during those webinars and online communities and analyzing participant feedback, they can determine which topics and trends deserve a spot on the in-person program. Which subjects do people truly care about? Which speakers resonate the most with the audience? If attendees see more sessions that are worthy of a four-star ranking, it seems more likely that they will be willing to register.

Interested in more insights about Amazon that might apply to your organization or your event? Read how Alexa, the company’s voice-recognition software can improve your conversations at your conference. Amazon also has a creative approach to hosting events in massive boxes.

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