Exclusive: Amazon Starts Bringing the Art of Recommendations to Daily Deals

E-commerce site Amazon is taking the first step in bringing the recommendation technology that it is known for to the daily-deals space.

To be sure, no one has yet solved targeting in the space — men are still being offered Brazilian bikini waxes and women get pitched discounts to the barbershop.

But today, AmazonLocal is helping customers build a profile that lets them say what they like, dislike or are neutral about, based on a number of categories, ranging from entertainment and travel to health, beauty and shopping.

“We are reasonably new to to the deals space, but we aren’t new to the personalization experience,” said Mike George, Amazon’s VP of local. “This is a logical extension of a competency.”

For now, Amazon’s first steps are fairly tame.

Users will be able to log in to their profile to specify what they like and don’t like. They will also be able to update their preferences from a specific deal page. The capabilities are nearly identical to ones being offered by both Groupon and Google.

For instance, George said he is not interested in eyelash extensions, or for that matter, any hair-care services, since he shaves his head. “Our engine and algorithms will ensure they don’t end up in my inbox,” he said.

However, the holy grail of recommendations is clearly when consumers get relevant offers without spending any time at all on updating their profiles. To do that, the deals provider would have to know the consumer’s interests and spending habits. Clearly, Amazon is one of those merchants that has that data.

George said that level of integration is not happening today, and declined to provide a road map for when that might be coming.

But you could imagine sometime in the future getting an offer to see Justin Bieber in concert if you’ve purchased his album on Amazon.com, and other parallels between purchases made online and local experiences.

“It’s an interesting thing to think about — the intersection of consumer products and services that are fulfilled by local merchants,” George said. “There are some things that are logical that I believe we will discover that we would never have really thought about. This part is very new to us.”

Latest Video

View all videos »

Search »

I’m a giant vat of creative juices.

— David Pogue on why he’s joining Yahoo