Syfto has a nice blog post on 3 waves of innovation in ecommerce – highlighting the lack of serendipity moments in today’s ecommerce offerings.
Wave 1: Digitization of product information, browsing, and fulfilment
- Amazon – If you saw product X, you may also be interested in product Y where Y may be the most viewed/purchased item along with X.
Wave 2: Propelling discovery by economic compulsion (ok, by surfing the curves of indifference)
- Groupon – discovery by providing an economic compulsion for users
Wave 3: Guided discovery – engineering serendipity
- consumers need/want fewer choices but the right choices
- Amazon – recommendations hint at some serendipity but is strictly dependent on user’s previous purchases,
- Pinterest – Guided discovery only takes place along canned categories or
- Quora – The only axis of serendipitous discovery is following people and their Questions/Answers/Boards/Posts
- Twitter – brings together some nice elements of guided discovery by mapping interests, people, and recent events/topics of interest to your chosen geography at city/national levels of the twitterverse.