Forget Targeted Online Ads, Amazon Reportedly Plans To Surprise Customers With Mailed Samples

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By now, most people who use the internet have become accustomed to targeted ads littering websites that they visit throughout the day. Amazon is reportedly planning on taking this to the next level, by “surpris[ing] select customers with samples that we think will be delightful and helpful,” according to Axios. One example of this appears to have been publicized by a Twitter user over the summer.

“Amazon sent me a random coffee sample! Is it because I have like 15 [different] types of coffee in my cart,” a user posted.

While there’s not yet a ton of details on this sample program, the publication pointed to a new job posting for a “BizTech Leader” position that appears to be in charge of this process. A rough understanding of the program is that brands would send samples to Amazon to be distributed, and the giant will do the rest. The customers are supposedly targeted based on what Amazon knows about them, which is likely based on their purchase history. With Amazon Prime boasting over 100 million subscribers, it’s not too hard to imagine that they know a thing or two about their consumers.

And if you’re the type of person who cringes at the thought of receiving unsolicited samples, not to worry. There’s a way to opt out in the settings. But if you don’t mind, just know that samples would be sent to your default address.

Proponents of this program might question their privacy when it comes to using Amazon. As Axios pointed out, “some customers could feel violated when something they haven’t ordered shows up unexpectedly on their doorstep.”

Not to mention that this process appears to rely on machine learning, which is artificial intelligence. While many consumers applaud the use of A.I. in its multitude of applications, some may be leery of having an algorithm predict their behavior.

It’s hard to know how successful this sample process might be for Amazon and the brands that choose to participate. It’s a sort of hi-tech solution to receiving samples when you go to the department store for perfume or new lotions. You might find that you like a product that you would have never thought to try.

It would also seem that the general public is unlikely to protest free samples of any kind. And for advertisers, this could be a dream come true, as Amazon appears to be working toward a completely automated process that runs without human interference.