Amazon & the Buying Phone

by Net Future Institute on July 9, 2014

By Chuck Martin

While Amazon’s new phone introduced yesterday received a mix of reviews, the commerce aspects of the phone can’t be ignored.

The Fire Phone has all the normal smartphone features, like a two-year contract (from AT&T), decent screen, good sound and all the other elements you might presume to find in a smartphone today.

As might be expected from Amazon, the phone also has an image recognition feature called Firefly that can identify 100 million items, facilitating a quick and easy purchase by the mobile shopper. Think QR codes, without needing the code, a long-time promise of phone camera recognition capability.

While the phone is unlikely to gain large market share against dominants Android and Apple, it does seem suitable for frequent Amazon buyers.

And that may be one of the places that Amazon missed the boat, at least in its initial mobile foray.

Amazon is clearly a bit tardy to the mobile game and the chance of convincing masses of owners of Android and Apple smartphones to switch is beyond an uphill battle.

Rather than pitching it as a smartphone like many others with some added features, maybe Amazon should have squarely stated that the phone is designed for Amazon purchasing aficionados.

Let’s face it: the phone is tailored to help regular Amazon buyers buy more. One-touch buying for Amazon Prime subscribers just became more mobile.

It makes it easier to make an Amazon purchase both for digital and physical goods. It is not just a feature of the phone; it is the reason for the phone.

While it faced some underwhelming reviews, the Amazon Fire is less likely to join the ranks of Samsung and Apple than it is to be considered a hardware add-on to Amazon.

It’s not likely to draw a relatively large number of people, but it can turn out to be a large number of Amazon sales.


Chuck Martin is Editor of the mCommerce Daily at MediaPost and writes the daily MobileShopTalk column. He is the author of “Mobile Influence,” “The Third Screen,” and “The Smartphone Handbook.” He is CEO of Mobile Future Institute. Chuck Martin is a frequent Mobile Keynote Speaker and Mobile Marketing Speaker internationally. He also addresses Social Media in Mobile.


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