Amazon recently announced the upcoming release of the Fire Phone. It’s the first and only phone designed by Amazon. So naturally, it’s optimized for shopping on Amazon. Maybe we were anticipating a device like this, maybe there was major market demand for it, maybe there wasn’t. The announcement has seemed to have very polarized reactions from tech thought leaders. Either you hate it or you love it. But either way the Amazon Fire marks a pivotal moment for the way eCommerce integrates with our everyday lives.
Perhaps its most unique feature is the Firefly technology. There’s a dedicated button on the side of the phone to activate the app (although it seems so ingrained into the phone that it’s just a feature of the core OS). Firefly uses the phone’s camera or microphone to identify things around you in everyday life: music, movies, printed contact info, and even household items. It leads you to immediately queue that media in your Amazon prime account, purchase tickets to the next show of the music artist that’s playing, or find a product on Amazon to buy.
Is this real life? Are we taking the tangible things around us to create some sort of manifestation of our ideal selves in the digital realm? Is technology ruining the world??
Of course not. Although it feels a little odd, the Amazon Fire tells us a lot about our consumer culture right now. eCommerce is an everyday experience. It’s the standard way to shop for many people and a supplement to brick and mortar for the rest of us. It has become so common practice to use a product in real life and seek out the best price for it online (which is often on Amazon) that there is now a device that’s entire existence is based around such an experience.
This means big things for eCommerce as a whole as well. Amazon’s goal here is to be early to a game, which is inevitably about to begin at any moment in the near future. Today it’s software like Firefly, but tomorrow it’s that same functionality applied to ebay or Zappos or QVC. Amazon knows the majority of us are checking out stuff in their store for the price, convenience, and enormous catalog. But soon we’ll demand the same Firefly service for niche products or for our other favorite online retailers.
Imagine brick and mortar retail brands expanding their omnichannel power with something like Firefly. You’re passing a shoe store in the mall. You spot some boots in the window that you like, but you’re in a hurry to get back to your car so you snap a pic. Right now you can use the Fire and possibly find the same pair on Amazon for cheaper. But that brick and mortar store could own that same effect in another software to maintain that customer’s loyalty. Building out a better mobile experience so that customers find value in a product beyond price point and convenience. Maybe there’s an eCommerce video that talks about the quality materials and craftsmanship behind the boots and shows off the boots in context of the customer’s lifestyle right there on the phone. I know a great place that makes eCommerce videos…
The Amazon Fire might feel like a gimmick to get you shopping on Amazon more often (which it does), but it is an important milestone in eCommerce technology and our own shopping culture as a whole. There is a bright future for mobile commerce and integrating eCommerce further into daily life to make shopping more pleasant and convenient.
Talk to us at Video Review Labs. We can chat about all the great, weird things we buy on Amazon, what we are going to do with our new Fire Phones, and the wonderful world of eCommerce video.