Recently, Amazon has been rumoured to have partnered with the Chinese manufacturer Foxconn to develop a new smartphone. But how is this device likely to influence the way we shop?
The news that Amazon is likely to be in the process of producing a proprietary smartphone has immediately given rise to a river of speculation regarding what the device might look like, what price it will be and what functionality it will have.
Bloomberg, which originally published the news, raised conjecture that the phone would be a direct competitor to Apple‘s iPhone and Google‘s Android devices. This seems somewhat incredible, however, seeing as Amazon’s previous tech projects haven’t aimed so high previously.
Amazon launched the Kindle Fire last year with some degree of fanfare, however sales for this particular device have since slowed, perhaps prompting this new project. The Kindle Fire, just like the Kindle before it provide a clear enough indication of where Amazon would be pitching a new smartphone device.
Just like the Kindle devices before it, an Amazon phone would target the entry-level market for smartphone users, where there are still many individuals yet to purchase their first pocket-computer. If Amazon is able to price their device competitively enough, and no doubt they will, then there will be a whole new generation of m-commerce capable consumers that are plugged-in to the Amazon ecosystem.
This may not mean all that much to Australians, however in the US, Amazon has become a retail force to be reckoned with and is predicted to overtake Wal-Mart as the world’s largest retailer by 2025. This smartphone may be another small step on this road to retail rule.
Amazon is already in the habit of creating mobile applications designed to tempt shoppers to buy from its website, rather than the store they are standing in. If Amazon is making the devices as well, the entire m-commerce experience will come integrated onboard. Purchasing that product you want will become as simple as pointing your mobile at it, and pressing the ‘buy’ button.
However, a new smartphone from Amazon isn’t going to create any new headaches for retailers. It’s only going to build on the trends we have already seen appearing with respect to mobile commerce. The iPhone and Android devices will have all the same ability for showrooming and price-checking apps as an Amazon phone would – all it means is that perhaps even more people will be considering m-commerce than there were previously.
So beware, Amazon is coming and the best way to defend your retail business is to go out on the offensive. If you don’t have the resources to design a smartphone, perhaps consider an application. Is your website optimised for mobile and is it seamless across multiple devices and browsers?
m-Commerce is just starting to heat up, so make sure you’re prepared to reap the rewards.