Amazon Lights Up M-Commerce with Fire

June 25, 2014

Amazon recently unleashed a beast that stands a solid chance of competing with Apple and Samsung in a “who has the loudest roar?” contest. The latest addition to the Amazon family was dubbed the Fire Phone: a 5.64-ounce beauty of a smartphone with a 4.7-inch display. The Amazon Fire comes equipped with all the industry standards — slim, Gorilla Glass touchscreen and forward-facing camera — but there are a few features that set it apart and could make it a big player in the e-commerce world (from Amazon’s viewpoint at least).


Think of Firefly as Siri’s cousin. It’s your personal assistant for identifying objects, audio, art and films, then providing you with the option of purchasing via Amazon. Firefly can identify movies and TV shows by scanning the audio, much like the popular music app Shazam. This feature is powered by Amazon-owned IMDb. Unlike Shazam, when Fire detects a song, it will allow you to purchase upcoming concert tickets through StubHub.

Amazon FireThe smartphone’s database contains roughly 70 million objects. With the phone’s camera, the object recognition feature can scan almost any item and provide you with instant pricing and availability info. Amazon CEO and Founder Jeff Bezos even showed off the phone’s ability to identify food and spit out (no pun intended) nutrition information. It’s still unclear how the phone will handle multiple objects in the same image capture — for example, a basketball, jersey and pair of Nikes. Is Amazon’s next step pointing you toward merchandise bundles of compatible products?

The bottom line: Firefly encourages shopping on Amazon. It reduces the number of steps it takes to buy items via your phone, taking the act of showrooming up to another level. Why log into Amazon’s website or a third-party app when you have one magic button at your fingertips? Further simplifying mobile commerce seems like the underlying approach Amazon’s taking with its breakthrough to the cellular world.

Dynamic Perspective

The day has come: A 3D smartphone display has been unveiled. Amazon is a first adopter in this type of image formatting. Fire’s display screen will not only satisfy the gamers out there, but may just be a cherry on top of shopaholics’ sundaes. Imagine being able to have a 360-degree view of clothing, shoes or other products.

Maneuvering the phone to various positions allows users to see 3D product images from a variety of angles — revealing perspectives that a 2D frame wouldn’t show. Also, by tilting the phone a certain way, a user can fluently move from one item to the next. In the product debut, Bezos demonstrated looking at products online by tilting the phone side to side to scroll. The same feature can enable you to scroll through webpages, articles or books without touching the display. Seems like a pretty smooth online shopping experience.

Furthermore, the phone’s 3D effects apply across Amazon’s shopping network, including its bookstore, music store and primary digital market.

Customer Service

Mayday, Fire’s cleverly named customer service feature, makes waiting in the Apple Store seem unrefined. The ultra-simple and user-friendly service is readily available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The customer service tool lets you quickly receive answers to any questions or issues you may come across with your Fire.

As we know, today’s smartphones can store a user’s location along with other personal data. Amazon could eventually latch onto this data and hone in on personal habits and spending patterns — enabling better tailored product recommendations and even a way to manage warehouse inventory.

Customer service is king in the retail industry. Is it a coincidence that this service parallels the Fire’s market approach? Only time will tell. Maybe one day Mayday will be able to address your shopping or logistics inquiry.

The Perks

Let’s not forget that all purchasers of the phone are granted a 12-month Prime membership — Amazon’s elite $99/year, two-day-shipping club. Existing Prime subscribers will receive an extra 12 months’ membership.

It’s clear that this phone is designed for the savvy shopper and is fuel to the fire for the Amazon enthusiast. Fire encourages existing customers to shop and reels new customers into the mix. Creating the most friction-free purchasing experience not only aligns with Amazon’s core business goal, but may just set the phone apart from Apple, Samsung or any other big market player.

Fire ships on July 25, so we’ll be keeping a close eye on reactions to the phone and its m-commerce features. How do you think Fire will impact your Amazon sales? Sound off in the comments below.


Blog post by Jordan Nowlin, social media and blog manager, ChannelAdvisor

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