Before you write off the new phone from Amazon as a BlackBerry-like fringe player, stop yourself. It’s more than just a phone, of course. And it’s more than just a play for small margins in a fast-moving telecom field. For the multibillion-dollar game being played by retailers, content providers, and all-knowing search engines, the Fire phone represents the full-blown admission that the last thing a phone is being considered these days is a device for calling people.
Clearly, retail marketing has become a war for the pocket, and the race is on to see which company can make the phone into the consumer’s remote control for the rest of the world.
Now, of course, the Fire phone comes with attractive features like any smart phone: nice screens, a UX that claims to be effortless, and so on. But what’s really interesting here is that the bells are geared to aid commerce: price comparison, ease of ordering, recommendation engines, and helping you buy stuff or think about buying stuff, no matter where you are.
This is no small thing! Consider a recent survey conducted by mobile redemption platform SpyderLynk, that essentially tells us that when people are shopping they are most likely to look for a deal, or get something more from their shopping experience.
Now for the whistle. Because the Fire phone comes outfitted with Prime, Amazon is smartly tying the mobile experience to the shopping experience. This means, aside from optimizing an interface for helping people buy or think about buying stuff, it is also positioned to be the best at acquisition, retention and loyalty. And it gets better: with Amazon’s foray into streaming music, offering videos and more, they are positioned to help people do what they are doing at a rapid pace – pass time consuming media.
While major retailers are answering with apps like Cartwheel, Amazon doesn’t have to worry about it because there is no brick and mortar. Everything happens via digital and mobile and for some wealthy individuals and perhaps one day many more, the drone.
This forces the hands of Amazon’s big box, brick and mortar rivals who work to find and please digital and the new mobile natives. As Target, Walmart and others have dumped major resources into app development, agreed to release unit prices to consumers via digital and mobile (Amazon wasn’t one of them), mobile isn’t just a popular field to play in; it’s now a primary battlefield, despite only being a percentage of actual revenues at the present moment.