Amazon on Fire: the New Retail Experience?


I was watching This Week in Tech (TwiT) Live last night with guests Om Malik, Robert Scoble, and John C. Dvorak.

Part of the conversation was about how social networks and media companies are getting people used to having the media go to them in exchange for handing over more personal information.

This was more strongly emphasized by Scoble. Malik talked about Facebook and lack of transparency. He shared how he's very careful using Facebook for his communications as he doesn't know how the company is using the information they gather. I'm the same way. In fact, I don't even use my personal profile.

Before getting into that, there was a brief mention of Amazon Kindle Fire. It may be no iPad killer, however, with the Amazon retail experience and customer browsing and purchasing habits behind it, it could be the new store retail experience.

It was a comment by Malik that peaked my interest. If Amazon has to stay relevant, it needs to embrace this new world of mobile-first experience. It has chosen to do so by building an Amazon experience. So I ran a brief search and found a couple of interesting reviews to learn more.

PC Magazine:

The Kindle Fire won't have much memory or expandable storage, but it will have the Amazon Cloud Storage service, which is conveniently linked to all of your purchases of books, movies, and music. If Apple wanted a stranglehold on iOS apps, then Amazon wants a stranglehold on all media on the Kindle Fire.

Business Week quotes Bezos:

What we are doing is offering premium products at non-premium prices. Other tablet contenders have not been competitive on price and have just sold a piece of hardware. We don’t think of the Kindle Fire as a tablet. We think of it as a service.

[…] Certainly this is a for-profit business. Let’s put it this way. We are and always have been very comfortable at operating at extremely low margins.

Apple and Amazon stores have the most important information any retailer needs: credit card information. While Apple is in the business of selling hardware. The App Store is a way to sell more tablets, smartphones, etc. Amazon is in the business of selling goods and services.

The Kindle Fire then would be a place where people play and consumer content, opening the door for buying more related content and goods through it. According to Ryan Kim of GigaOM:

The Kindle Fire seems geared to not only help people play their content but shop for new things. The top option is a search field that can pull up stuff from Amazon store. Also, on the various media options below, users are able to get at their own magazines, books, videos and apps but a “store” button is usually present so people can quickly add to their library. There’s also going to be a shopping application, one of four main apps included in the Kindle Fire along with contacts, gallery and email.

They rolled out email accounts with their first Kindle, if you recall.

Is the Amazon Store the new retail experience?

Companies' performance is going to depend more and more upon how much they know about you. Which is why Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google are looking to go direct with content — and transactions. Will there be a point when people will push back?

What scenario will be more likely to go mainstream? Will the Apple iPad or Amazon Kindle Fire be under the Christmas tree?


[image source: Geeky Gadgets]

0 responses to “Amazon on Fire: the New Retail Experience?”

  1. I’ve got an iPod Touch. I find it useless for anything beyond streaming Pandora in the garage (to keep my netbook from getting dirty). I also tend to do about 90% of my Christmas shopping on Amazon.
    When I setup my iPod, it really bugged me how I had to provide credit card info before I could download and install a FREE app. When I do my shopping on Amazon, I tend to find pretty much anything I’m looking for, even if it doesn’t ship from Amazon directly.
    I think Amazon will win out long term. Yes, Apple is hot right now, but how many of their customers are new customers, versus repeat customers buying the latest version of what they’ve already got? How expensive are those products? I know people who have spent more than $1000 on iPhone upgrades in the time I’ve had my held-its-own for the last two years $200 Blackberry?
    Amazon is positioning itself to put just about anything a consumer could imagine right in the palm of his hand at a super competitive price. And, unless I’m mistaken, Amazon treats my credit card information as opt-in, rather than Apple’s opt-out. That’s a great way to engender trust, encourage trial, and nurture adoption.
    I see Apple’s ecosystem – the way they, along with app developers and consumers all seem to benefit from a mutual relationship – but this is all pretty much proprietary. To me, it seems Amazon is better positioned to bring a more diverse and valuable digital ecosystem together for more people.
    This is an interesting topic to consider!

  2. putting your own personal preferences aside for a moment, do you discount the power of customer evangelists for word of mouth? Do you think that loyal customers who upgrade willingly — and tell all their friends about those products, at the tune of US$4 million in sales on the first day — and who in turn give strength back to the business and make it enduring are not an indication of the kind of business we need in the mix? Should all businesses be like Amazon? Curious.

  3. I appreciate you challenging me to clarify my thoughts, Valeria. Thank you.
    Word of mouth has no equal. My own thoughts on Apple products and practices aside, the iProducts have made a difference. And products which make a difference – truly worth owning – sell themselves. I firmly believe that.
    From a sales and marketing perspective, this is exactly what we want. But what about from a societal perspective. Is this what we need? Should we continue to focus on consumption? Should there be one standard for us and another for the “consumer?”
    It all seems so parasitic to me; extracting wealth from the masses in ever decreasing buying cycles without considering how delivering a product which genuinely enables them to live more productive, rewarding lives stands to build lifetime relationships. I see it as taking what they’ve got, where helping them realize more to give would be the ideal.
    As for Amazon, I wouldn’t say all businesses should be like them. Cast in another light, they’re not too different from Walmart, which is a whole other can of worms. Still, I prefer their seemingly more respectful approach. It feels more authentic.
    Again, thanks for the opportunity to think out loud. 🙂

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