Mobile technology and ecommerce are inextricably linked, so any significant shift in the dynamic of the former can have major implications for the latter.
Here at the business end of the industry, where online activity is finally translated to physical delivery, we see and feel these shifts more than most.
So when Amazon announced its new Fire Phone last month, those of us in the business of order fulfillment started calculating the likely impact.
Amazon Drives Up Shopping on Smartphones
The move is the next logical step for Amazon, who moved quickly a few years ago to secure delivery of digital goods through their Kindle Fire tablet.
Positioned at the cheapest end of the market -and presumably sold more or less at cost – the device brought a raft of new users to the 7″ inch screen. More importantly for Amazon, it brought plenty of new customers into the company’s retail ecosystem.
With an “always-on” connection, the Fire Phone is likely to have a similar effect, even if competition in the more mature smartphone market limits adoption. At its most fundamental level, Amazon wants you to be able to buy anytime, anywhere, and spend more as you do so. As Marketwatch reports a 55% increase in spend when using an Amazon device, it seems to be working.
Or, as credit expert Ben Woolsey puts it in the same article, “Amazon Fire Phone definitely appears to be a mobile wallet first, with the phone functionality being a necessary but ancillary feature.”
How Your Smartphone Choice Influences Your Shopping
Amazon’s expansion into the mobile phone market means even more ability for consumers to define just how much we want to do with our smartphone. Consider these 3 ways your smartphone influences your shopping:
- Seamless Purchases: Browsing on your smartphone is becoming almost indistinguishable from actually buying. One-click purchasing takes most of the opportunity for buyer’s block to hit, so being plugged into Amazon’s vast online retail space as part of the phone’s operating system. This is less likely for physical goods on Android and Apple phones, but digital content and in-app purchases can still make a dent in your wallet without a moment’s thought.
- Impulse Buys: Where as physical points of sale can only store a few select items to impulse buy as you check out (usually those that are everyday necessities or that tempt your sweet tooth), online retailers can add a wide variety of extra recommendations, targeted to your unique buying patterns. Recommendation algorithms are getting better at knowing exactly what we want, when we want it, and are bumping up shopping bills as we add extra items to the cart.
- Access Everywhere: Your smartphone goes everywhere you go, more or less, and enables retailers to communicate with you in almost every way. Emails, texts, push notifications and in-app advertising all offer a route to push your shopping buttons with special offers and limited-time sales.
It remains to be seen whether Amazon will wield the same kind of influence on smartphones as they have achieved on desktop and tablets, but online retail as a whole is undoubtedly going to thrive as more consumers go mobile. Just make sure you keep an eye on those credit card bills!