Because ecommerce business analyst is one of the many professional hats we wear here at Consorte, we’re always paying close attention to what Amazon does. After all, it never hurts to have your eye on what the biggest player in the field is up to. So naturally, our curiosity was piqued by today’s announcement that Amazon is releasing its first smartphone, the Fire, on July 25. Due to the popularity of the Kindle Fire tablet, designed to compete with Apple’s iPad, this news isn’t hugely surprising—the release of a new smartphone seemed to be the next logical step. Let’s take a closer look at what the Fire offers mobile customers and what it’ll mean for ecommerce sales.
Some experts question whether the Fire will be truly competitive with tried-and-true favorites like the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy, though Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is confident it will be successful. One of Fire’s offerings is its unique dynamic perspective, a custom-designed sensor system that adjusts your mobile experience based on how you view, hold, and move your smartphone. It also uses new one-of-a-kind technology to recognize music, movies, TV shows, and millions of other items and offers immediate customer support via a live video chat feature (and, if you’ve ever needed to contact an Amazon customer relations representative with a question or concern, you have to admit their service is second to none.)
But that’s not all—when you buy the phone, which starts at $199 and is exclusively available with AT&T service—you receive one year of Amazon’s popular Prime service, whose benefits include free two-day shipping, instant music and video streaming, and membership in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. If you’re already a Prime subscriber, purchase of the phone extends your membership for one year at no additional cost to you. For smartphone users who shop online frequently, this could be an extremely tempting perk.
It’s a challenge to predict exactly what the repercussions of the Fire’s release will be; it’ll depend greatly on whether smartphone users are willing to change devices and how useful all the new bells and whistles prove to be. But, if you’re a small business owner, we can think of some important considerations for you in light of this news:
- Responsive design best practices that create a superb mobile experience are as important as ever. If you’re not sure whether your company’s web site renders well on existing mobile devices, there’s no time like the present to make sure it’s up to any challenge.
- Free or reduced shipping options are always a huge plus—now even more so. Amazon has now made it possible for a customer to make online purchases minus the irritating delivery fees with just a few swipes. If customers make it through your checkout process only to be hit with hefty shipping charges, they’re not going to be happy.
- If you’re an independent seller offering your merchandise through Amazon’s third-party selling program, be prepared for your product listings to get more attention.
Tech journalists haven’t yet reached a consensus on whether the Fire will be a hit—only time will tell. Nevertheless, it’s important to be prepared for some of your customer base to show an interest in this new device. What’s the best way to do that? Be sure your website design is beautiful and functions well. As a matter of fact, that’s a good rule no matter what’s going on in the market!