For 1 month now, Amazon has been making more and more announcements about simplified online purchases. The first, Amazon Dash, concerns connected objects: it is a remote control for scanning products. The second is based on social media: Amazon wants to convert tweets into purchases. In order to compete with Drive, Amazon is currently testing a simple remote control called “Dash”. It gets the whole family involved in preparing the shopping list. The principle is simple: the remote control features a microphone, a laser and a WiFi module. With these features, any barcode can be scanned or a shopping list can be dictated. Amazon Dash connects to the e-commerce site and automatically updates the online shopping basket. The newly created shopping list must then be confirmed by smartphone, tablet or PC before the home delivery process can be initiated, the very same day or the following day.
Another innovation announced in the last few days is the new function on Twitter. It enables users to do their shopping directly with the online retailer, using the #AmazonCart hashtag. The principle? When a message on Twitter contains a link to an Amazon product page, the web user responds to it with the #AmazonCart keyword. Amazon then adds the item to the customer’s basket. The customer only needs to sign in on the site to finalize the order. In order to use this function, web users must first associate their Twitter profile with their Amazon account. However, this service does not allow users to purchase directly on the social network, in order to avoid placing orders unintentionally. Users must always sign in to Amazon to check the contents of their basket.
This focus on these two initiatives clearly shows that Amazon brands itself as a player capable of offering different points of contact with its service, mirroring consumers’ habits. It has positioned itself resolutely in the customer’s omni-channel path to purchase.
The Dash remote control meets a simple need: doing one’s shopping anywhere, whenever one wants. For Amazon, this is a way of being constantly available and of making the purchasing process more instinctive. This new service accelerates the purchasing process even more, following the example of other functions that the pure player has already developed (Checkout Amazon Payments or One Click Checkout). Amazon’s Director of mobile shopping Paul Cousineau says that his team has worked on Amazon Dash to make the customer experience simpler by avoiding any interactive screens: “If you never had to type again on a phone that would be great,” he said. “We want you to go from ‘I want that’ to ‘I bought that’ in 30 seconds or 10 seconds… a very short period of time.”
As for AmazonCart, the pure player is interposing itself in instant conversations. Several strategies are possible: promoting impulse buying but also consolidating its service-centric dimension as a “collector of products” listed with local retailers. Through these different initiatives, Amazon clearly proves that it wants to extend its geographical and temporal omnipresence, heralding the era of ambient retail.