What do you get when you cross the leading e-commerce destination with the most popular smartphone on the market? Amazon.com is betting on one thing: Revenue.
Amazon on Monday announced that its Amazon application for the iPhone and iPod touch is now available on Apple's App Store, just in time for the holiday shopping season.
The Amazon app aims to make it easier for consumers to search and browse for products offered by Amazon and thousands of retailers. The Amazon app also lets consumers access Amazon's shopping features such as customer reviews, and purchase from Amazon using one-click shopping and Amazon Prime.
"We designed the Amazon app to be a quick and easy way for iPhone and iPod touch users to shop, browse and buy with Amazon.com," said Sam Hall, director of Amazon Mobile.
The Amazon app also offers an experimental feature called Amazon Remembers, which aims to help customers keep track of items they see in their daily lives and even tries to match photos of products to the same or similar products available on Amazon.com.
This feature leverages iPhone functionality on Amazon's platform in an innovative way. Customers snap photos with the iPhone and the photos can be automatically uploaded to Amazon.com, which then tries to find products similar to those in the photos. When the results are returned, the customer can purchase an item immediately or remember it for later in an Amazon account.
Hall said Amazon is excited about Amazon Remembers because "it's a fun and useful way to use the iPhone camera to find and remember items while on the go. Customers can build visual lists of things they want to remember, buy or even learn more about."
The Power of the iPhone
Michael Gartenberg, vice president of mobile strategy at Jupitermedia, said the Amazon application demonstrates the power that Apple's iPhone platform has in the mobile market.
"We just don't see retailers like Amazon building shopping applications for other mobile devices," Gartenberg said. "There is clearly a perception among developers and among companies that you would not expect to be building mobile applications, like Amazon, that this is a platform worth investing their time and money in."
Products like Apple's iPhone and Google's Android mobile operating system have also helped spark marketing and advertising interest in the mobile space, according to eMarketer. The firm projects U.S. mobile-ad spending will reach $1.7 billion in 2008, up from $878 million in 2007.
But will all this advertising drive more e-commerce? Jupitermedia thinks so and is predicting that purchases via mobile devices of digital and physical goods and money transfers will contribute to transactions worth more than $600 billion globally by 2013.
"We're forecasting that all segments of the market will see growth over the next five years, driven by both the rapid availability of exciting, easy to use services, and the continued growth in mobile subscriber penetration, particularly in developing countries," said Howard Wilcox, author of the firm's September report, Mobile Payment Markets Strategies & Forecasts 2008-2013. "As well as becoming multi-functional devices for many users, mobiles will become wallets that people won't leave the home or office without."
Image credit: Product shot by Amazon.