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Amazon takes second place: 2010 Mobile Retailer of the Year

November 19, 2010

Amazon is dominating in the mobile commerce space

Amazon is dominating in the mobile commerce space Inc. has taken second place in the 2010 Mobile Retailer of the Year awards due to its all-round excellence in mobile marketing and commerce, offering a strategy that is worthy of emulation.

There were many worthy candidates, but based on the nominations received from readers and submissions from this publication’s editorial team, Mobile Commerce Daily is convinced that, the largest online retailer in the United States, serves as a role model for retailers and merchants for its outstanding use of mobile.

“We want to make sure customers have the best experience reaching Amazon wherever they are,” said Stacey Keller, spokeswoman for Amazon, Seattle.

“Our goal has always been to offer customers the broadest selection of products at the best prices with fast, often free shipping offers, and we want to extend this to offer great customer experiences on all the platforms and devices our customers are using,” she said.

Here is a rundown of Amazon’s efforts in the mobile space over the course of 2010.

Amazon spreads Kindle’s reach via apps claims that its Kindle for Windows Phone 7 will be the first major ebook application available for the Microsoft-owned smartphone platform.

Kindle for Windows Phone 7 will be released later this year and includes all the same features of the existing Kindle applications, plus new features such as personalized book recommendations and the ability to send a book suggestion to a friend.

Kindle for Windows Phone 7 is part of Amazon’s buy-once-read-anywhere philosophy.

Amazon wants consumers to be able to buy and read their books anywhere they want, including their Kindle devices, PCs, Macs, the iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry and Android-powered devices, and soon, Windows Phone 7-based phones.

There are currently more than 725,000 books in the U.S. Kindle Store, and smartphone users have access to all of those on their handsets, which is a key way to encourage impulse buys.

Eye-popping mobile commerce figures
Last month, an Amazon Payments executive at the Mobile Shopping Summit said that mobile commerce is expected to grow from $2.4 billion this year to $23.4 billion by 2015, an 875 percent increase. Those figures are based on projections from Coda Research Consultancy.

Amazon is enabling payments via the mobile Web and applications for clients such as J&R, Petco, The Wet Seal, and Baby Phat.

Amazon Payments is the division of the company focusing on bringing the Amazon technology off to provide merchants with ways to get paid online and via mobile and boost their conversion metrics.

Amazon claims it has 110 million active consumer accounts worldwide, millions of sellers and hundreds of thousands of associates. It offers on-demand infrastructure for hosting Web-scale platforms and services.

It core mobile payments platforms are 1-Click, offering one-click checkout to consumers who are logged into their Amazon account, and PayPhrase, letting non-Amazon customers checkout by entering a password and PIN number.

PayPhrase lets parents set up multiple accounts per household or per credit card.

Consumers are becoming more comfortable with making mobile purchases, and it is not just virtual goods—it is tickets, apparel, personal care products, books and electronics.

Consumers are engaging with their mobile devices more and more, and they are engaged at the point of purchase decision.

First, consumers are searching and browsing for product information. Second, they want the ability to comparison-shop on their mobile device to see if they are getting a good deal. Third is actually making purchases using their handsets.

In July, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos revealed that customers around the world had ordered more than $1 billion of products from Amazon using a mobile device over the previous twelve months.

Those figures have since been accelerating, and many in the industry are waiting expectantly for Amazon to announce its mobile sales for the entire calendar year.

The prospects for mobile commerce in general, and Amazon’s mobile business in particular, appear ever rosier looking ahead to 2011.

Mobile as a branding and promotional medium
Amazon is not just sitting back and hoping consumers find its applications, but rather the company is actively marketing them.

In September, Amazon signed on as the launch sponsor of the free CBS News application for iPad as part of its ongoing effort to promote Kindle products.

Amazon’s in-application ads carried click-to-download calls-to-action to drive adoption of its Kindle application.

The Amazon Kindle campaign featured a number of key ad units, including expandable rich-media ad units.

The ad started as a display banner, but when selected it grows into a full-screen in-application landing page designed to give people a taste of Kindle and drive them back to Amazon’s Kindle mobile application.

Consumers could download the Kindle application directly from the ad creative.

Here is a screen grab:

Amazon’s calls-to-action include “Buy once, read everywhere,” “Tap to play video,” “Tap to expand,” “Get the free Kindle app for iPad” and “Hold the entire Kindle bookstore in your hands.”

Amazon branding was on the top-level navigation screen on the home pages and it was integrated into the stories as well.

The retailer has also experimented with placing 2D bar codes on print books that, when scanned, direct consumers to Amazon’s mobile Web site.

Amazon iPad-ding its resume
Amazon’s latest move may be its most surprising, given that it diverges from the retailer’s online experience in significant ways.

The ecommerce giant recently launched Amazon Windowshop for iPad, a complete rewrite of specifically for the iPad (see story).

There is no doubt that Amazon sees a bright future for commerce via tablets.

“Amazon Windowshop’s intimate and fluid user interaction is made possible by the iPad’s responsive, multi-touch interface,” Ms Keller said. “Amazon Windowshop sets a new bar for ecommerce, and many Amazon customers may prefer Amazon Windowshop even when a large-screen Web interface is readily available.

“We’re excited about wireless tablet computers,” she said. “We think these lean-back devices can offer great new customer experiences and have the potential to be an additional driver for our business.”

Final Take

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Dan Butcher is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach him at

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