As Amazon’s plans to take over the smartphone and tablet industry continue to unfold, more and more unique advantages Amazon has over its competitors present themselves. Amazon was one of the first companies to release a compelling budget friendly tablet, making up for any hardware profit loss with a robust portfolio of services placed front and center. With their latest crop of devices, Amazon has not only managed to upgrade hardware and still keep prices down, but they’re also introducing something else only Amazon can really pull off: enhanced in-app purchases of real physical goods.
Amazon has partnered with Activision to test pilot in-app purchases of physical items in an interesting way. Skylanders is a video game where players can use physical representations of in-game characters, in the form of acton figures, to activate and play as those characters in the game. Traditionally, you either have to have a scanning device attached to the console you’re playing Skylanders on, where you place the action figures, or use a special code attached to the action figures for use with the mobile app. Skylanders Cloud Patrol for the Amazon Kindle Fire HD will allow users to purchase action figure characters directly from the app, and provide instant access to the character, while Amazon ships the action figure to the address attached to their Amazon account.
In other words, Amazon will turn an in-app purchase of a video game character into the delivery of a physical product. The developer pull this could provide Amazon with is nothing short of amazing. Being able to buy video game characters in a game and have them show up on your doorstep a couple days later is impressive, but don’t think for a second Amazon will stop there.
In-app purchases of physical goods could, and I’d bet will, be implemented in any number of apps. Amazon is in the exclusive position to really make this work. It only makes sense to pair an already successful app store, which according to some generates as much as four times the revenue Google Play does, with what is undeniably the largest online marketplace in the world. Once this kind of functionality is common knowledge (and if Amazon’s marketing does their job, it will be), developers won’t be the only ones flocking to Amazon; consumers will be right behind.
If it wasn’t clear that Amazon is poised to take the mobile industry by storm before, after the announcement of their second generation hardware and features like in-app purchases of physical goods, it should be.
What do you think? Could you see yourself using in-app purchases to acquire physical goods?