Eight in 10 retailers have said they plan to sell their goods through additional digital channels in 2023. Leave it to AmazonAMZNAMZN to level it up to a channel few likely considered: Anywhere.
Amazon Anywhere is the online giant’s latest endeavor to further integrate its various sales streams: this time by selling goods on the augmented reality game, Peridot (by the makers of Pokémon Go). With Amazon Anywhere, launched in May, users can buy physical products from Amazon while playing the game and exploring a virtual world with their “Peridots,” or AI-powered creatures.
It works this way: Amazon embeds physical Peridot-branded products within the game’s app, so players who link their Amazon accounts can buy Peridot-branded apparel (like T-shirts), throw pillows and other items.
The shopping experience is augmented by Amazon Prime convenience. Users can view product details and images, Prime eligibility and estimated delivery dates, just as they would on Amazon. They can use their linked Amazon accounts to finalize their purchases without leaving the game, and the orders are shipped like any other Amazon purchase.
How Amazon Anywhere Puts Retail In Challenge Mode
Amazon hasn’t said whether Anywhere will be extended to other games, but it would make practical sense. (Peridot launched globally May 9 – the same day as Amazon Anywhere – likely raising the partnership’s awareness). If Anywhere is incorporated into other games, here are five maneuvers that other retailers and brands can unlock from the concept:
- It’s stepping into the path of customers. When retailers think of new selling channels, there’s a tendency to consider those that ease into everyday tasks. Mobile apps build grocery lists and place orders en route to the store. Social media platforms serve as outlets for advertising retailers and brands. The goal is the same: make buying stuff fast and simple so shoppers save time. Well, Amazon Anywhere is inserting itself into one of those “free to be me” activities, by following Prime members into their happy, recreational headspaces.
- It’s introducing “creators” as a revenue source. Amazon can sell a selection of Peridot-branded products via Amazon Anywhere, but it’s evidently not limiting itself. It’s inviting the creators of other video games, virtual worlds and mobile apps to “curate” their own branded merchandise from Amazon’s selection to sell. This allows game makers to extend their digital experiences to the physical world without dealing with common physical barriers, such as selection, shipping and fulfillment. (“Instead, they can focus on creating incredible experiences,” Amazon explains in its news release.)
- It’s a less “virtual” path to purchase. There’s a lot of chatter about the retail opportunities in the metaverse (including here in Forbes). Claire’s, for example, had launched a destination on the gaming app Roblox, called ShimmerVille, that includes accessories for purchase at its “real life” physical stores. This is an important distinction, because games are designed to keep the user engaged with few disruptions (read: longer selling opportunities) and to occupy their full concentration (read: trust). As Amazon states, most shopping in augmented worlds is limited to virtual currency and in-game digital items, “with no easy path to purchase physical products.”
- It can literally gamify customer loyalty. Everyone, everywhere knows that Amazon tracks what we browse and buy anywhere on its site. (“You might also like” or “Pick up where you left off” are standard greetings.) These insights can tailor the product suggestions Amazon makes for future Peridot products and with other games. And for some games, these goods can become alternates to in-app purchases – meaning gamers can buy physical things in return for clues or VIP points. Also, because gamification is based on human psychology – it nurtures the good feels we get when winning – users associate the happiness with the brand.
- Amazon is a gaming creator, too, so it’s feeding itself. With Anywhere, Amazon is paving a path to purchase through a channel in which it already invests, meaning gaming. Through its Prime Gaming, Amazon’s nearly 162 million Prime members (source: Statista) can access free games plus monthly subscriptions to Twitch, the video game live streaming service. Further, Prime members in some countries (including the U.S.) can play a range of free games on Amazon’s cloud gaming service, Luna, which allows play on personal devices without a console. It follows logic that Anywhere could be integrated into Prime Gaming.
What And Where Is Amazon Gaming For Next?
Amazon Anywhere is not the retailer’s first venture to find new revenue sources outside of its traditional marketplace.
For example, it has recently begun charging a $1 fee for some UPS returns, depending on location, as reported in CNBC. And in late January, Amazon extended its “Buy with Prime” feature to all U.S. merchants, enabling them to add its payment and fulfillment services to their sites in return for a fee, according to CNBC. (The $514 billion global retailer has been innovating around slowing sales growth and economic uncertainty.)
As for Amazon Anywhere, the options can unfold just like Peridot’s augmented reality world. Virtual Peridots eat, sleep and play with toys, so third-party brands, including Amazon’s own private labels, might seek partnerships with the game’s creators. Kind of how cereal brands partner with cartoon characters to sell more cereal.
Who knows? Players might be able to subscribe to actual 23-pound bags of Peridot-endorsed dog food, through Amazon “Subscribe & Save.” Retailers can eat up the sales.
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