Despite the lackluster debut of Amazon’s first smartphone, which has been called “quite the learning experience” by industry analysts, Amazon is gearing up to try again and launch a new phone in 2016. Even though there is a reported $170 million charge in unsold inventory, the Fire Phone initiative still has the full support of CEO Jeff Bezos, so onward they march.
With Amazon’s prior successes in branching out beyond their marketplace, they likely won’t make the same mistakes they did with their first attempt at a smartphone. For starters, Amazon may avoid relying so heavily on the shopping aspect of their phone, as smartphone users aren’t focused on shopping so much as texting, mail and apps. Michael Morgan, an independent mobility analyst shared with Ecommerce Times that he believes Amazon should abandon using the phone as a tool to drive traffic to their site. “People are already coming to Amazon — a phone won’t help them get there, the way it is now,” Morgan said.
Instead, the Fire Phone could optimize shopping technology as a hardwired app, rather than the sole functionality. One specific case Morgan suggested is a “person who goes into a store, takes a photo of UPC codes and then goes onto Amazon.” If this were somehow incorporated into Amazon’s one hour delivery program (which they’re testing in New York and want to expand into other cities), it could offer a differentiating factor that may convince the mobile mob to give Fire a try.
Another tweak Amazon may want to consider is price. Set at $199 with a contract and $649 unlocked seems a little too ambitious when the latest iPhone retails for roughly the same, and has already built a reputation that helps consumers justify the investment. If the Fire Phone is lacking in basic functionality that smartphone users have come to expect from their devices, why buy? And with AT&T as their only carrier, Amazon limits themselves greatly in the U.S. – let alone worldwide.
Although the inaugural debut of the Fire Phone was a slip and miss, industry analysts haven’t given up on the smartphone. Jeff Kagan, a leading analyst told Ecommerce Times that Amazon may try and try again until “eventually they come up with the right combination.” We’ll just have to wait until 2016 to meet version two.
What should we be doing as an ecommerce supply chain software company to better support m-commerce fulfillment needs in the coming year?
Sources: Noyes, Katherine. “Amazon Plans Fire Phone Do-Over for 2016.” Ecommerce Times. ECT News Network, 23 Dec. 2014. Web. 30 Dec. 2014.