Last May, Google introduced the idea of instant buy with their Google Wallet application. The convenience of Google’s streamlined mobile commerce experience was reserved for Android users until this June. Now, Amazon has jumped on the bandwagon and has released a beta version of Amazon Wallet.
The logic behind a virtual wallet is simple. When Google Wallet users can be up to seventy five percent more likely to make repeat purchases, and more users than ever are creating accounts, the amount of business done online will dramatically change Ecommerce within the next few years. Transactions that previously took an average of twenty four steps to complete in order to make a simple purchase have been streamlined – with added security – into a three step process. Special offers and rewards cards can also be added to the wallet, which produce pop up notifications when a buyer enters a store, a reminder to redeem the offer.
Amazon Wallet will be very similar, although not as robust since it is still in a beta period. Currently, it is available in the Google Play store, and Amazon’s Appstore, in a curious dual release. The release page directly mentions Amazon’s Fire phone, suggesting that it may already be preloaded on the phone. At the moment, it is only phone compatible.
The application seems to focus on retail sales, rather than online sales, as it cannot be used for online or purchases yet. While you cannot get coupons or redeem specials through this application yet, you can scan the barcodes and take pictures of any physical gift cards you may have in order to redeem them in the check out line while shopping. It will have the ability to keep track of the balance you have on such gifts cards supported by Amazon Wallet (only some stores will support the use of the application), which is a nice addition, considering how stark the current features are in the application now. Debit cards and credit cards can be stored in the application for use on Amazon’s webpage, but cannot be used in the larger virtual marketplace or during point-of-sales shopping trips.
While the beta was released quietly and doesn’t seem to bring much to cause a buzz, the ambitions of Amazon make it notable. Amazon is looking to compete with online transactions such as PayPal and Google Wallet, while also taking on the peer-to-peer element of sales currently handled by Square or Intuit GoPay. Once Amazon Wallet has reached this point, Kindle may be used differently, as a tool, and reach beyond the realm of reading and entertainment.
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