Derek Phillips
Derek PhillipsDirector of Content Strategy

Posted on: June 27, 2014

In Strategy

There’s been a lot of chatter this week around Amazon’s just-announced Fire phone, mostly around the device’s product recognition features and deep ties to Amazon’s eCommerce universe. But while there are some valid concerns around user privacy, the opportunities for personalization are huge.So, here’s what we know about the Amazon Fire:

Buy anything, any time, anywhere

A key feature, Firefly, uses image-, text- and audio-recognition technology to help you scan and identify books, songs, movies and other items at the click of one button. You can be anywhere and take a photo of a product—not the bar code or QR code or anything like that, just the thing itself—and find it in Amazon’s vast online store to buy. If you have connectivity, you have shopping.

But the Fire is a phone, with all the features and functionality of any other phone, including GPS. That means Amazon could make recommendations on products and services based on proximity to the customer. And that’s not limited to the device’s native apps.

For example, a sample plug-in called “Exempli,” also described in the developer documentation, first identifies the musical artist behind a song being heard, then searches an external service to determine if there are any upcoming shows by that artist within a 50-mile radius of the user’s current location. (TechCrunch)

Add in the vast amount of information Amazon will be able to gather on customers’ buying habits and the ability for personalized upselling and cross-selling goes nuclear. Or as Venture Beat says:

GPS location data, ambient audio, and more metadata than you can shake a stick at in Amazon Web Services, Amazon will get unprecedented insight into who you are, what you own, where you go, what you do, who’s important in your life, what you like, and, probably, what you might be most likely to buy.

Screw it, we’re going with FIVE cameras

While it sounds like an Onion headline, the employment of five—FIVE!—cameras actually enables Dynamic Perspective, which will allow the UX on the device to respond to head movements. TechCrunch noted, “Zillow is using this to let users zoom in on pictures just by moving the phone closer to them. And they can move their head to peek around the corner in photos of a home’s interior.” That allows for some pretty creative new UX and content manipulation.

The devil is in the data

The sheer amount of customer behaviors now available to Amazon has moved from the desktop world to the mobile world…which is our real world. And while there are some interesting new features in the Fire and the ability to personalize experiences could become a real game-changer for Amazon, there are some potential landmines along the way.

As we noted in our Path to Personalization briefing recently, that poses some big legal and ethical challenges for Amazon. Transparency was a big consideration in alleviating customers’ privacy concerns. That means being clear about

  • what info you’re gathering;
  • how you’ll use it;
  • and how it benefits the user’s experience.

They’ve so far been unclear on what data they’re storing and how it might be used to enhance experiences (and, ahem…improved targeted marketing) other than to say that users will be able to turn off certain data gathering features.

In short, the potential for Fire is clearly there…for good and bad.

Connective DX (formerly ISITE Design): Path to Personalization Webinar

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