Amazon Wallet taps into what consumer still buy in the real world

Could the new offering be Amazon's ploy to run every consumer transaction, online and off, through an Amazon account?

Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, has always sold investors and analysts on the future--the company's immediate strategy is about attracting customers, not just amassing profits. Even as Amazon bled money to the tune of US$126 million last quarter, the silver lining was that net sales were up nearly 25 per cent.

Sales are the foundation of the company's future success--in short, Amazon needs consumers to keep shopping. Just a couple days before its quarterly earnings report, it launched Amazon Wallet, a beta app in the Google Play Store and Amazon's own Appstore for Android that acts something like Passbook on the iPhone. In its current form, it's meant to keep all of a mobile user's gift cards (for Amazon and elsewhere) in one convenient place, so they're always accessible when it's time to shop.

The hook, however, is that users need to be signed in to their Amazon account for it to work. So now Amazon will know when users are shopping at retailers that aren't Amazon.

Show me the money

Amazon already sells everything but the kitchen sink (and a few kitchen sinks), but it has no presence in the physical world. Short of opening a warehouse store, Amazon is constantly looking for a way in. The Fire Phone (pictured) is the first serious step toward breaking down those walls--with Firefly, Amazon is turning the world into your shopping mall--and coupled with same-day delivery in some areas, Amazon is ever inching closer to mimicking the instant gratification consumers get from a store, even if it never gets its drone experiment off the ground.

Wallet takes a bit of a different tack. By linking gift cards to an Amazon account, Amazon is peeking in on an individual's brick-and-mortar shopping.

Amazon's complex ecosystem is built on getting consumers to use their Amazon account in myriad ways. From Prime to Kindle to Audible to Amazon Fresh to subsidiaries like Zappos and Wag, Amazon lets consumers purchase anything, wherever they are.

Wallet is still in its infancy, but it seems inevitable that we'll eventually be able to link our credit and debit cards. In fact, when users log into Amazon Wallet accounts on the Web, they'll already see a list of all of the bank cards saved to their Amazon account, and Amazon is surely working on a secure way to expand the app to handle traditional payment methods too.

But even if it establishes a strong foothold in the retail sector with whatever Wallet develops into, Amazon isn't necessarily gunning for Sports Authority's or Sephora's business with this move. The list of merchants who have signed on to support the gift card balance feature, includes not only traditional retailers like Guitar Center and Petco, but also places that Amazon doesn't directly compete with, like The Cheesecake Factory and Whole Foods.

Amazon will be keeping tabs on how and when we use our gift cards to bolster its targeted advertising system, but that's not the primary motivation.

Today our wallets, tomorrow the world

Amazon's biggest enemy is cash, and Wallet is another step toward eliminating it. Almost as soon as it launched, rumours started ramping up about an upcoming card reader similar to what Square and PayPal offer. Amazon already processes transactions for other businesses with its Amazon Payments product, so a fleet of card readers shouldn't be that hard to implement. The eventual goal could be to turn Wallet into a seamless system for buying everything, online or off.

All of the pieces are there. Even if its phone experiment fails, Amazon Wallet could represent a whole new chapter in the company's story, one that takes the experience off the Web and follows consumers everywhere they go.

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Social purpose: Oxygen for your brand health vitals

If trust is the new currency, then we’re in deep trouble. Here's why.

Carolyn Butler-Madden

Founder and CEO, Sunday Lunch

Customer experience disruption: Healthcare faces a bitter pill

Over the past decade, disruptors such as Amazon, Apple and Australia’s Atlassian have delivered technology enhanced customer experiences, which for the most part, have improved customers’ lives and delivered unparalleled growth. Can they do the same for healthcare?

Alex Allwood

Principal, All Work Together

How can a brand remain human in a digital world?

Some commentators estimate that by 2020, 85 per cent of buyer-seller interactions will happen online through social media and video*. That’s only two years away, and pertinent for any marketer.

James Kyd

Global head of brand strategy and marketing, Xero

https://bit.ly/2qLgzmR Transform your life a proven digital blueprint

Okitoi Steven

How this banking group tackled a digital marketing transformation

Read more

Its great to hear that companies including JCDecaux, oOh!media, Omnicom and Posterscope Australia have all partnered with Seedooh inorder...

Blue Mushroom Infozone Pvt Ltd

Out of home advertising companies strive for greater metrics and transparency

Read more

Much ado about nothingAnother fluff piece around what it could possibly do rather than what it is doing

gve

How AMP is using AI to create effortless ‘experiences’

Read more

is it true that Consumer expectations are also changing as a result. If we trust someone with our data there is also an expectation that ...

Sunita Madan

Society will decide where digital marketing takes us next: Oracle

Read more

This Blog is Very interesting to read and thank you for sharing the valuable information about Machine Learning. The information you prov...

johny blaze

What machine learning has done for the Virgin Velocity program

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in