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The 4 Biggest Marketing Implications From Amazon's Fire Phone

Gesture-based ads and a lot of shopping

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Amazon’s new Fire phone has been out for less than a month, but already a number of brands like eBay, Fandango and Orbitz are eyeing the phone for potential marketing opportunities.

Amazon’s phone doesn’t have the same scale as Apple’s iPhone or other Android phones, but the bulk of its features come from pre-installed apps that could potentially phase out branded apps (which require consumers to download, open and use them regularly). Therefore, brands may benefit most from finding ways to directly integrate advertising into Amazon’s own services.

Here are four ways Amazon Fire is shaking up mobile marketing.

Instant Shopping
When Amazon announced its phone in June, some experts said that its shopping technology called Firefly  could potentially wipe out retailers’ brick-and-mortar sales since it is built into the phone.

Indeed, the image recognition technology is super-quick in detecting and finding the products that consumers point their mobile device at. Once Amazon recognizes the product, it can be shopped right from the online behemoth's mobile site.

Integrating commerce straight into the camera also means that consumers don’t need to download a retailer’s own mobile app to shop. "Amazon's intent here seems to be to up the ante and make the process of identifying desirable purchases in the physical world and purchasing them in a couple of clicks as frictionless as possible. It's hard to see brick-and-mortar developers being particularly thrilled about this development," said Huge CEO Aaron Shapiro.

But not everyone believes Firefly is a retail killer since the technology is limited to one device and is already incorporated into Amazon’s broader-reaching iPhone and Android apps. "The Fire phone itself is not likely to be a widely-adopted phone, and so it has a relatively small user base," noted Jason Goldberg, vp of commerce strategy at Razorfish. "Retailers have found that price-match programs can effectively combat the showrooming effect of these types of devices. Recently, price-matching features such as Walmart's Savings Catcher have really raised the bar on price-matching experiences."

Mobile Ads Go 3D
Amazon’s Fire Phone also includes a feature called Dynamic Perspective that can basically turn images into 3D graphics.

At first, the 3D technology sounds a bit gimmicky, but it could actually be a fun way for marketers to make mobile ads a bit more exciting. Leveraging the positioning of a phone could give marketers a new area for creative, especially with banners that are increasingly getting squeezed out with native and social ads

"For marketers, the Fire Phone's Dynamic Perspective feature adds an exciting new capability that might very well enable the birth of a whole new category of 3D ad units and interactive mobile experiences," said Jeremy Sadwith, vp of engineering at Kargo. "If its potential is reached, it could be a game-changing creative canvas for advertisers."

Loyalty Programs Move Digital
Amazon, Google and Apple are all out to make the physical loyalty cards swiped at point-of-sales obsolete with digital versions. Amazon Wallet Beta is the online retail giant’s foray into this space with an app that serves as a hub for loyalty and gift cards.

Scanning a barcode or typing in a code found on a plastic card creates a digital replica of a card that’s then redeemed as a QR code scanned by a store’s employee.

The problem with Amazon’s loyalty push is that not every retailer has the technology in cash registers to accept the electronic cards. Walgreens, Starbucks and Target have all invested in card-scanning technology, but there are still plenty of retailers, particularly smaller merchants, that don’t have the technology to support digital loyalty cards.

Another Shot for Second-Screen Marketing
Fire Phone also extends Amazon’s X-Ray technology that it’s built out across its tablet, phone and TV products.

X-Ray essentially gives users access to information about the piece of content that they are watching or reading without having to stop and find it online. In the case of Amazon Fire, the phone syncs up with Amazon’s FireTV product so that the phone displays information about a show that’s currently airing.

Amazon’s technology is not widespread enough to affect the majority of TV or phone owners, but it could be a threat for marketers pushing second-screen apps like Shazam and Viggle. Similar to FireFly, the technology is directly integrated into the phone. Second-screen advertising has traditionally struggled to take off, but it’s an area that continues to generate interest from marketers because of the opportunities to sync up TV and digital ads.

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