Amazon Mobile Sales Eclipse $1 Billion

July 23, 2010Sparxoo

Amazon customers spent more than $1 billion via mobile devices in the past 12 months, including sales by Kindle and other mobile devices. The deeper story here is how Amazon was able to engage and monetize users to amass $1 billion in sales and how you, in your unique business or marketing situation, can also leverage mobile to build meaningful relationships with your audience.

In today’s world, smart phones are the mobile connection to our social and business lives. We use iPhones, Blackberries and Droids to map directions, stay connected to social streams, find new restaurants, read reviews in-store before making a purchase, keep entertained and informed on long commutes, relax with some music or do business with email. Not to sound too hyperbolic, but mobile is our digital everything.

For brands, it’s not good enough to simply have a presence on mobile devices, via apps. Brands need to create return usage. Amazon’s strategy for creating return usage is smart because it offers near real-time price comparison feature requires mobile users to return to the app in order to find the best deal. For users, if they want to get a product at a great price, on say a new computer, they need to have access to the latest prices and reviews via Amazon’s app.

If we take a look other successful mobile apps on the iPhone, many of them share a common thread with Amazon: they create a compelling reason to return.

  • Street Fighter IV, one of the top grossing games in the iPhone App Store, enables users to battle each other to be the ultimate Street Fighter. I want a rematch Coffee102!
  • Kingdoms Live, which reached number three in the iPhone App Store, is a real-time mobile game where users battle and invest in land to earn money, experience and ultimately level up. If you don’t check your game for a couple of days, you will start losing revenue from land and be attacked by other community members.
  • FourSquare incentivizes users to check-in by awarding heavy users badges and discounts. Thank you Starbucks, the Frappuccino was fantastic!
  • Reuters gives users the most up-to-date business news, so if you want to be on top of your game, you have to check the app throughout the day.
  • Words with Friends, with nearly 25,000 user ratings in the iPhone App Store, enables users to play Scrabble (although it’s not called Scrabble due to copyright) with friends and random other Words with Friends players.

In today’s mobile world, as Amazon can attest to, it’s not good enough to simply push your message. You need to create pull, much like how FourSquare requires users to check in if they want to be mayor of their favorite locations, or Kingdoms Live forces users to manage their profiles if they are to keep their gold, or Words with Friends if users are going to beat their college room mate in a wordsmithing battle.

How can you create pull, or in other words, make users need to open, re-open and open your app again and again? Are there discounts (think FourSquare), a real-time game that revolves around your brand (Street Fighter) or penalties for not checking in (Kingdoms Live)?