Amazon Teams with Android Developers to Bring One-Click Shopping to Consumers

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The line between e-commerce and entertainment is blurring again: Amazon today is launching a system that lets developers sell physical products through third-party Android apps. To put it another way, consumers will be able to buy stuff from Amazon from within an app on their Android phone without taking the trouble to visit Amazon’s storefront.

Although it’s early days, Amazon’s developer partners already have a few apps ready to go. The BabyBump app, for example, has everything you’d expect from a pregnancy app, including a weekly journal, information about the pre- and post-natal process, and a social network. And of course, BabyBump will allow users to buy pregnancy- and baby-related products.

Amazon has made the development process as simple as possible for developers and has already signed up nearly two dozen. Using the Amazon API greatly simplifies the sales and development process; there’s just one vendor to deal with and one piece of code to deploy.

The system also lets sellers of physical merchandise bundle digital content alongside it at the point of sale. For example, if you buy a certain version of the board game Ticket to Ride, you’ll now be able to get the digital version of the game for free via an app which uses the API.

To use the system, customers will initiate a purchase within a third-party app, and a dialog box will pop up with product details and pricing. The familiar “1-Click” system lets the buyer complete the transaction. Developers who sell products through the new API will earn up to a six percent commission on sales, which is added to their earnings from distribution of the app.

The new APIs are platform agnostic and will work across all Android devices, including the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon-powered smart phones. Because the system will be embedded into existing apps, users won’t need to download anything new (aside from updating their apps) in order to start seeing the Amazon sales offers.

For app developers looking for better ways to generate income from their apps, this could be dramatic and welcome news. In-app advertising has not been terribly successful at driving revenues for developers, which has left them with only two other revenue stream possibilities: Selling their app for cash up front (which is always difficult, especially for an untested brand), and selling in-app upgrades (which aren’t always an option for every type of app).

The ability to sell physical merchandise easily means that just about any developer will be able to add a new and much-needed revenue stream to their app. Now a cooking app can sell kitchen knives and artisanal olive oil. Or a travel app can sell offline guidebooks with just a couple of taps.

For consumers, the picture may be about to change just as dramatically. While users have become accustomed to the come-ons of advertising crawls and pop-ups, these could very well be replaced by promotional sales links instead. The endgame is the possibility that every product you see mentioned in an app could eventually become available to buy. Better watch where you tap.

This story, "Amazon Teams with Android Developers to Bring One-Click Shopping to Consumers" was originally published by BrandPost.