Friday, August 7, 2009


I have seen the future of retail and it is my phone.

Today, Amazon announced an Amazon Market app for the Android. (There's one for the iPhone, too.)

You point the camera at the barcode of an item and push a button. It scans the barcode, then looks to see whether Amazon stocks the item. If so, it puts the item onto your wish list, so you can buy it (or so someone else can buy it for you).

What would you pay? But wait. There's more.

If Amazon doesn't have your item, they offer another option. Select the other button, and your camera takes a picture of the item, sends it up to Amazon, and a minute or less later, Amazon tells you *similar* items that they stock. And puts them on your wish list.

How do they do this? Is it OCR? Is it image recognition? Is it Amazon Mechanical Turk? I have no idea.

And, frankly, who cares?

They make it easy to buy. From them. This is brilliant. Better even than the browser-based "Buy this together with ...." Better even than "You might also be interested in." Better even than "People who bought this item also bought ...."

I have seen the future of retail and it is my phone.

No comments: