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Amazon uses augmented reality, search to drive sales

Amazon is continuing to grab its piece of the mobile pie by integrating augmented reality and search into an iPhone application.

Amazon’s, a search service, has released the Flow app that lets consumers comparison shop for items in-store with Amazon’s inventory. The goal behind the app is to leverage’s search functionalities and drive traffic to Amazon’s site.

“Flow makes it easy for users to explore and discover information about objects in their physical surroundings,” said Stacey Keller, spokeswoman at Amazon, Seattle.

“Upon recognition of a product, the app provides product information, including the option to play multimedia content, read customers reviews or purchase the item,” she said.

Find me a deal
Consumers can use’s Flow app while shopping by pointing their iPhone camera at an item in stores.

The app can scan books, consumer packaged goods, DVDs and video games.

If the product has a UPC code, the app scans the code and looks for it on

The app then brings up a preview screen with a picture and details of the item.

Consumers can then check that the item is in stock and purchase it from their Amazon account.

Users can also read reviews and see related products.

Additionally, the app plays multimedia clips for items such as CDs.

Here is an example of how the app plays sound clips and recommends similar products

Consumers can then share their finds via email, Facebook and Twitter.

“Augmented reality, combined with’s large selection of products, makes it easier than ever to discover and identify products of interest from wherever you are,” Ms. Keller said.

Welcome to the jungle
Amazon is making it clear that it is a prime player in the mobile industry and is building repertoire around an app-focused strategy.

Most recently, Amazon rolled out an iPhone app for the company’s online retailer (see story).

With the Flow app specifically, Amazon is building on its reputation as being a leading ecommerce retailer and is smart to release the app right before the holiday shopping season.

By using as a launch point to the app, Amazon is also proving that it takes its search functionalities seriously and wants to move them into the mobile space.

“Mobile is another tool for customers to get quick and easy access to product information, customer reviews and Amazon prices in the easiest form,” Ms. Keller said.

“We want to make it easy for people to discover and research products, whenever and wherever they want,” she said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York