Amazon enables app-based shopping on Fire TV

Dive Brief:

  • Amazon has rolled out an app allowing consumers to shop through their Amazon Fire TV gadgets, similar to an app it created late last year to allow Apple TV users to shop Amazon through their TVs, according to TechCrunch.

  • The app allows Fire TV users to search for items by typing in text, with the ability to filter your search results by department, and use many of the other shopping features and functions inherent to the Amazon website, such as the ability to add items to a wish list, view customer reviews and product recommendations, choose from saved payment methods and select shipping options.

  • The app, which has not yet officially been announced by Amazon, doesn’t allow Fire TV owners to use the platform’s voice navigation capabilities to search and shop for products within the new app, TechCrunch reported.

Dive Insight:

The new Fire TV app sounds similar to the shopping app Amazon rolled out for the Apple TV tvOS in December, although that app was only for Amazon Prime members, and it is not clear whether this one is limited to Prime members or not.

In any case, gaining the ability to shop on Amazon through a Fire TV using a Fire TV remote control is interesting, but not really exciting. Why? For starters, the new app doesn't sound like it offers a significantly different shopping experience. Yes, it's one more way for consumers to shop Amazon in the privacy of their own homes, yet there's not necessarily a compelling reason why shoppers would choose to use this app through a TV rather than simply using other devices to shop Amazon — desktop PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones (not necessarily in that order.) 

It would be nice if the app did let you do something new and different, like shop Amazon while watching videos or looking at photos through Amazon Fire TV. Being able to shop for items in the images, or search for similar items like could be an intriguing feature. A Mr. Porter shoppable app for Apple TV launched last year already offers something like that, and Amazon itself is already exploring the notion of special shoppable films to be made with major advertiser partners.

Amazon's new app could be more interesting if there are future plans to integrate the e-commerce giant's voice assistant. If users could ask Alexa to conduct shopping searches for them and show options through Fire TV, the TV would serve as a good visual addition to the smart assistant. Not only is Alexa not involved in this app, for now, consumers apparently also can't use the Fire TV voice-activated remote to drive shopping searches through the app.

There is a lot that Amazon has yet to reveal about the app, but from initial appearances, it looks more like an effort to ensure consumers can shop Amazon from absolutely everywhere than it looks like an effort to introduce something new that leverages the specific capabilities of Fire TV.

Filed Under: Technology Marketing E-commerce Mobile Commerce
Top image credit: Amazon