Amazon presents: Amazon Explore
The Seattle giant introduces new platform dedicated to digital traveling experiences
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While modern consumers are no longer strangers to digital experiences, the lockdown and social distancing measures have accelerated a shift to fully digitalized lives. With events, bars, sports, games and most of all – travels being cancelled, the digital alternatives have been largely adopted by the consumers as well as the brands.
While travelling has come to a near standstill during this lockdown period, the technology allowed the consumers to visit almost any place on the planet in the blink of an eye. The virtual lessons, tours and exploring world using screens has grown in importance as the consumers were looking for compelling experiences and valuable content that would fill the void from art, restaurants, tours and voyages. Facing that fact, Amazon (as always) seizes the opportunity and launches Amazon Explore – a new online platform letting its clients to explore the world at their fingertips.
But First it was Airbnb
The pandemic has devasted the travel and tourism industry and Airbnb was one of the first to be hit. As a response, the platform offered a large variety of virtual experiences that people can engage from home during the lockdown.
Fancy to spend one day with a shark scientist from South Africa? Or maybe you prefer to learn how to dance like a K-Pop star? Airbnb Online Experiences enables that, and many more including bartending, cooking classes, virtual bike tours, Asian makeup tutorials, fortune reading, drawing lessons or even comedy shows.
Conducted in live interactive sessions over Zoom by guides around the world, the small group of digital tourists stuck at home (or in their country) can participate in sort of binge-experiencing through Airbnb Online Experiences tool.
The hosts include small business owners, entrepreneurs and creatives who want to connect with global travellers online and share their passions.
Airbnb has therefore introduced a new way for consumers around the world to attend off-the-beaten-path events from their couches, and the company continues to express digitally the brand’s purpose – to explore the world like a local and belong everywhere.
Then comes Amazon Explore
While Airbnb Online Experiences expresses the brand’s purpose shifted to digital, Amazon Explore is less obvious. The launch of a new experiential platform from the giant of Seattle is perhaps not the move some might have expected itinually from Amazon, but the e-commerce giant is just making another silent move into the travel and leisure industry (ex. the launch of flight booking in India via Amazon).
Thus, by the end of September, Amazon presents its brand new platform for authentic online experiences via interactive video streams, tours with guides, instructors and personal shoppers providing one-on-one sessions.
Shopping the local treasures along the way
The new platform called Amazon Explore is based on the same concept as Airbnb Online Experiences and is promising interactive experiences live-streamed from all over the globe -“the world at your fingertips”. The experiences are focused on a variety of topics from creativity, DIY skills, taking virtual tours far-off places or, a novelty – shopping from local boutiques around the world. In the shopping-enabled experiences, customers are able to virtually visit local stores and market, to browse the items and ask the shop owner the questions as if they were there in person.
Whether you fancy shopping handmade gifts and accessories made by local women in Peru or prefer the virtual exploration of Kyoto’s traditional Higashiyama neighbourhood, the whole process of shopping is Amazon simple. The clients can buy souvenirs and receive the items they purchased as if they had been shopping on Amazon.com directly.
According to TechCrunch, Amazon says that the new platform enables more opportunities for small business owners looking to generate additional income, including shop owners, local guides, chefs, stylists, artists and artisans. Many of them have been impacted by the pandemic and they can now turn to Amazon to keep its activity alive globally.
Why is it interesting?
Even though Amazon Explore is currently in beta mode and the virtual experiences are only available on invitation (users must make a request to the host of each experience), Amazon Explore is somehow combining two trends into one. In the shopping-enabled experiences, Amazon is somewhat tapping into the live-stream shopping trend, but instead of having an influencer talk, Amazon takes an example from Airbnb, in order to keep it more authentic and more locally empowered. The user from Seattle can actually ask the shop owner from Marrakesh the questions about the product as he was there.
And while there are many other ways to virtually tour the world – like taking guided tours via Google Earth or simply watching Youtube and social media threads, Amazon searches to create something more authentic and immersive. An interesting experiment in an era of pandemic disruption, one where customers are expecting from the brands to be relevant and provide meaningful and unique experiences. Amazon once again marks its relentless focus on the customer experience, and once again it might create the Amazon-effect in the travel and leisure industry, as the giant from Seattle is silently entering the game.
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