Amazon has announced a new way to access its store via an app. The company is offering an API that developers can use to offer physical goods from Amazon, even using one-click purchases from within their applications.
The potential for this type of in-app purchase can range from purchasing a calendar while in a calendar app to actually buying a physical version of something an in-game character is wearing. For the most part, this feature will allow developers to easily offer goods to users without making them search for a specific product outside of the app.
Depending on the amount developers sell each month, the in-app affiliate system will provide them with 4 percent to 6 percent commission. These rates are comparable to the regular desktop affiliate system that Amazon has made extremely over the past few years, with Web sites including "buy from Amazon" links on various products.
Developers will have to opt-in to the new program by downloading a small piece of software and selecting which products they are going to sell from within their application. The process is similar to the original Amazon affiliate system, which required users to select which goods they wanted to sell before including links on their Web site or service.
The products available range from digital goods to real physical products. Amazon is offering the new mobile affiliate API to Android developers first, but an iOS expansion could be available in the near future. Luckily, this applies to all Android developers, not just developers making applications for the Kindle Fire.
Amazon Appstore Vice President Mike George provided an example of how this program might work for an actual application.
"Imagine a developer of a nutrition and fitness app can now offer their customers the ability to purchase vitamins, supplements and fitness gear within the app, directly from Amazon.com," George said. "It offers the a more relevant experience and provides the developer with a new source of revenue."
Ahead of Facebook
Facebook was seen as the most significant threat toward Amazon's new affiliate system, but as of a few days ago, the social network has moved away from selling physical items. Facebook was attempting to offer the ability to sell products such as teddy bears and cupcakes from within its services but experienced few sales.
Instead of actually selling products, Facebook Goods will focus on selling digital gift codes and Facebook gift cards, which were already making up 80% of all the goods sold by Facebook. Since gift cards cost far less to ship and support, it makes sense that the company decided to move away from larger products.
With Amazon practically the sole provider of physical in-app purchases, it will have a significant amount of control over the market.