Without the pandemic, Amazon Explore may never have come to fruition. At least not this early. With featured experiences, live-streaming, and virtual getaways all-the-rage right now, Amazon Explore is set to become the next hot digital tourism destination.
Leveraging their power, Amazon is hiring chefs, art teachers, and travel guides to host sessions on their virtual experience platform. The hosts bring their experience, craftsmanship, or knowledge to you on your computer or phone, taking you to Toyko, Melbourne, or Mexico with the simplicity of selecting Two-Day Shipping.
About the platform, Amazon has stated that “the service fills the need to quickly and conveniently connect with people, places, and activities across the world that spark curiosity and capture the imagination. [We believe] this need is not temporary, and it will not go away when the health crisis and social distancing guidelines subside.
Amazon Explore is similar to AirBnB’s Online Experiences platform, with a few unique twists.
Let’s take a deeper dive into how Amazon Explore is poised to disrupt the virtual tourism and online retail industries and beyond.
How Does Amazon Explore Work?
First and foremost, Amazon Explore is a virtual experience platform. Amazon provides a marketplace of vendors selling services, and those service-vendors may also sell products. For instance, a Mexican taco- and tortillas-making class may suggest purchasing a tortilla press directly from the vendor’s AmazonSeller account, before, during, or after the experience.
“Explore is designed to complement, rather than replace, traditional travel,” says Amazon.
And the program is by no means ready to replace traditional jobs, either. Explore is exclusive, meaning that the guides are curated and trained by Amazon. Revenues are reportedly not enough to fulfill a full-time income, but part of the power of Amazon Explore comes with being able to leverage the industry giant’s audience platform.
While Amazon does take commission from virtual tours and experiences, product sales, on the other hand, are 100% paid to their Explore Guides. And though the products don’t need to be sold directly through Amazon, Amazon is responsible for payment processing.
“My Amazon Explore experience took me to Tokyo where I spent an hour touring local shops with my host. The live session was interactive and allowed me to have a natural conversation with my host while taking photos throughout the tour. The coolest aspect of my experience was being able to buy anything (and everything) in the local shops that we walked through. Everything that I bought arrived at my front door less than a week later. I highly recommend Amazon Explore and its many different experiences!”
– Mark Russo, Specialist, Marketplace Operations, at Tinuiti
Selling Services on Amazon Explore
Like AirBnB’s platform, Amazon Explore provides a great network for sharing your services, hobbies, and passion with the world. For people who want to buy experiences, Explore is a great way to try out a new hobby, see a new part of the world, or even meet new people from different walks of life.
There are some key points, however, to keep in mind when learning more about the service–as either a host or participant.
- Hosts set their own prices, ranging from US$10 to US$200. This price range will likely expand as more experiences are added.
- Sessions are generally 30 minutes to an hour.
- Many sessions are international, with a select few in the United States.
- Hosts can overlay images on their video stream.
- Video is streamed through the host’s phone or another device. There are not virtual reality experiences available at this time.
- Booking, payment, and other logistics are handled directly through Amazon
- Currently, there are no options to tip hosts.
Selling Products on Amazon Explore
While Amazon Explore does sell services, classes, and experiences, vendors can also sell their products via the platform. Amazon Explore is slowly becoming yet another way for Amazon Sellers and small businesses to pitch their products to more intimate audiences. Here’s a deeper dive into how selling products on Amazon Explore looks.
- Amazon uses their own platform to host experiences.
- Customers can click on the screen to show hosts which buildings they want to visit, or choose which items they’d like to purchase when visiting a marketplace.
- Customers can also take virtual photos, with the images available to download later.
- Amazon handles payment processing for local goods.
- Purchased items are shipped directly to customers, not through Amazon’s fulfillment system.
Tips and Tricks for Amazon Explore
If you’re interested in Amazon Explore, or are seeing if the program could help your product strategy, here are a few of the big ideas about Amazon to keep in mind.
As businesses start to come back from Covid-19, many companies will discover that their audience, customer base, and business model have changed dramatically. In order to truly understand the current state of Amazon, we must take a closer look at innovations in Amazon marketing compared to last year.