Amazon Fire Phone – Should retailers be concerned?

With the recent introduction of the Amazon Fire Phone, it begs the question for retailers – should we be concerned about its impact on our business?

My answer to that question is “probably not, but maybe.” Let me explain…

We have researched the Amazon Fire Phone and recently published a white paper with in-depth analysis of the phone’s features and the impact on retail. Download the white paper:

WHITE PAPER: Amazon Fire Phone – Should retailers be concerned?

My take on the Amazon Fire Phone

There is nothing really special about the physical Amazon Fire phone itself – it is all about the app. The app that is getting a lot of attention is Firefly.

About Firefly

The Firefly app is designed to let you identify and shop online for things you see out in the real world. Using the smartphone’s camera activated by a dedicated Firefly button, the Firefly app lets you identify things like phone numbers, movies, books, games, CDs, food and more just by pointing your camera at them. Firefly is capable of recognizing over 70 million items. Once items are identified, the app provides links to product details and pricing options on

Firefly will amplify showrooming

Amazon intends to use the Firefly app as a means to facilitate showrooming at the evaluation and purchase phase of the buying process and the ultimate goal is to have consumers purchase the products identified on

For commodity items that can be purchased at multiple retail chains and online merchants, showrooming can turn retail space into a well-organized trial area for consumers before they do comparison-shopping online. This showrooming effect does not impact private label merchandising that is exclusively available only at the retail chain’s own branded stores.

Who should be concerned?

If you are a retailer that sells a high percentage of commodity merchandise that can be purchased at many other retail chains or at online commerce sites, you should be concerned. However, this will not impact those retail chains that focus on their own private label merchandise, which is only available for purchase at their branded stores or company Web site.

While this may not impact most retailers, this “scan and recognition” technology is very interesting and will present numerous other retail opportunities. It is definitely a technology to watch!

As always, I appreciate any feedback and additional thoughts you have on this topic. Please share your comments below.


Ken Morris

Ken was CEO and President of LakeWest Group and founder of CFT Consulting and CFT Systems, a retail software company. Earlier in his career, he held retail information technology executive positions at Lord & Taylor, Filene’s (Macy’s), Talbots, Stop & Shop Supermarket Company, and Sears. His experience is with strategy, selection development and deployment of retail management systems and processes.


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