Music is a huge seller in the mobile marketplace. Why carry a walkman or a discman when your phone can deliver high quality music to your £3.99 headphones? Hear a song you like on the radio, in a concert, from a busker singing – a few clicks and it’s on your phone ready to play.
At the moment, MNOs* rule the roost in terms of mobile music sales. Customers don’t want to type in their credit card number on a phone’s keypad. They’re also wary of risky premium rate, reverse billed SMS. They want ensured compatibility. That’s why MNO portals do so well – the charge goes straight on the customer’s bill. If there’s a problem, they know who to ring and complain.
Amazon, I think, changes that preconception. A customer probably already has a relationship with Amazon and trusts them. A customer can go straight to Amazon’s Mobile Site, log in and then purchase using the infamous 1-Click. A little up front complication (the logging in) is off-set by Amazon’s wishlisting, giftlisting, customer reviews, recommendations and silky-smooth interface.
Could Amazon change the mobile purchase marketplace in the same way that they revolutionised book-selling? MNO portals are traditionally locked gardens (only MNO customers get access; as opposed to walled gardens where customers can’t get out). Will competition from Amazon – and their inevitable imitators – radically alter the market? We’ve already seen DRM dropped from mobile music, a range of new subscription plans, and complex bundles – what next?
But, for now, potential Amazon customers simply see “This mobile site does not currently support the purchase of this item.” For how long, I wonder…?