Amazon is launching Amazon Explore, a new service that allows us to book live, interactive experiences led by local experts. Experiences may concentrate on imagination, learning DIY skills, taking virtual tours of distant places or cultural landmarks, or, in some instances, shopping from around the world in local boutiques.
Each remote experience features a local host that allows us to read, shop, and explore new places right on Amazon.com.
It’s simple to have a virtual experience with Amazon:
Select your experience, Schedule a session, and your host will connect with you on Amazon.com when it’s time.
Choose from online shopping experiences, online food tours, historical and cultural tours, and other fun things to do from Amazon’s curated collection.
The sessions themselves vary from 30 to 60 minutes and can be cancelled or rescheduled with a notice of up to 24 hours. You can simply sign into your Amazon account online when it’s time to start your tour, then click on Your Session page from the “Your Orders” section to get started.
Local experts who are qualified and funded by Amazon will direct the virtual experiences themselves, the firm says. Although there are other ways of remotely exploring the globe, such as watching YouTube videos or even taking guided tours via Google Earth, the experience of Amazon Explore is different because it is a one-on-one session between the host and the user, allowing real-time communication via one-way video and two-way audio.
Some interactions, but not all, are also shopping-enabled. In these cases , consumers can visit local stores and markets, browse products, and ask the shop owner ‘s questions as if they were in person there. They may then opt to make a purchase and receive the goods they have ordered as if they were shopping directly on Amazon.com. When they make a purchase, the payments are done using the payment method associated with the customer’s account inside Amazon’s secure payment system. Then it will reimburse accordingly the host for the item purchased.
Amazon says the new platform offers small business owners more chances to produce extra profits, including shop owners, local guides, cooks, stylists, designers and craftsmen, for instance. The pandemic, of course, has affected many of these firms, which could cause their involvement.
At launch, Local tour operators are providing many of the experiences on the offered site but any business that has a tour concept is encouraged to apply. Historians, artists, musicians, master craftsmen, chefs, personal shoppers or anyone with a talent or adventure to share are others who could host experiences, Amazon says.
In 16 countries, there are currently 86 total experiences available, with the intention to extend the range in time.
Now the feature is being offered in public beta to users in the U.S. on an invite-only basis.