Amazon Adds Ability to Buy Goods From Within Mobile Apps

Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) said it’s introducing a feature that will let people shop for goods from within mobile applications.

Software developers will be able to create games, sports, weather and other apps that sell products from Amazon, either inside the app or by linking to Amazon’s Web store, the Seattle-based company said in a statement today.

While consumers could buy digital goods such as game features and magazines via in-app purchasing, Amazon has only previously tested the sale of physical products through the same channel. The new initiative gives Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos more opportunities to sell merchandise while letting software developers earn a commission of up to 6 percent from the online retailer for any sales they generate.

“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,” Mike George, Amazon’s vice president in charge of games, app store and cloud drive, said in the statement.

Days of Wonder Inc., a games company, said it’s introducing a new version of its “Ticket to Ride” mobile app that will also let users buy the board game via Amazon. In some cases, users will be able to buy both the physical and digital versions of a game as a single package.

Amazon gave developers the ability to add in-app purchasing for digital content in April 2012, matching a feature already offered by Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Google Inc. (GOOG) Walt Disney Co., Conde Nast Inc., Gameloft SE (GFT) and Dow Jones & Co. were some of the first participants in Amazon’s program.

Physical, Digital

Eric Hautemont, CEO of Los Altos, California-based Days of Wonder, said the physical and digital versions of games are complementary. When the company released the iPad version of “Ticket to Ride,” sales of the board game jumped 30 percent. When the iPhone version came out, they jumped another 30 percent, he said.

“Our expectation is going to be a significantly greater conversion rate from people that have never played Ticket to Ride and discover the Kindle version, and end up buying the physical board game as a result,” Hautemont said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Danielle Kucera in San Francisco at dkucera6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net

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