Fun with apps: How Amazon is even more awesome than I realized

I’m a frequent Amazon shopper, but for some reason, I had never downloaded the Amazon app. I have bought items on Amazon using my phone, but I guess I accessed through Safari instead of using the app. I downloaded and explored the app today, and it has earned a permanent spot on my phone.

When the app opens, “Search” and “Shop by Department” options are at the top, followed by a few select products (which were different each time I opened the app as a guest), and sign-in and more navigational tools at the bottom. When I sign in with my Amazon account, those promoted products change to products recommended for me based on my account’s history.

amazon homepage
Obviously, I buy tech stuff on Amazon. The baby food house ad freaks me out a little.

Other than swiping left through the “Wireless Accessories,” this is all you can see on the home screen of the Amazon app. I love the simplicity of it compared to the home page of Amazon has so much to offer that they could have gone overboard listing products on the first screen in the app, but instead they kept it minimal and emphasized the search features.

And the app has some really cool search features. If you’re browsing, shopping by department is probably easiest. When you’re looking for something specific, there’s the search button at the top and the bottom, just in case you missed one or the other. But here’s where it gets cool: When you tap the search button, in addition to typing in your query, you also get the option to “Scan it” or “Flow.”

amazon search


You can probably imagine what “Scan It” does — and it does it very well. I tested it by scanning several items in my pantry, and the app correctly recognized the bar code so quickly, I couldn’t even take a screen shot of the barcode scanner.

Flow, I wasn’t familiar with. When I clicked Flow, it suggested that I focus my camera on a book, DVD or game, so I pulled this book off my bookshelf.

amazon flow
See those bluish dots? Those were moving around on the screen and fixated on the text — I guess so it could “read” the title — before the book result showed up at the bottom. WHAT IS THIS SPACE AGE WE LIVE IN.

I’m not sure how useful this would be within my own home. If I’m “flowing” books, movies or games in my house, that probably  means I already own them. But this is like the Shazaam for shopping out in the world. It allows you to quickly look up products on Amazon to compare prices. I can see the same use for the barcode scanner, in addition to just reordering items you’ve run out of.

Obviously, “Cart” and “Wish List” are useful items, but I won’t go into those since they’re self-explanatory. But I have to share the empty cart message:

Those Amazoners are so clever.
Those Amazoners are so clever.

And here’s what the “More” menu holds:

amazon more menu

Of course I had to check out the deals, and it being Amazon, there are lots of them. At first I didn’t think they were very well organized, but then I noticed an option to “Refine” the deals by category, which makes it much easier to see if there’s a deal on something I’m interested in.

Amazon is somewhat famous for its reviews, and I often look at Amazon’s reviews for a product even when I’m not buying it from Amazon. So what Amazon app would be complete without reviews on each product page? I hope you’ve heard of the reviews for Haribo Sugar-Free Gummy Bears


Last gushing point: I love the “One-Click” buying option. I realize this is also available on desktop, but I appreciate it even more on my phone. Once I’m signed in and have verified all the things I have to verify, being able to buy something without typing things as important as shipping addresses and credit card numbers using my phone’s keyboard is awesome.

Thanks, Amazon! Loving the app. Now get those drones running.


16 thoughts on “Fun with apps: How Amazon is even more awesome than I realized”

  1. Hi Julie. 🙂

    I can appreciate that Amazon has an app, because I rely on their reviews to conduct product research prior to making buying decisions. On the other hand, I downloaded the Kindle app to read e-books, and I access Amazon on my laptop, hence the reason it is not on my iPhone.

    The majority of my monetary transactions occur online, so it’s convenient to access an app or mobile friendly website. I say Amazon is on top of its game.


  2. I completely agree with this entire article. I have been an Amazon app user/lover for quite some time now, without ever using the desktop version. Being able to use my phone to quickly and easily get in touch with the seller to correct a problem has been great and handy lately. I fight with the decision to leave my ‘one-click’ button in use as it has caused me to buy things I was only browsing through. I have no need for an infant ‘onesie’ that says “Who Farted”, but the return was made simple because of the app! Take care Julie, enjoyed reading.

  3. I just got it and it’s a nice clean app. It’s also very dangerous. When I signed in it notified me that one-click shopping was enabled. With it being that easy to buy stuff I know I will be getting more stuff I really don’t need. I can also see stupid friends getting hold of my phone and using the app to buy weird random stuff with it. Thanks guys, I really needed that Three Wolf Shirt. Be sure to google that, the Amazon reviews are great.

    I guess this is just me and my buying habits but I doubt if I would use the bar code reader in a brick and mortar to find a better price online. At that point I’ve fought traffic, found a parking spot and I have the product right there in my hands. If I’m at that point I want it and I’m going to get it now. I would though use it to check out product reviews.

    1. HAHAHAHA. I think this one might be my fav Three Wolf Shirt review:
      “Unfortunately I already had this exact picture tattooed on my chest, but this shirt is very useful in colder weather.”
      GREAT stuff. My husband’s birthday is coming up… I think he might be getting a gag/incredible gift.

      One-click is definitely dangerous, but I love the convenience. If I’m too bad though, I may end up turning it off.

  4. Hey Julie,
    The Amazon app has a spot of my phone as well. I think it’s a great tool and compliment to the desktop Amazon site. I love the “Scan” feature when I’m out shopping. I can quickly see the price of the item on Amazon and also place an order all in one quick motion. It’s also nice to take the experience from desktop to mobile if you are logged into your account. Sometimes I will fill my cart on a desktop and then checkout a day later on my phone.
    My main problem with the app is the search feature. The app is fantastic if you have one product in mind or have narrowed it down to two different products. It’s not great if you know the product category of what you want and just want to do some research. I still prefer the desktop for product research. I guess this point can be made of most apps, but I definitely notice it when using Amazon’s.
    I remember when I came across a Buzzfeed article about the sugar free gummy bears a few weeks ago. It’s so great!
    Nice post!

    1. Thanks, Sean! I can see the mobile search being a problem if you’re not sure what you’re looking for. I think that’s not necessarily a problem with the app, but rather with the size of the screen versus the amount of information you’re attempting to consume when comparing products. I think you’re spot on when saying the app nicely complements the full site. The app could almost be a substitute… but not quite (for the heavier user).

  5. Hello. Once I downloaded that app, I have never gone back to the desktop version, which is very overwhelming and crowded. In terms of design, organization and configuration, I prefer it by far. I wasn’t familiar with the flow feature so I decided to try it. I pointed the camera lens to my laptop. After searching for 15 seconds, the result was a silicone keyboard cover that I purchased a while ago. I am not sure why I need that information if it’s saved in my history anyway, other than re-ordering? The Amazon app is a substitute for the desktop version and is easy shopping on the go!

    1. Other than price comparison while shopping and reordering, I can’t think of a whole lot of uses for Flow either — but I still geeked out over it because it’s just so cool. I don’t want to admit how many books I “flowed” just to play with the feature.

  6. Hey Julie,

    I actually am a lot like you, I am a frequent Amazon shopper but never used the app. Which is weird because I have Amazon Prime and have purchased through Safari. But I am definitely going to download it now because I compare prices all the time in stores, so now I know that the app will do it for me, it’s a win win. And from what it looks like, the app looks very similar to the site. Which is good because the site is very easy to navigate.

    Thanks for the tips and great post.

  7. Hi Julie,
    I’m glad you have now experienced the ease and joy that is the Amazon app! I use it frequently. I mostly conduct my amazon purchases online, simply because I find it easier and less error-prone on the larger screen, but I regularly use the app to check up on my purchases and compare prices of items. That being said, I was not familiar with the “Flow” search option until I read your post. It seems a little unnecessary, because I assume that all of the items that you could search via “Flow” would have a barcode that you could also scan, but it’s a very cool feature nonetheless!

    1. Yeah, I’m not sure that you could get much out of Flow that you couldn’t get from the barcode scanner. But I was just so impressed that my phone could “look” at the cover of a book and tell me what it is! I’m a sucker for useless but cool stuff. 🙂

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