"Omnichannel is dead," says Amazon VP of Payments Patrick Gauthier.
Instead, the future of commerce, he believes, is all about connected devices and the personalization that can be enabled via those devices and less about the dichotomy of offline and online.
"Moving forward, it's all about connected and not connected — not in-store or online," he said. “And not contextual commerce but personal commerce. The difference between contextual commerce and personal commerce is the emotional dimension," Gauthier concluded.
A concept that Amazon’s recent launch with luxury online clothing curator Moda Operandi is putting into practice.
The Amazon-Moda partnership enables online shoppers to start their experience at Moda’s Web store and finish at its New York or London emporiums when runway selections are ready. Shoppers visiting Moda’s site are invited to “log in using Amazon” when they land on the home page and go shopping, which also then registers that fashionista to pay for those items using her Amazon account when her shopping is completed.
For consumers who wish to pick up their items in one of Moda’s physical locations, powered by Amazon’s connected smartphone app and utilizing beacon technology, sales associates at the Moda store will be notified when a shopper has arrived to try on clothes selected online. Those personal shoppers can also see all of the items a customer may have browsed or liked and help guide them to other in-store purchases. When the customer is ready to check out, their purchase is made using their connected Amazon account and stored credentials.
"What we showed with Moda is that you can thread these connected experiences together so that, for the consumer, it's on journey, and it's no longer channel this or channel that. It's just one experience, where we've removed friction," Gauthier said.
And made highly personal.
But to say that this new partnership is about helping consumers "shop the runway" using Amazon’s payments credentials misses the larger point, Gauthier says. When it comes to enabling commerce, Gauthier says too many companies worry too much about delivering the best payment experience. For Amazon, he said it's about putting the customer first then working back to see how payments and commerce makes her shopping experience easy anywhere she happens to be.
"I am focusing on how to [use payments to] optimize for the commerce experience," he emphasized.
Gauthier emphasizes that, for both Moda and Amazon, the “log in with Amazon” feature extends the Amazon ecosystem of trust in a way that gives consumers a connection to Moda via Amazon's ecosystem that they may not otherwise have had — and vice versa.
Moda and the designers that it features in its marketplace, Gauthier says, have ready access to its 300 million+ worldwide customer base and an easy way to make checkout happen when they check into the site. Making, as Gauthier says, “check-in as the new checkout.”
Amazon, with Moda, Gauthier says, extends the Amazon ecosystem of trust to a new marketplace where it can discover new commerce opportunities. Gauthier says that neither he nor Moda want the consumer to think "I am transacting with Amazon" but instead "I am transacting with people I trust, in part, because Amazon is involved."
It’s early days — less than two weeks into the launch — but already Gauthier says that there’s evidence that the “ecosystem of trust” has some merit. Roughly 25 percent of sales on Moda’s site are via the log in and Pay with Amazon option.
"It's not omnichannel. It's personal commerce," Gauthier said. “We can help merchants deliver this next-generation commerce experience because we are helping them connect with new customers using a set of credentials and commerce identities that the consumer is familiar with and is comfortable in using."