Amazon rolls out virtual vacation tours that include shopping
Amazon has introduced Amazon Explore, which allows consumers to virtually take classes, tour exotic places and (surprise, surprise) shop at exotic locales.
Consumers can book one-on-one live-streamed sessions with local tour guides, instructors and personal shoppers. Most sessions last from 30 to 60 minutes. Prices range from as low as $10 for some shopping sessions to as high as $210.
Among the 86 experiences currently being offered across categories:
- Cultures & Landmarks: Virtually tour the Berlin Wall ($99), a 500-year-old mansion in Peru ($70) or Mexico City’s urban art scene ($47). Amazon’s says the experience will enable participants to “see famous landmarks or discover quiet corners where only locals go.”
- Learning & Creativity: Learn how to tango from the streets of Argentina ($90), throw a home sushi party from Tokyo ($49) or make Montreal-style bagels ($129). This options will enable participants to “learn skills from picture taking to empanada making and more.”
- Shopping: Virtually shop for traditional arts and crafts from Old Town Ljubljana in Slovenia ($69), for cookware from Tokyo’s Kitchen Town ($45) or for wooden boxes and bowls at a gallery in Costa Rica ($45). “Browse boutiques and markets to find one-of-a-kind items you can’t get anywhere else,” according to Amazon.
The sessions are interactive and customizable. Users can ask questions of the host or even a shop owner. Participants can direct the host to spend more time on one part of a tour or lesson and skip another, and take screenshots throughout the experience.
In-session shopping is available across many experiences. Purchased items are charged to the individual’s Amazon account and shipped out by the session’s host.
Amazon is recruiting hosts “to share what you love and get paid to do it.” Amazon Explore is currently in beta and only available to U.S. customers by invite.
Amazon Explore merges a number of virtual offerings that have loomed larger amid the global pandemic, including online cooking classes from stores and one-on-one virtual shopping from social networks and retailers, including Amazon Live. With restrictions placed on travel, major tour companies have introduced a number of virtual tours, although most don’t offer opportunities to shop for souvenirs.
- Amazon Explore – Amazon.com
- Amazon Explore offers livestreamed classes, tours and shopping – Engadget
- Amazon launches a virtual tours and experience platform, Amazon Explore –TechCrunch
- You Can Now Book Virtual Travel Experiences on Amazon – The Washington Post
- Amazon jumps into virtual tourism, offering live one-on-one experiences around the world – Geekwire
- Amazon’s new virtual classes and sightseeing tours are invite-only for now – Business Insider
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you think virtual shopping at faraway locales will hold appeal for American consumers? Do you expect rival retailers or companies in other industries to offer similar programs to Amazon Explore?