Is the bathroom Amazon’s next frontier?
Identifying and capitalizing on previously unexplored consumer behaviors seems to be a go-to strategy for Amazon these days, as the company rolls out new offering after new offering to see what sticks. With its Amazon Lockers, its one-hour delivery and its talking in-house personal shopper, Amazon Echo, to name a few, Amazon is attempting to further engrain the company into peoples’ habits and daily schedules.
Amazon now appears to be going where few other businesses have ventured. In December, the company revealed plans to address a consumer behavior that, while uncomfortable for some to acknowledge, is an unavoidable reality of the information age.
Smartphones and laptops have replaced books and magazines as peoples’ primary time-burner while they (to put it politely) powder their noses. And so Amazon has partnered with Procter & Gamble to target interactive ads at people using public bathrooms, a previously untapped — and one might say captive — audience.
A Money article reports that the advertisements, placed in public bathrooms in various U.S. cities, will feature barcodes that can be scanned by a smartphone with the Amazon app to redeem coupons for bathroom-related items like toothpaste and toilet paper, as well as other products such as batteries and paper towels. The campaign, called "Stall Mall," is using the tagline, "Sit, Shop and Save."
A recent Charmin survey, CNN reported, showed a third of Americans like to be "productive" while on the toilet. Thirteen percent of people who have shopped on the toilet have bought household items.
While there’s no doubt the rollout is intentionally irreverent, the data on bathroom mobile usage is no joke. According to a Daily Mail article from 2012, "in a study of mobile phone habits, about 75 percent of those questioned admitted to surfing the web, using apps, emailing and texting while in the toilet." Mobile device usage has no doubt increased markedly since then, and bathroom usage has presumably remained constant.
Tech innovations, too, may soon make initiatives like Amazon’s Stall Mall sound less silly. Over the past few years, technology researchers from various camps have been trying to figure out how to generate lots of revenue from bathroom time.
According to an ExtremeTech article, The New York Times Research & Development Lab was working on using a Kinect camera to allow people to surf the web and click on advertisements from their bathroom mirrors. Gizmag reports that researchers from the Koike Laboratory at Tokyo’s University of Electro-Communications have created an "Aquatop" display, which allows users to interact online with a display that projects onto a body of water — as in bathwater.
- Amazon: Shop while you’re in the toilet – Money
- When nature calls! Three-quarters of people admit to using mobile phone while on the toilet – Daily Mail
- Amazon: Shop while you’re in the toilet – CNN
- The New York Times’ magic mirror will bring shopping to the bathroom – ExtremeTech
- AquaTop Display brings immersive entertainment to your bathroom – Gizmag
Will the Stall Mall be a success for Amazon and will we see similar initiatives from others? Does the potential to reach consumers in bathrooms offer opportunities beyond the sale of household items?