Amazon has launched a new service named Amazon Explore. It allows users to experience live, virtual tours conducted by experts in the area. Experiences may include DIY skills, virtual tours to various landmarks, shopping in local boutiques around the globe, creativity, etc.
An example of the Explore feature is booking a wine-tasting in Argentina, a virtual tour of the Nanzenji Temple, learning to make smoked fish tacos in Mexico, coffee in Costa Rica, get tutored virtually in making sushi at a home in Tokyo, etc. The tours and experiences give the user the ability to travel virtually all over the world. The option to sign up for Explore is available only on an invitation for customers of the U.S., for now.
According to Amazon, these virtual experiences will be led by experts in the region, and these experts will be trained by the company itself. The Amazon Explore differs from methods like watching videos on YouTube to take a virtual tour around the world. The Explore experience allows the user to have a one-on-one with a host. This session is enabled by two-way audio as well as one-way video to give the user a real-time experience. This feature will allow the user the feeling of actually being there and not watch a video passively on the screen.
Ranging from half-an-hour to one hour, the sessions can be rescheduled or canceled with a notice of 24 hours. At the appointed time, the user just needs to sign in to the Amazon account, go to the Orders section, and click on the Your Session page. The Explore virtual sessions will need a laptop or a desktop as the feature is not mobile-enabled as of now. The session will require Chrome, Safari, or Edge browsers. The user also needs to have a functional microphone, speakers or headphones, and an internet connection with a speed of 5mbps or more.
The session also allows the user the freedom to ask questions. The user also has the option of directing the experience, which means the user can request the host to spend more time on a particular aspect or skip another. The live stream will have a camera icon on the bottom, which allows the user to click pictures.
Some of these experiences also have the option of shopping. The user will be able to visit local markets, browse items, and talk to the shop owner as if in person. If the user shops for an item, it will be sent as though the item was bought from the Amazon website. Payments for any purchase are done through Amazon’s payment system. The host will then be reimbursed for the item purchased by the user.
According to Amazon, this platform is a great way to provide more opportunities to small businesses, artists, local guides, chefs, and others who have also been affected by the pandemic. The company also said that hosts decide their price and hours, without a need to stick to any limits. As of now, the company is offering 86 experiences from 16 countries.