Amazon.com is big enough to try things that other retailers would find too risky. Over the years it has developed many groundbreaking payment technologies and revolutionized e-commerce, but not all of its ideas have done well.
Its 1-Click system has been a game-changer for the online checkout process. Other retailers have sought to emulate Amazon's user-friendly checkout system, and Apple has licensed the company's 1-Click patent and trademark for use with its online store.
By harvesting various types of data, the company for many years has used technology to gain helpful insights on customers, buying patterns and products they might like. Indeed, more than a third of the company's sales come from recommendations.
Hosting Other Sellers
After ironing out some early wrinkles, Amazon has prospered from hosting other sellers on its website. Third-party sellers accounted for more than 40 percent of the total units sold on Amazon in 2014, according to company data published in January.
The Firefly software, which runs on Amazon phones and tablets, can scan its surroundings and identify products by look or sound. It then directs users to the product's listing on Amazon's website, whether it's a physical item such as a book or a digital item such as a TV episode.
The limitation of the WiFi-connected product is that each button is specific to the brand on its label. A button for mac-and-cheese cannot be repurposed for reordering rolls of toilet paper. Nevertheless, customers can now use the Dash button from over 500 products from 29 brands.
Amazon Local Register
The functionality Amazon's discontinued mobile card reader provided paled in comparison to Square's offering in every aspect other than its price.
While it's yet another gadget that consumers must pay a hefty price to own Amazon typically lists it at $179 it brings the retailer directly into a customer's home and enables orders to be placed with a simple spoken command.
Amazon Wallet App
Amazon quietly launched its Amazon Wallet beta in late July 2014 and pulled the product from market six months later. It allowed users to store and manage gift and loyalty cards, but not credit or debit cards. Many viewed this limitation as a nail in the app's coffin.