Amazon today launches a new service called Amazon Explore that allows its customers to book virtual experiences with the help of experts. Experiences can focus on creativity, learning DIY skills, taking virtual tours of remote places or cultural sights or, in some cases, shopping at local boutiques around the world.
For example, you could book a virtual wine tasting experience in Argentina, learn how to make smoked fish taco in Mexico, take a virtual tour of Kyoto Nanzenji Temple, browse a 500-year-old mansion in Peru, learn about creating coffee in Costa Rica, learning how to make sushi in Tokyo and much more.
The virtual experiences themselves will be guided by local experts trained and supported by Amazon, the company says. While there are other ways to browse the world - such as watching videos on YouTube or maybe you can take guided tours through it Google Earth The Amazon Explore experience is different because it is a one-on-one session between host and viewer, with live video and two-way audio experience for real-time communication. This aims to give the viewer the feeling that they are really "there", compared to the experiences where you watch the video more passively on your screen.
The sessions themselves last 30 to 60 minutes and can be canceled or rescheduled with up to 24 hours notice. When it's time to start browsing, you'll sign in to your Amazon account and then click on the "Your Session" page in the "Your Orders" section to get started.
Sessions in Amazon Explore require laptop or desktop computer, as they are not mobile friendly at the moment. You will also need to have a browser Chrome, Edge or Safari, a functional microphone and a headset or speakers as well as internet connection at speeds of 5 mbps or higher.
During the session, you can ask questions or further the experience by asking the host to devote more time to one aspect of the experience or to skip another. You can also use the camera icon at the bottom of the live stream to take photos.
Some experiences also offer the opportunity for shopping. In these cases, customers can visit local stores, look for items and ask the store owner as if they were in person. They can then choose to make a purchase and receive the items they purchased as if they were shopping directly at Amazon.com. When making a purchase, payments are processed on Amazon's secure payment system using the payment method associated with the customer account.
Although Amazon has created live tools in the past streaming for its Live platform, the company says the Amazon Explore experience uses unique technology.
Amazon says the new platform allows more opportunities for small business owners who want to generate extra income, such as shop owners, local drivers, chefs, stylists, artists and craftsmen.
Pricing for Amazon Explore sessions is not fixed. When launching the platform, you will find a virtual styling session for just $ 10, for example. On the other hand, a virtual tour of Central Park in New York costs $ 150. Amazon says hosts set their own prices and times without having to comply with any minimum or maximum prices. However, the company declined to analyze any revenue sharing agreements.
There are currently 86 experiences in 16 countries, with Amazon planning to increase them immediately.