Amazon (s amzn) is giving mobile developers the ability to sell physical items in their mobile apps using a simple one-click process. The option, available for Kindle and Kindle Fire HD apps, will give developers another viable way to monetize their apps.
Activision (s atvi) is the first publisher to make use of the new in-app purchase option, which will be available in the game Skylanders Cloud Patrol. Users will be able to buy a physical toy for 99 cents using Amazon’s 1-click transaction system and have it shipped to their address. They will also be able to get a digital copy of their character that will be playable in the game.
As we’ve noted, mobile advertising is still waiting take off and in many cases it works better for apps that have a lot of usage. But now, developers who have some physical items to sell can enjoy the simple check-out process that makes Amazon purchases so easy and addictive. That could help attract more developers to support Amazon’s Appstore for Android.
Many developers are already seeing a better return on their investment in Amazon than in Google Play, even though Amazon’s mobile efforts are built atop Android. Flurry reported in March that among top apps that appear on the Apple App Store (s aapl), Google Play (s goog) and Amazon Appstore for Android, Amazon apps make 89 percent of the revenue per active user of the same iOS app while Google Play lags behind with 23 percent of the revenue per user. That was before Amazon officially turned on in-app purchase for its appstore apps. Now, Amazon will have another selling point for developers who are serious about monetizing their apps.
I’m not sure if this will be used primarily for toys sold in video games. That in itself is smart because there’s a lot of opportunities to get players, especially kids, to buy their favorite characters. But this could be huge if it’s used by bigger mobile commerce players. Most people use their phones to research rather than buy products because it’s not always simple to check-out on a phone. But if Amazon can make buying physical stuff in apps super easy, that could be a boon for a lot of sellers. And it could show that mobile has a lot of opportunity as a revenue generator for developers and publishers, despite some early signs that it’s still lagging.