As more and more Internet usage shifts towards mobile, particularly to smartphones, app developers are recognizing the phone number as an ideal identifier for new users. Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger are just three examples of hugely popular apps which support signing up using your phone number in lieu of an email address, and which can also use the contact list to build up a network of connections within their apps. Now Amazon is jumping into the fold.
In the newest version of Amazon Shopping for Android, the company’s main mobile experience through which customers can purchase items and track orders, the onboarding flow for new customers has been updated to support signing up using just a name, phone number, and password. New customers who’d prefer to use an email address can click “Use your email instead.” The update hasn’t fully propagated in the Play Store just yet, but can be downloaded right now through APKMirror (click here). For that to work you need to visit Settings > Security on your device and toggle on “Unknown sources.”
This shift to phone number-based identification for apps makes total sense. Phone numbers are a native feature on smartphones – I like to call them an “atomic unit.” SMS and phone calls work right out of the box, whereas with email you have to launch an email app and then sign up and/or authenticate with a third-party provider, just to begin receiving messages. At the very least, by allowing onboarding with phone numbers, app developers make the onboarding process much faster, tremendously reducing the friction and bounce rate (users who download an app but leave before signing up). That’s what Amazon has done here.