Amazon on Wednesday announced a new program called Build It that lets consumers have a say in some of the products Amazon will produce.
In a Kickstarter-like effort, Amazon customers can choose to back a new product, and if it gets enough support within 30 days, Amazon will build it. Customers will get charged only if the product is developed and ships.
The program should help Amazon decide what products will be popular before it even builds them. Amazon has used a similar program in the past, called Day 1 Editions, to build experimental products like its Echo Frames smart glasses. Amazon wouldn't say whether it plans to use this program for all of its products or if it may open it up to third-party inventors.
Amazon Build It kicks off with three concepts: an $89.99 smart sticky note printer, a $34.99 smart nutrition scale and a $79.99 cuckoo clock. Customers who back a product get a preorder discount. The price will increase if it Is made widely available.
In recent years, Amazon has released a bunch of wild products with Alexa built in, ranging from microwaves to wall clocks to eyeglasses. Many of those products have failed to take off, and the Build It program is a way for Amazon to gauge customer interest in one of its ideas before it goes into full production.
The printer works with Alexa and uses thermal technology instead of ink to print out small sticky note reminders. The scale can tell you how many calories are in specific foods. The cuckoo clock works with Alexa on an Amazon Echo and has a mechanical pop-out cuckoo bird.
Amazon said it won't say how much money a specific product needs to launch. It will show a progress bar that shows how far along a product is and a percentage of the backing it needs to complete.
The current concepts will be available at promotional prices through March 19. Amazon said more ideas are coming.