We’re in the middle of a pandemic, which means most people are limiting the time they spend outdoors. That means fewer shopping trips and vacations — especially those that involve boarding a plane or train — with friends or family. Amazon’s solution is Explore, a platform that offers virtual classes, shopping advice and sightseeing tours. They’re all streamed live, which means you can ask the host questions about anything they’ve shown on camera. Notably, Amazon is using a one-way video, two-way audio approach, which means you’ll never have to turn on your webcam to take part. “So there’s no need to get dressed up,” the Explore site explains.
Sessions are paid for individually, and cost anywhere between $10 and $210. A Tokyo-based introduction to sake costs $50, for instance, while an hour-long tour of New York City’s Central Park will set you back $150. Because nothing is pre-recorded, you’ll need to visit the Explore website and book a time slot beforehand. As The Verge reports, you can cancel or reschedule with up to 24 hours’ notice. You can take screenshots throughout the experience — maybe your guide spots an art piece that you’d like to research later — and some will give you the option to instantly buy what you’ve seen on screen. If you do the latter, it’ll be charged to your Amazon account and shipped out by the session’s host automatically.
Amazon Explore is in beta at the moment, and only available to US customers who receive an invite. Airbnb has offered similar experiences since April, and plenty of companies, including ClassPass and Peloton, offer live-streamed classes that customers can join remotely.