Surprise! A new way for mobile shoppers to give the gift of Amazon

Amazon has launched a new program to take advantage of holiday shoppers' enthusiasm for m-commerce and wrapped it in a greeting card.

The e-commerce giant's new Surprise! App lets users send e-cards to family and friends for special occasions such as birthdays and, of course, the upcoming holiday season. The designs are all fairly generic, even with the ability to personalize them with photos, audio and video. But the point isn't flashy messages, it's using the cards as an easy delivery mechanism for Amazon gift cards.

While it isn't required, Amazon has ensured it's fast and easy to add a digital gift card to your message within the app (and with card designs like the ones below, it's really the only draw Surprise! has). The app also streamlines the process since users can't gift an Amazon item or Kindle book, cutting out the need to wrestle over gift ideas.

And for those shoppers who might forget a prime opportunity to give Amazon their money, the app can even sync with customers' Facebook accounts and phone calendars to fill out an "Occasion Timeline" for special events.

Amazon could well see a significant jump in its gift card sales through the mobile app, especially as time ticks away for procrastinating shoppers who are searching for a quick solution. Gift cards are also the most requested gift for the eighth year in a row, so a program that makes them more easily accessible is common sense for the retailer.

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