Amazon to Shut Down ‘Explore’ Virtual Tour Product in Latest Cut
Amazon.com Inc. is shutting down a virtual tour feature called “Amazon Explore,” which was launched during the pandemic, in the latest belt-tightening move by the online giant as it adjusts to slowing sales.
“At Amazon, we are always experimenting and testing ideas like Amazon Explore,” the company said Wednesday in a statement. “While we are winding down this program, we'll continue innovating and investing in new ways to delight our customers. We are supporting our affected employees during this transition and working to identify other opportunities within Amazon.”
Amazon launched Explore in 2020, targeting those suffering cabin fever during pandemic lockdowns. Users could pay $7.50 for a 50-minute guided tour of sites such as an animal sanctuary in Costa Rica or $50 for an hourlong virtual stroll through the markets of Venice.
Amazon has been trimming experimental programs to reduce costs. Among the features or products that have been curtailed or canceled are Scout, an autonomous delivery robot and Amazon Glow, a kids-focused video calling device. The company has also frozen hiring for its corporate retail teams and is winding down Amazon Care, its startup telehealth service.