Six Recent Amazon Launches You Should Know About
This is the third part of a three-part series on how retailers can compete better with Amazon. This article looks at what recent product and service launches from Amazon say about its future priorities. Part One focuses on four companies that have implemented winning strategies. Part Two takes a look at Alibaba and how its tech. investments provide insight into what the future of retail will look like. You can read Part One here and Part Two here.
Amazon is growing so fast it is hard to keep up. Since launching its eCommerce site nearly 25 years ago in 1994 Amazon has grown in ways few would have anticipated when it first started out. It is hard to remember the early days when you could only find books on its website. Now Amazon has nearly 200 million monthly website visitors, 100 million Amazon Prime members and 2017 revenues of $178 billion. What is Amazon’s formula for success? According to Jeff Bezos himself:
“If you want to get to the truth about what makes us different, it’s this, we are genuinely customer centric, we are genuinely long term oriented and we genuinely like to invent. Most companies are not those things. They are focused on the competitor rather than the customer. They want to work on things that will pay dividends in two or three years, and if they don’t work in two or three years they will move on to something else. And they prefer to be close-followers rather than inventors, because it’s safer. So if you want to capture the truth about Amazon, that is why we are different. Very few companies have all of those three elements” – Excerpt from the book, The Everything Store by Brad Stone
True to form Amazon can’t stop inventing and reinventing itself. Many of its recent product and service tests and launches reveal that it is fixated on making shopping as convenient as possible. Amazon is also focusing on improving customer service in ways that are making competitors such as Best Buy rethink their strategy. Here are six moves that Amazon has made within the last 12-24 months that you should keep your eye on.
1. Not home? Not a problem. In-home delivery is for you
In October of 2017 Amazon launched an in-home delivery service called Amazon Key. On the day of a customer delivery the customer receives a message asking them to either block or watch the delivery while it takes place. If they choose to block the delivery the customer can select a standard delivery option. Customers must have a Prime membership and an Amazon Key Home Kit which consists of a security camera, a smart door lock and the Amazon Key App which customers can use to unlock their door from anywhere. According to Amazon this is not an experiment, it will be part of the shopping experience going forward. Amazon recently expanded Amazon Key to include the option of having purchases dropped off in the trunk of a customer’s car.
2. Need your tech questions answered in person? Amazon has a solution
Amazon is now providing an in-home service to customers who need help setting up a smart home. As part of a service that was launched in early 2017 called Alexa Smart Home Consultations Amazon offers free in-home consultations where Amazon experts answer all smart home customer questions, demo Alexa devices and provide an assessment of which smart home products are the best fit for the customer. Customers can also get smart home products installed by Amazon for a fee. These services are expected to challenge those provided by Best Buy’s Geek Squad which played a critical role in Best Buy’s turnaround.
3. Shopping has never been easier with the echo look
Amazon launched the echo look in April 2017 “to help you look your best”. It is a handsfree camera and style assistant. Using the hands-free voice commands the echo look takes a photo of a customer’s outfit or takes a 360 degree view in a video clip. The key feature is Style Check which can analyze two different outfits and provide the customer with an opinion on which outfit looks best. It provides insight into fit, styling and current trends. It does this using machine learning algorithms. It also provides recommendations for complimentary items which can of course be purchased at Amazon. It looks like Amazon is trying to automate your best friend.
The echo look can take photos or a 360 degree view of your outfit
Photo credit: Amazon