Amazon opened its digital storefront in July 1995, and has remained on target for its four guiding principles ever since: customer obsession instead of competitive focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking.
The retail giant’s second-annual Prime Day, a sales bonanza for Prime subscribers on July 12, showcased more than 100,000 exclusive deals preceded by countdown deals the previous week.
Seattle, Washington-based Amazon does not release data on its total number of Prime members, but Consumer Intelligence Research Partners estimates 54 million US members. Additionally, 73 percent of Amazon’s 30-day trial subscribers pay for the first full year of membership and 91 percent of first-year subscribers renew for a second year.
The online retailer said worldwide orders were up more than 60 percent in 2016 compared with last year, and US orders rose by more than 50 percent. “The numbers blew me away,” R.J. Hottovy, Morningstar’s consumer strategist, told CNBC, estimating the event may have added between $500 million and $600 million in incremental sales to the retailer’s topline.
On the video front, Amazon Video Direct launched this year in the US, UK, Germany, Austria and Japan as part of a larger strategy by Amazon to augment its streaming video service. “Think of this like a Trojan horse to bring you into the kingdom of Amazon, which is a massive shopping mall,” said Peter Csathy, chief of consulting firm Manatt Digital Media Ventures, in The Wall Street Journal. “It really underscores how video has become the battleground in tech.”
Already a proven leader in fulfillment logistics, Amazon partnered with UK grocery chain Morrisons this year to supply its fresh and frozen food in a deal that runs through 2038—another possible Trojan horse in training. “Once [Amazon] has the measure of British grocery habits, could it jettison Morrisons and launch an all-out assault on the traditional food retailers?” asked The Daily Telegraph.
Amazon’s Dash Button, aka automated personal shopper, changed the game by bringing e-commerce into the home, evolving from one-click buy-it-now ease to one-push ordering convenience. A new metric for consumer brand loyalty, snacks, beverages, batteries, and office products purchases have proven the most popular categories
Amazon already offers Prime Music as part of Amazon Prime, but soon music streaming will be independent from Prime and offered at a discount to users of the company’s Echo web-connected speaker.
Pushing deeper into consumers’ homes is part of Amazon’s smart-home ambitions begun in 2014 with voice assistant Alexa. The new music service will cost around USD $5 per month. Also in the works, mobile users can anticipate a USD $10-per-month music service with offerings from Spotify, Google, Apple and more.
Amazon continues on its mission to become the No. 1 US apparel retailer, as its looks to take on rivals Walmart, Target and Macy’s.
And the online retail giant also announced plans to expand its physical footprint by opening up more brick-and-mortar stores throughout the US.