Amazon News – September 2019

This month, Amazon launched its activity in Israel with the Local Delivery program. For those of you who are still not sure what that means – an Israeli client who will enter Amazon.com will be able to filter his search results by clicking on “Local Delivery” and get only products that are delivered to Israel. Not a revolution, but certainly a start.

Amazon’s entry to Israel hasn’t really made world headlines and was hardly mentioned in the global press. This stresses that this move is an initial step and not the start of full activity with publicity behind it.
Anyone who knows Amazon realizes that it’s much more than a shopping site, but rather one of the world’s largest technology companies alongside Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook. Amazon has a hand in a lot of different fields – eCommerce, cloud service, digital streaming, AI, Cargo flights, hardware, medicine, and more.
The following post lists the 13 central events on Amazon during September 2019 and includes some insights into each one. Most of the events were taken from the Edge By Ascential podcast with a few additions I found interesting.

None of the innovations I mention here are available in Israel, but it’s nevertheless interesting to see what’s going on in the world and hope it will reach us soon.

1/ One Tap Review

Amazon is looking into a new and simpler way to review a purchase: “one tap ratings”. The aim is to encourage clients with no time, energy, or desire to write a review to still rate the products they bought. The one-tap rating option will be available from the “my orders” page, the product page or a link sent directly from Amazon.
This may seem like a little change, but in a reality where Social Proofing is so important, every review is crucial for both buyers and sellers.

Amazon tests a one-tap review system for product feedback

2/ Amazon had recently leased an extraordinary 3 story logistical center in the Seattle area in order to cut delivery times from days to hours.

Amazon’s New Multistory Warehouse Aims to Cut Delivery Times

3/ Amazon Air (Previously known as Amazon Prime Air) is Amazon’s Cargo Flight company used for Amazon’s deliveries. Amazon stated that by 2021, Amazon Air will include 70 planes operating in the US.
Amazon Air now operates in 20 airports, where they open their own Hubs. The first one has opened in north Kentucky and this month Amazon announced the opening of another hub in Dallas.
One reason for this could be Amazon’s separation from FedEx earlier this year. It seems it’s now strengthening its logistics.

Amazon to open new air hub for delivery planes in Dallas area next month

4/ Amazon PAYMENT – Amazon is testing a new payment system in Whole Foods that allows Palm Payments so customers pay through biometric recognition. Using only the palm of your hand will allow touch-free shopping and speed up check out time in stores.

The project, named “Ovrill” will allow clients to scan their hands and use their hand as a chargeable credit card. It’s interesting to see whether clients will be worried about privacy and give all their biometric information to Amazon in order to shorten their time in line for check out.

Amazon tests Whole Foods payment system that uses hands as ID

5/Amazon PAYCODE – is a payment system that allows paying cash for Amazon purchases. A client can buy online and pay at a Western Union branch near his home. After payment, the order will be sent to his available address. This program is already available in 19 countries where its common to pay cash and is now available in the US

6/ Amazon Climate Pledge – Amazon announces a long-term pledge to climate change in order to protect the environment against climate change as part of the Paris Agreement to reduce Greenhouse gas emissions. As part of the pledge, Amazon will purchase 100K eclectic delivery vans from Rivian.

Jeff Bezos announces Amazon ‘Climate Pledge,’ promising to cut emissions and pushing other companies to follow suit

Amazon Photo

7/ Amazon Prime Pantry – this service by Amazon will allow Amazon Prime members to get food and groceries delivered at a monthly fee of $5. Since this month, Prime Pantry is part of Amazon Prime without extra charge on purchases over $35.

Amazon invests a lot in the Prime club and adds more value to it. This is also another step in Amazon’s war against the big food chains.

Prime Pantry’s monthly subscription fee is squashed for Amazon Prime members

8/Amazon PRIME NOW – Amazon is expanding its Prime Now service – speedy grocery delivery in under 2 hours for Whole Foods clients in over 30 cities in the US and makes it part of Amazon.com.

Amazon bought Whole Foods in 2017 for $13.7 Billion. Last August, Amazon began a pilot in a few US states analyzing the purchase history of Whole Foods and Amazon Prime clients to offer them products they often buy with the added bonus of free delivery under 2 hours.
Another example of Amazon using data analysis to strengthen the Prime Club on and offline.

Amazon Expands Two-Hour Whole Foods Delivery

9/Amazon Alexa Answers – In September, a crowdsourcing community (similar to Quora or Wikipedia) was opened to improve Alexa’s answers to common questions. Answering questions is one of the strengths of Google assistants, and Amazon is hoping to catch up with Alexa Answers. The group has been closed for a small number of pilot participants and now any Amazon account member will be able to contribute questions and answers.

It’s interesting to see that the community is devoted to questions not related to Amazon’s shopping. We will wait and see how Amazon will use it for advertising.

Amazon’s crowdsourced Q&A community Alexa Answers goes live for all

10/ On September 25th Amazon launched new products at the annual hardware launch. Here are a few notable launches:

Amazon Echo Buds – Amazon has began to develop wireless headphones that can track parameters such as distance, calorie’s, pace etc…

Amazon Photo

Amazon Echo Frames – glasses with a hidden mic that allows to talk to Alexa and conects to your phone.

Amazon also introduced Echo Loop – an experimental smart ring, An oven that’s also a microwave and fryer. A smart dog collar called Fetch and more…

Everything Amazon announced at its devices event — Echo Buds, Echo Frames, Echo Studio, and more

11/Amazon Prime Video – Business Insider compared HBO, Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix and Amazon stood out in a number of parameters. Prime Video is considered one of the most valuable services for Prime members. The club now includes entertainment as well as same-day delivery.

We compared Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and HBO to find the best service for every kind of viewer

12/ Amazon Care – Healthcare is one of Amazon’s new ventures. It began with the purchase of PillPack in 2018 and this month Amazon launches a pilot in the Seattle area – a virtual health plan that allows consulting with a doctor or nurse online, get prescriptions, and pursue homecare.

It seems that the pilot is meant to test the new technological abilities and healthcare digital services on Amazon staff.

Amazon launches Amazon Care, a virtual medical clinic for employees

13/ Amazon has purchased INLT – A new startup that helps sellers import goods easily to the US. The purchase amount was not publicized.

Amazon acquires INLT to help sellers import goods to the U.S.

To sum things up here is a cartoon on I found on the futurism cartoons 🙂

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