Amazon: Dominant online but still setting targets
It’s easy these days to take Amazon’s leadership in ecommerce for granted, yet the global giant never stands still and is pushing into new retail opportunities while, at the same time, constantly adding to its online proposition.
In recent months, this drive to develop has been more in evidence than ever, with a series of striking innovations that have the potential to roll out dramatic change.
There’s the prospect, for example, of Amazon launching its Amazon Go checkout-less convenience stores proposition in the UK, having trialled AG in Seattle since January 2018, where it currently has two stores operational in the city. It was reported recently that Amazon is now looking for UK sites of 4,000 sq ft and 5,000 sq ft for Amazon Go stores.
The cashier-less shopping proposition works by customers installing an Amazon Go smartphone app then launching it for their store visit. Amazon’s system of cameras and sensors then tracks the customer in-store through the aisles, charging a payment or credit card for any selected items on departure without the need for tills or queues.
Before any mass launch of Amazon Go, the company’s move into physical retail is already in evidence via a pop-up shop in Shoreditch, East London that coincided with its Black Monday promotion in late November.
Away from the real world, Amazon’s virtual offer is also making progress. Customers can now use augmented reality to view certain big-ticket products in situ before they buy via Amazon’s app. Mobile shoppers can also set up ‘watch-a-deal’ alerts to stay on top of Black Friday discounts as well as finding products by pointing their phone’s camera at a product or barcode.
Lastly, another way that Amazon is moving into new retail opportunities is in evidence through its work in fashion. It has rolled out a try-before-you-buy service for Amazon Fashion, thereby joining a growing throng of apparel retailers that have begun letting shoppers try before they pay.
How does it work? Prime Wardrobe is available to Amazon’s annual-subscription-paying Prime members. It allows them to have fashion products delivered free of charge, to try them on at home, then only pay for those items they decide to keep.
Members can select between three and eight items for free delivery and have seven days to decide what they like and then pay only for what they want to keep, returning the rest. Prime Wardrobe makes returning unwanted items straightforward with a resealable bag and prepaid label.