Several years ago, I placed an order on Amazon and needed to get it delivered quickly so instead of paying for the extra shipping cost, I decided to sign up for Amazon Prime. I’ve been a member ever since. At the time, I didn’t know how much it would change the way we shop and many other aspects of our lives, but it really has. That, in fact, was the master plan of the online giant of Amazon Prime – Get them hooked and keep giving a little bit more to keep them as a subscriber.
Amazon Prime provides the base benefit of having your orders shipped free with 2-day, next day or even same-day (depending on the city you live in). Add the fact that Amazon Prime piles on several other great features such as Amazon Music, Amazon Video, Photo Storage and more, makes paying for the membership seem like a no-brainer.
Last week, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced that the Amazon Prime membership surpassed 100 Million subscribers. 100 Million! Having 100 Million people visit your website would be amazing (I would be floored if that would happen to my blog), but to convince over 100 Million people to dish out anywhere from $50 to $155 per year for a subscription to a shopping membership is a staggering feat.
With over 100 Million members, they have the ability to shift the way people shop, what they see, hear and buy. They also have the ability to try new ways of moving data and physical goods while presenting it as an exclusive feature to members. Just recently, they started offering in-car deliveries. Yes, that means people are giving Amazon permission to unlock their parked cars and deliver parcels into their trunks. This comes a few months after their launch of the Amazon Key service that allows deliveries to be made in your house when you aren’t there. It’s clear that they are fostering trust with their members and pushing technological advancements to the boundaries of cultural possibilities.
It’s hard to argue that Amazon has already changed the fabric of the retail landscape, but they aren’t done yet. Not even remotely.
With all of their other innovations around drone development, robotics, personal assistants (Alexa), automation, cloud services and the constant improvements in their Artificial Intelligence engines gives them the power to engineer what the future can look like.
All this has come at a social price, with brick and mortar retailers of all sizes feeling the squeeze. Shopping Malls are trying to find a way to stay pertinent in this online world and some businesses have realized that trying to compete head to head with Amazon can be a futile effort. There will continue to be disruptions, such as impacts to jobs, real estate values and changes to the dynamics of some city’s shopping districts. Things will continue to evolve and it remains to be seen how this will play out in the coming years, but it’s clear that this is a trend that cannot be ignored.
I for one am excited to see where this will take us but in the meantime, I need to hurry, because there is a ‘Deal of the Day’ for a fancy FitBit band on sale on Amazon and the deal expires in 12 minutes!