It’s been a week full of announcements from Amazon with the opening of a brand-new Amazon Go store in San Francisco, a partnership with Qualcomm for connected headphones and updates to the Business Prime offering.
Details and Implications:
Amazon Go launched its third shop in the U.S. this week, this one located in San Francisco. The store is very much the same as any other convenience store, apart from shoppers having the ability to walk out of the store without having to line up to pay. Amazon’s ‘Just Walk Out’ technology logs when an item is removed from the shelf and automatically pairs this to the shopper’s mobile app, seamlessly charging the user without them having to take any action. At this point, first time customers have been noted as ‘hesitant to leave without paying’, but it is easy to imagine that it won’t take long for this to become second nature. With a clear dominance in the ecommerce market, many retailers will be viewing how Amazon expands its Amazon Go store proposition with interest.
Amazon has also announced a partnership with microchip firm Qualcomm this week, with the aim of integrating the smart assistant Alexa into wireless headphones. Under the deal, Qualcomm will release a set of chips that any maker of Bluetooth headphones can use to embed Alexa directly into the device. When the headphones are paired to a phone with the Alexa app on it, users will be able to talk to the voice assistant by tapping a button on the headphones. Select models of headphones already include Alexa integration – Apple and Google’s voice activated assistants are also available in certain headsets – but Qualcomm could radically expand the availability of Alexa-compatible headphones as the pre-made chip can be dropped into headsets, reducing costs to headphone manufacturers. It is yet another example of the integration of voice and assistants into any and every device imaginable.
Lastly, Amazon Business announced the launch of new Business Prime benefits for businesses of all sizes in the United States, Germany and Japan. Business Prime now helps members: visualise spend data; identify money-saving opportunities with Spend Visibility and set policies to improve compliance and maximize their budget with Guided Buying and gives users access to a new credit card with no annual fee and a number of perks.
Amazon continues to offer innovative and seamless experiences, both online and offline and across every vertical from CPG / FMCG to finance to electronics. By offering multiple benefits and the convenience of being present and accessible across various touchpoints, it’s hard for consumers to avoid Amazon adoption of all Amazon services is rising. Despite this, Amazon did see its stock value dip slightly this week (down 9% in after hours trading) as it missed revenue expectations in its Q3 results and gave revenue guidance for its fourth quarter that was well below market expectations. However, at the same time, Amazon is growing an advertising business that is predicted to book $10bn in ad sales this year, proof that the worlds of media and commerce are closer than ever.