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Amazon Stranglehold Set To Tighten

The history of retailing should be defined in terms of BA and AA (before Amazon and after Amazon). This huge organisation, which started in a domestic garage, is the world’ largest online retailer and through innovation it intends to ensure that it stays that way. There isn’t much that you can’t now buy on the site and plans are afoot to guarantee that nobody can deliver your goods quicker.

The Good Old Days

I am really quite old and can still clearly remember the BA days. In fact the BI (before internet) days are firmly planted in my mind. It seems hard to believe now but there was a time when if you wanted to buy something you actually had to go out and look for it. I was a big buyer of books and so you can imagine my excitement when Amazon first appeared back in the 1990’s. The inventory was huge, the prices cheap and the deliveries quick. There wasn’t a reason not to buy from Amazon and so I waded in gleefully, and so it seems did everyone else.

Expanding the Lines

Amazon was not a company to rest on its laurels and gradually expanded its offering. After starting with books it moved on to DVD’s and CD’s and then onto just about everything else. The Amazon Marketplace was the final step in the path to world domination. Now everyone else could sell through Amazon so the retailer had an inventory that could not be rivalled and was grabbing a share of its partner’s sales too.

Moving On

Ironically the product that started it all was clearly going to be a victim of the technological age. Amazon’s success was founded on books but they were clearly going to be redundant at some point. Amazon acted quickly by producing its own e-reader, the Kindle, and offering the widest selection of e-books to purchase.

amazon spain inside san fernando de Henares

Delivery Speed

It is not inconceivable that a rival could appear over time but Amazon is staying one step ahead. Having nailed the enormity of its product range it has started to focus on the speed of its deliveries. It has already announced that it is working on the use of drones which will be able to drop packages within 30 minutes of an order. There are clearly potential issues with this service innovation though. Will drones be hijacked or sabotaged and what if their navigation systems fail?

Guessing Game

It is hard to imagine an alternative system that could rival the speed of a drone but Amazon seem to have found one. They now plan to ship goods before a customer has even ordered them! Using the vast amount of data Amazon stores the company believes it can predict future purchases. By analysing previous purchases, search history and how long someone looks at a product online, Amazon believes it can guess what we are all going to buy and ship it to a hub close to our homes ready for final delivery. We could see the day when our goods turn up just 5 minutes after we place our orders!

Domination

As Amazon now sells almost everything we could be about to experience complete domination. What would you do if you were about to travel and you discovered that your suitcase had fallen apart or you had forgotten to buy the new watch you were looking at? The drone could deliver your case in 30 minutes leaving you plenty of time to catch your flight and the watch will probably be sitting around the corner somewhere because Amazon new you wanted it and was just waiting for you to confirm that.

History has shown that it is rarely a good situation when one organisation has a complete grip on any market so heaven knows what could happen when one company dominates almost every market! The only saving grace could be the Amazon Marketplace where the smaller guys can sell their watches and luggage but then they won’t have drones and predictive despatching. I think it might be a good idea if we all do at least some purchasing away from Amazon otherwise there could be trouble ahead. We need to ensure the survival of rival operators because Amazon is set to move in for the kill.

Sally Stacey is a keen writer and retail business owner who divides her time between writing and running her bridal shop.

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