Delivery company dominates all aspects of consumer needs
Lauren Thomas | Staff Writer
Books, groceries and space travel at your fingertips.
With Amazon’s growing repertoire of products ranging from the traditional books to now an in-home delivery service, everyone is feeling the effect. The Amazon Umbrella now emcompasses several companies operating under it including The Washington Post, Whole Foods, and IMDB. An empire expanding on the daily requires constant innovation and a push for the next market craze.
The coined phrase “Amazon Effect” is the direct result of the booming company’s complete market takeover. What started as a place where parents could sell old children’s books has transformed into a monopoly of a variety of goods. Retail stores are closing left and right, unable to compete with the convenience of online shopping. Customers now have the ability to whisper “paper towels” to their Amazon Echo Dot and find them on their doorstep within 24 hours.
Local stores like Kroger have implemented services such as “Click List” where customers can order groceries online and have them delivered curbside at the store. The idea of efficiency is nothing new, but Amazon has given the term a whole new meaning with the introduction of their product, the “Amazon Key”. In the past, home delivery has stopped at the consumer’s doorstep. Now, the innovative, slightly invasive, Key allows buyers to watch as couriers unlock their door and place the product in their foyer. First the delivery driver must request access to the respective home. Then Amazon will verify the driver and will use an encrypted code to unlock the door.
Starbucks Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz knows conventional stores are on the decline but has high hopes for his franchises because of the aura consumers feel at a physical store. In an interview with Geekwire.com, he described Starbucks strategic plan to combat the e-commerce wave and prevail over the retailers having to shut down as a result of the Amazon Effect.
“Starbucks still maintains a very special place in terms of a sense of community, a third place environment, and people looking for a seeking out human contact and a place to go,” Bezos said. “As these store closures occur, we are going to be in a very unique position because there’s going to be a lot less people competing for those customers. I’m not talking about the coffee category, I’m talking overall.”
Aside from innovations within the company, the acquisitions of already-successful chains such as Whole Foods affects non-traditional Amazon customers. Senior Almas Malik and Whole Foods regular has seen the positives of Amazon’s expansive efforts by the lowering of prices at the organic grocer.
“I love shopping at Whole Foods and since Amazon bought that company they’ve dropped their prices,” Malik said. “It’s easier to go in and find exactly what you’re looking for at a cheaper price.”
Other companies are feeling the effects as well. According to Forbes.com, Walmart is worth $216 billion while Amazon is worth a staggering $332 billion. Retailers cannot compete with Amazon’s dominant online presence. Stores such as JCPenney, Macy’s, Sears, HHGregg, and CVS are closing several branches in the next year.
Amazon employs over 350,000 workers and is rapidly hiring. With the addition of several warehouses across America, Amazon is accumulating more employees than Microsoft and Google combined. A new branch in Monroe, Ohio, will host 1,000 new jobs for the Cincinnati area.
But CEO Jeff Bezos will not stop there.
Bezos is laying the foundation for commercial flights to space with his sub-company, Blue Origin. During an interview with the New York Times, the billionaire described his high hopes for the embracement of his new program by hungry entrepreneurs.
“If we can make access to space low-cost, then entrepreneurs will be unleashed,” Bezos said. “You will see creativity, you will see dynamism, you will see the same thing in space that I’ve witnessed on the internet in the last 20 years.”
The company that started in Bezos’ garage has become a household name. Amazon’s purposeful reinvestment of revenue back into the company has turned their small start-ups into the most successful parts of the business. In an online interview with Uni Common Knowledge Bezos said employees take pride in the little things after seeing how valuable they can grow into.
“What we’re really looking at is thinking long term, putting the customer at the center of our universe, and inventing,” Bezos said. “In Amazon, when a new business reaches some small milestone of sales, email messages and virtual high-fives circulate because we know from our past experiences big things start small.”