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What to Expect from Amazon in 2018

By Julio Franco ยท 10 replies
Jan 11, 2018
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  1. While Amazon started as an online bookstore, today it sells almost everything. And lately this online mega-retailer has been pushing into the physical space. Between Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods and its growing number of retail outlets, you could soon see an Amazon store just around the corner.

    But what will Amazon be up to this year? We have a few predictions on what the company is planning for 2018.

    Amazon Will Get Into Grocery Delivery in a Big Way

    Now that Amazon has acquired Whole Foods, there's been a lot of talk about what it will do with the upscale grocer. The most likely scenario is that it will expand its grocery delivery service. While Amazon is a great source of nonperishables, AmazonFresh — which offers delivery of milk, produce, and more — has an extremely limited delivery area.

    Amazon has been scaling back on AmazonFresh, but with Whole Foods, Amazon essentially has over 450 grocery warehouses around the country. That could make it easy to ship groceries in a lot of major metro areas.

    It's uncertain whether Amazon will simplify its grocery options or create a new Whole Foods-branded delivery service and let the rest be forgotten. But with Whole Foods in its pocket, we think Amazon will be selling more groceries this year.

    Prime Members Will Score Cheaper Groceries

    Amazon's first move after buying Whole Foods was to slash prices by as much as 43% on popular items. That doesn't put prices in line with more budget-friendly retailers like Costco, but it's a heavy markdown for a premium brand like Whole Foods. More price cuts came before the Thanksgiving holiday, with a sale specifically for Amazon Prime members, who could print a coupon for turkey at $1.99 a pound.

    And these deals are just a preview of the grocery savings Prime members will see. Prime is set to become the official rewards program for Whole Foods, offering discounts and other benefits. Amazon has been cagey on what exactly those benefits will be, but more Prime sales are certain.

    More Amazon Stores Will Pop Up

    Whole Foods may be Amazon's latest entry into brick-and-mortar stores, but it wasn't the first — and it won't be the last. Amazon has 13 physical bookstores, with more coming soon. The company also has over 60 pop-up stores around the country, selling Amazon-branded products in malls, as well as Kohl's and Whole Foods stores.

    Amazon recognizes that shopping online has downsides. Physical stores let you try before you buy, offer the serendipity of stumbling onto the perfect product, and give you a chance to chat with a real person about what you're looking for. Amazon's bookstores combine the best of digital and physical shopping: Books are shelved with excerpts of customer reviews and suggestions for other books you'll love. It's like shopping for books online — except you can pick them up and thumb through them before buying.

    Amazon isn't just for online shopping anymore. This year an Amazon Books or an Amazon Pop-Up could be coming to your city.

    But Amazon isn't just experimenting with books and Kindles. In 2016, the company opened Amazon Go, a store that sells prepared foods and grocery staples. (Currently, only Amazon employees can shop there.) Instead of trying to make a traditional retail experience smarter, like Amazon's bookstores, Amazon Go is an all-new way to think about shopping. There are no cashiers or check-out lines: At Amazon Go, shoppers pick up what they want and walk out. Their Amazon account is then charged for anything they've picked up.

    The technology that powers these smart stores is supposedly almost ready to launch, so we could see more of these Amazon-branded convenience stores — or see cashier-less technology head to Whole Foods.

    Amazon Will Continue to Rule Your Smart Home

    If you've shopped for smart home devices, you've probably noticed that tons of products work with Amazon Alexa. From smart cars to smart refrigerators, Alexa can control almost everything — and more products join the lineup all the time. It doesn't matter where you buy your smart home gadgets, you can probably control them from your Amazon Echo.

    Now Amazon is adding to its arsenal of smart home gadgets with Amazon Cloud Cam. On its own, it's a smart security camera, but combined with the right smart lock, Cloud Cam can be used to help unlock your front door for Amazon delivery drivers. That gives Amazon a lot of control over your home, but the company thinks customers will appreciate the convenience.

    Prime Video Will Get Even More Popular Shows

    In 2017, Amazon Studios took home three Oscars and two Golden Globes, and the company doesn't intend to back down on original content. It's aiming to have its own Game of Thrones-scale hit with an upcoming Lord of the Rings adaptation.

    And Amazon has been investigating other television projects. The company has reportedly been working on offering its own streaming TV service, which seems to be dead, or at least on hold. Rumors have also been circulating that Amazon is planning an ad-supported version of Prime Video for non-subscribers, though the company has denied them.

    Whatever its specific plans, Amazon wants to expand its streaming services to get more people watching its shows. But could Amazon be considering acquiring an existing service rather than building its own? If so, we would point toward Hulu, which has been up on the auction block before. This idea hasn't made the rumor mill, but it could be a good fit for Amazon's ambitious streaming hopes.

    Amazon Wants to Be a Fashion Destination

    You may not think of fashion when you think of Amazon, but the company has made a big push into clothing. We're starting to see more name brands selling directly on Amazon — recently, Nikeand Calvin Klein — to offer more fashion clout. For those who don't care about the brand, Amazon has launched a number of private labels that offer name-brand quality for less than name-brand prices.

    With the new Prime Wardrobe service, Amazon will send you anything you want to try on — free of charge — and you only pay for what you keep.

    Still, there's one big snag: Buying clothes without the opportunity to try them on can lead to ill-fitted fashion choices. Amazon Fashion already offers free returns for most items, so it's easy to buy and return if something doesn't work for you. But with the new Prime Wardrobe service (currently in beta), Amazon will send you anything you want to try on, free of charge. You have seven days to try clothes on and decide what (if anything) you'd like to keep. If you don't like an item, just toss it back in the box, stick on the pre-printed shipping label, and send it back. You only pay for what you keep — making it easy to try before you buy.

    With Amazon's push into style, Forbes speculates the company's next big acquisition could be a struggling department store, like Macy's or JCPenney. Much like the purchase of Whole Foods, this would immediately give Amazon a physical presence in the clothing world — and help Amazon overcome the hurdles to buying clothing online.

    Deliveries Could Get Faster

    Packages from Amazon already arrive pretty quickly. Prime customers can get Prime Now deliveries within two hours and standard deliveries within two days. But Amazon wants to be faster.

    Now it's investing in its own shipping services. Last year the company started building a hub for its own cargo airline, which it uses to ship packages between its warehouses. Sixteen of Amazon's planes are already in the sky, but the company plans for a fleet of 40. And Amazon already has its own cargo ships and trucks.

    Next on Amazon's agenda is drone delivery. Though U.S. regulations don't currently allow Amazon to use delivery drones, the company is testing drones with plans to use them to deliver packages within 30 minutes. You won't find faster shipping than that.

    Elizabeth Harper is a contributing writer at dealnews. Republished with permission.

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  2. JaymondoGB

    JaymondoGB TS Enthusiast Posts: 38   +12

    Perhaps pay some Tax ?? Now that would be a headliner to all the counties effected by Amazons illmoral buisness practise
    Reehahs likes this.
  3. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 986   +508

    I'm also putting money on them buying a DIY Auto parts/maintenance chain like Autozone or Pep Boys. Its the one market where they do not compete with any of the big box stores.
    Reehahs likes this.
  4. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 4,200   +2,660

    Some features I like, others not so much. I buy a 4# box of dried blueberries for $21 per pound, but Amazon puts a surcharge of over $5 because it's a grocery item, trying to get me to fill the box with other grocery items. With those kinds of surcharges who would want to? They also re-package the item when they could simply have it drop shipped like the SAM's does here. I'm not sure if they are greedy or simply stupid ......
    Reehahs likes this.
  5. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,769   +175

    Amazon just growing so much taking a junk of the market share already. Whole Foods just expense place to shop anyway. Everything is charged by the pound already there in their produce section. They all charge you by the pound to make more money, for example say Large Papaya use to go for $2.49 at Aldi's now they charge per pound like Walmart does which charges $5 for the same Papaya. Only whole Pineapple is $1.99 for one no pound charge. I wonder why that can escape the extra pound prices.

    Alphabet - who run/own Google
    Some Beer company that runs these also
    So many of these hidden companies that control the way we live.

    Next T-Mobile going to buy Sprint that's coming soon as well.

    Greed yes profit yes.. Life no, who really cares...
  6. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,846   +3,250

    @Julio Franco (Quote) "Amazon will continue to rule your smart home".

    IMHO, only if you're stupid enough to allow it,.:mad:
  7. toooooot

    toooooot TS Maniac Posts: 231   +102

    Zombie virus
  8. ddferrari

    ddferrari TS Maniac Posts: 391   +167

    The purchase of Whole Foods hasn't seemed to change a thing in the Midwest USA. Amazon Grocery still sucks for anything fresh. Way overpriced or simply not available seems to be the norm for fresh fruit, meat, fish, etc. One can only eat so much out of a box or a can.

    Oh, and their restaurant delivery has gone in the crapper as well. To avoid a delivery charge (but tipping, of course), I now have to order a "minimum" of $40. Not gonna happen. Amazon seems to be getting greedier by the day; I often find that their prices are no where near the lowest on many items.

    Good for the competition, I suppose.
  9. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,846   +3,250

    Not true. TV dinners are my life...(y)

    Well, the shipping charge goes away after they sucker you into a "Prime" membership.

    Next, in many cases, Amazon isn't the lowest priced, because they are two stepping goods, and tacking on maybe a ten percent "finders fee", without making their customers aware of it. As a loose example, if you can buy a camera from "Adorama" in New York for $100.00, then Amazon might be "fulfilling it, a about $110.00. And if you're too insecure to buy directly from Adorama, (which is a wonderful dealer, BTW), then Amazon has tagged you with a 10% "stupid tax". And bluntly, that tax is simply by virtue of misplaced trust in Amazon, (IMHO, of course).

    One of the "most wonderful things" about the "great and wise human mind", is that it's always seeking more than it has. Whether that be knowledge, land, power, money, or prestige. In the case of modern corporate CEOs, that "quest for more", turns out to be simple, unadulterated greed.

    In the case of Amazon's CEO, Jeff Bezos, he is already the richest man in the world. Yet, it's fairly certain, he still believes he must have more. Conquest in the modern world is far different than conquest in ancient times. Yet Jeff Bezos is the modern equivalent of Alexander the Great, forever trying to extend his territory, power, and influence. Many movers and shakers in history, would be clinically diagnosed as sociopaths, yet history has been whitewashed to highlight the accomplishments, rather than their weaknesses or mental defects. Perhaps that sociopathy is a necessity for "achieving greatness". Still, it's tragic how ordinary people, don't balance their admiration of such individuals, with a realistic appraisal of their motives.

    Indeed. Success accrues power, and power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. But at a certain point, delusions of godhood, infallibility and invulnerability, can cause a conqueror's undoing. (Or a least we can so hope).
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2018
  10. ddferrari

    ddferrari TS Maniac Posts: 391   +167

    Well played, captaincranky. I won't lie- I do have a Prime membership for the "perks". For $99 a year I get "free" 2-day shipping and a video service similar to Netflix, plus Prime Now, a two-hour same day delivery on those boxed, canned and frozen goods. I just thought that after the purchase of Whole Foods, I'd be able to get my hands on a rump roast (pun intended). Their fresh department is almost nonexistent, and what they do offer is highway robbery price-wise.

    I got a kick out of the recent headlines that Bezos (sounds like bozos) is the "richest man in history" at $104B. Not even close. In 1999 Bill Gates was worth $100B, which they say is now the equivalent of $145B. Look back to Rockefeller and Carnegie and they say (whoever "they" are) that those fortunes would be at about $350B, adjusted for inflation.

    Sorry to hear about your less-than-stellar food life, but ocassionally I just want to chop up some potatoes and toss them in a slow cooker with carrots, an onion, and a simple 3 pound pork roast. That's practically impossible through Amazon Prime. Luckily we have Coborn's Delivery here; they're not exactly cheap but they only charge $5 for next day delivery and no tipping is allowed. That works for me.
  11. Joe Blow

    Joe Blow TS Addict Posts: 216   +74

    I expect more government collusion, fascism and spying, on behalf of various NSA operations. More money making off the back of American taxpayers, with the U.S. government offering subsidies to the Amazon business model.

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