Catching Up with Amazon
Even by its own standards, Amazon has been busy in recent weeks. Putting aside owner Jeff Bezos’ dustup with Donald Trump, we’re still left with a substantial body of work.
The company unveiled a stand-alone Prime Now site to go with its app for the same-day delivery service.
Amazon launched the new Prime Now site in advance of going live in Manhattan with its restaurant delivery service. With 350 Manhattan restaurants onboard, Amazon now provides one-hour restaurant delivery in ten metro areas. The service is free (“for a limited time”) for Primed-up customers. Not so much for restaurants. Word is that Amazon’s cut is up to 27 percent of the bill with restaurants barred from raising menu prices.
The Wall Street Journal reported this week that Amazon is also entering the private-label grocery space. Snacks, detergents, diapers and more will make up a suite of private-label brands with quirky names like Mama Bear, Happy Belly and Wickedly Prime.
Product naming doesn’t seem to be as much of a strength for another Amazon development team. Working with Tyson, Amazon looks to roll out the Tyson Taste Makers meal-kit delivery service by the end of 2016 in an attempt to capture a share of the estimated $1 billion industry.
In an effort to keep pace, Walmart cut a day and a dollar off of its dot-com home-delivery program. Walmart now offers a two-day delivery service for $49 a year. The challenge? You have to walk to the back of your house and wait in line behind eight strangers for twenty minutes before you can take delivery of your package.
Amazon shuttered fashion deal site MyHabit.com. The site had offered discounted designer clothing via time-limited sales since 2011. This from company that has very quietly developed its own fashion labels in the first months of 2016, including Lark & Ro, Society New York and up to a half dozen others.
Amazon Echo, the hands-free speaker that will play Adele on your Prime Music account while ordering paper towels from Prime Now, has some competition. Google announced that the comparatively compact Google Home will go on sale later in 2016.
Here, we come full circle. After opening its first physical bookstore in Seattle and a San Diego location later this summer, Jeff Bezos confirmed last week during the company’s annual shareholders meeting that Amazon is “definitely” going to open additional bricks-and-mortar bookstores.