SEATTLE, WA: Amazon’s business model, based on the creation of a “virtuous cycle” and an aspiration to be the world’s most customer-centric company, shows no signs of slowing down.
CEO Jeff Bezos’s annual letter to shareholders highlighted the growth in Prime membership to more than 100m and reported that 2017 had been the best year yet for hardware sales.
“They keep adding and trying new things,” Kevin Packler, vice president of Amazon Services at the Tombras Group in Knoxville, Tennessee, told the recent Worldwide Partners International (WPI) annual conference in Miami. “You keep adding more value and services for consumers, and there’s a real, overall benefit from all of these individual contributions,” he said in remarks reported by The Drum.
In the last few days, for example, the online retail giant has announced it will start offering in-car deliveries as part of its Key program – the delivery option introduced last year that allows the company’s delivery drivers to drop off packages inside homes with a smart lock.
The car version is currently available to Amazon Prime members owning certain newer GM and Volvo models, but Amazon plans to expand it to cover more vehicle makes and models, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Another evolution has been the introduction of a children’s version of its smart speaker. The Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition, Buzzfeed explained, is essentially the Echo Dot with added parental controls and child-friendly content along with a colourful protective case.
Conscious of the current climate around data and privacy, Toni Reid, who heads Amazon’s product development team for Alexa and Echo devices, stressed that privacy has been built in from the start.
“Control and transparency is important for customers,” she told Buzzfeed. “We added more to it to give parents more control. For parents, in the dashboard, you can view utterances. We’ll continue to work on features around privacy for our customers.”
Away from consumer products and services, Amazon has been expanding its agency services, according to Packler, who noted that there is now “a dedicated group that works with agencies across North America, and that is something that didn’t exist four months ago”.
“Amazon is as good as any company looking five years down the road,” he added. “Will they still be in the dominant position? Will they grow their share? Will they enter new industries? Yes, yes and yes. That is their nature, and it goes back to the flywheel.”
Sourced from Amazon, The Drum, Wall Street Journal, Buzzfeed; additional content by WARC staff