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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : February 13, 2018

Will Amazon's new moves cement them as a retail leader?

Amazon's latest moves - launching a business delivery service and delivering for Whole Foods - have many marketers and merchants wondering if there is a corner of the digital space the online behemoth won't touch. We asked a few experts what they thought of Amazon's latest announcements.

by Kristina Knight

According to data from Walker Sands while only about 16% of consumers have ordered groceries from Amazon over the past year, the move to deliver for Whole Foods could see that number spike, and it might also push more consumers into buying more oft-purchased items from the digital marketplace.

Greg Ng, VP of digital engagement, PointSource, a Globant company, believes "This announcement further supports the idea that this brick-and-mortar network of Whole Foods stores is not only a great way to deliver fresh food, but by using Prime Now, could also serve as a distribution center for other common Prime Now products. One of the most exciting things is the potential of adding the Alexa-enabled appliances to the mix, as well as Amazon Key. The addition of AI into the analyzation of food usage patterns can mean huge things along the supply chain. In theory, fewer product go bad sitting unpurchased in the store shelves or uneaten in your fridge."

"Amazon's move to start delivering Whole Foods Groceries via their Prime Now service speaks to how the company is driving the convergence of physical and digital experiences to further meet the needs of their customers. As we recently saw with Amazon Go, Amazon is always looking for ways to add new seamless experiences to engage customers and this is another perfect example of how they're doing so, while streamlining the delivery of perishable goods. Over the next few months, we can expect to see Amazon employ their test and learn philosophy to see how this new addition of services impacts their customers and how they can continue to refine and improve that process," said Scott Webb, president of Avionos.

"By enabling Prime Now to deliver Whole Foods groceries, Amazon is taking more control over the customer journey and enabling end-to-end experiences. Now, shoppers will further connect Amazon to the Whole Foods brand, and vice versa, across their entire shopping journey and continue to build trust with a vertical integration resulting in one seamless experience. As Amazon continues to roll out this service, and does so successfully, whether it's the transparency that Amazon enables, or the quality of the goods that Whole Foods provides, that trust and continued association will help both companies improve customer loyalty and revenue generation. We can't wait to see Amazon's conversational capabilities enabling the brick and mortar service of Whole Food's to become omnirelevant," said Nicolas Avila, VP of Technology, Globant.

The consumers quotient remains the unknown factor. Will more people one-click purchases of milk, bread, and even beer if it has an actual grocer's name attached?

Then, there is the business delivery aspect of Amazon's move into brick-and-mortar retail. Some experts believe the B2B space has been ripe for disruption for some time, and Amazon's announcement could signal the beginning of change for this sector.

"Amazon's move to add delivery services to their business customers is a demonstration of how they are working to enable end-to-end, customer-centric experiences for everyone. B2B, and especially the supply chain, has been slower to integrate with innovative tech solutions just because they typically work with large products that are more deeply rooted in brick-and-mortar commerce. As Amazon's shipping expands, we're seeing the online and offline worlds further converge in B2B and a more streamlined digital process emerge, that will ultimately lead to greater efficiencies and customer satisfaction. We can expect this initial roll out to serve as a basis to improve the offering, as Amazon takes an iterative approach to enhancing it as they expand to new geographies throughout the year," said Webb.

"If we've learned anything about the B2B industry, its that Amazon is always looking for segments to disrupt and that B2C expectations are influencing the B2B world. Amazon expanding their delivery service to businesses is a perfect example of this. Amazon is making large investments in B2B commerce and, if businesses want to compete and maintain their market share, they'll need to offer an online buying option as well. It's important for businesses to own the eCommerce experience--and the customer--from end-to-end, and not outsource or give up margins to Amazon. This move by Amazon should serve as a call to action to B2Bs - If they're already in the digital space, they need to continue to innovate, and if they're not, they need to go digital, and do so now." - Ray Grady, President & Chief Customer Officer at CloudCraze.

Tags: Amazon, Avionos, CloudCraze, ecommerce, ecommerce trends, Globant, PointSource, retail trends

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