Online retailing behemoth Amazon has shown no signs of slowing down in the first half of 2017. The firm is scarcely out of business news for its ever-growing impact on the retail sector, and is continuing its growth into a multitude of new markets this year. From groceries, to sneakers to upgraded customer service policies, Amazon is continue to push for growth in just about every direction. Some say Amazon is single-handedly dismantling the entire brick and mortal retail world.
Here a seven of Amazon’s top moves thus for this year.
Amazon to purchase Whole Foods Market
In June Amazon announced plans to purchase the high-end grocery chain Whole Foods Market for $13.4 billion. The transaction will mark a sale of at about $42 a share in an all-cash transaction that will reportedly also include all of Whole Foods’ net debt. Despite the ownership change much of Whole Foods infrastructure will remain that same as it will keep its name, CEO and headquarters in Austin, Texas.
Partnership with Nike
Nike and Amazon have revealed a pilot program that will bring Amazon some exclusive products from Nike. The sneaker giant already has many products for sale on Amazon through both licensed and unlicensed vendors and Nike is reportedly hoping to gain greater control over their marketability on Amazon. Nike’s chief official Mark Parker broke that news last month to investors and it is also likely a move to keep Nike at pace with competitors like Adidas and Under Armor, both of whom have dedicated shop fronts on Amazon.
Best Buy to Feature Amazon Products
Best Buy announced last month new plans to feature products with Amazon’s voice activation product Alexa and Google’s Google Home line. The new deal will bring those products front and center in their 700 retail locations. The merchandising push will come in the form of 10-foot-by 4-foot Amazon and Google displays that will specifically target Amazon’s new Echo Show and Google’s new Home line. Both new display areas will be smaller than Best Buy’s large sub-sections dedicated to Apple and Samsung products, but are expected to bring an addition bump to Amazon and Google sales in the coming months.
Amazon has announced plans for a new clothing service called Prime Wardrobe. The service will allow Prime members to order between three and 15 items without actually purchasing the clothes first and then return unwanted items free of charge. The service has already attracted designers including Calvin Klein, Levi’s, Adidas, Theory, Timex, Lacoste, and more. In addition to the free returns and flexible try-on option, Amazon will cut ten percent of the price for those that keep three to four items and 20 percent of the price for those who keep five or more items.
Amazon has been awarded a provisional patent for a digital technology that could prevent retail shoppers from comparing prices with online retailers. The technology would allow physical retailers to monitor the smart phone usage of the shoppers on a store’s WIFI network and prevent them from visiting competitor’s websites to comparison shop. Though the patented technology cannot prevent customers from comparison shopping via their cellular network, it could also allow brick and mortar shops to collect some historical data from shoppers as well.
Jeff Bezos Requests Philanthropy Suggestions
Amazon Chairman Jeff Bezos put the word out to his over 222,000 Twitter followers last month asking for ideas on how he can invest in philanthropic efforts. Bezos has been a long-time philanthropist and his net worth is estimated near $80 billion. He received thousands of suggestions shortly after his post. One of his recent efforts is supporting Mary’s Place in Seattle, which a non-profit that serves homeless women, children, and families.
Amazon Cuts Prime Fees For Low Income Members
Amazon has announced a plan to cut its monthly member ship fee to $5.99 for those who receive government assistance in the form of foods stamps. The online retailer began accepting food stamps for its grocery services this year and is now aiming to retain some lower income shoppers that have traditionally opted to shop at Walmart. Accessing the new lower-income user base could prove lucrative for Amazon, who have seen more consistent purchasing patterns from Prime members than regular shoppers.