The tech innovation solving problems faced by Amazon’s customers
The recent slew of activity from Amazon strikes us at Foresight Factory as consumer-centric, seeking to provide products that give the fastest and most convenient experience to its users. When it comes to this tech giant’s innovations, one of the most obvious trends that springs to mind is Branding Bypass and the race to platformization. After all, it’s the growing popularity of technology like AI Alexa’s auto-replenishment capability that has inspired it. However, for deeper insight, there are other trends that we have spotted which can identify and best explain the success of Amazon’s tech or the consumer demands that open up the possibility for certain products to enter the market. So let’s look at what Amazon has been up to:
1. Cashless Society: Go
Amazon has been experimenting with brick-and-mortar shopping in the Cashless Society with Just Walk Out, a new shopping service for Amazon Go customers that is set to open in Seattle in early 2017. Users must first scan into the shop using their Amazon app, which then allows them to simply grab what they wish to purchase, while the app tracks shelf inventory and creates a virtual cart. Shoppers walk out when they are done and their Amazon account is charged. There is no need to carry cash or even a wallet, as all user information is conveniently stored on the user’s phone.
This innovation taps on the consumer’s demand for immediacy by eliminating the manual input involved in transactions. 41% of US consumers use cashless payment and a shift towards a more cashless society will affect how retailers, whether online or brick-and-mortar, design their point-of-sale. It may also be the critical step towards a true omnichannel seamless shopping experience for Amazon.
2. The Versat-Aisle Shopper: Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods
The entry of the e-commerce giant into physical retail stores also marks an aggressive move into the supermarket industry. In June this year, it was announced that the company would purchase Whole Foods Market for a reported $13.7bn, the largest acquisition by Amazon to date. 67% of US consumers shop in-store at least once a month and as shoppers are using their smartphones in shops to check prices and reviews – or to visit stores to assess items before purchasing online – omnichannel is fast becoming the new norm. 40% of US consumers shop multi-channel and our trend The Versat-Aisle Shopper recognizes that the merging of online and offline shopping is necessary to a seamless experience.
3. Early Bird Brands: Wardrobe
Amazon Wardrobe (currently in beta) is a ‘try before you buy’ online shopping service for Prime customers, where the user chooses a minimum of three items of clothing from a variety of brands such as Calvin Klein, Levi’s and Adidas that are then shipped to their door. The customer then has seven days to try on and decide whether the clothes are worth keeping or they can send them back via prepaid postage. Our data shows that 70% of USA consumers like exclusive access to promotions and offers, and leveraging that attitude is Amazon’s incentive of up to 10-20% discount when customers choose to keep a certain number of clothes.
Our trend Early Bird Brands looks at ways that companies use ‘teasers’ in the form of exclusive membership, trials or previews to appeal to and entice consumers. Foresight Factory sees that 37% of American consumers like it when brands give them early access. Add to that the 20% that strongly agree that they like being one of the first and the data suggests that an innovation like Wardrobe has the traction to take off among Prime users.
4. Conversational Commerce: Echo Look
The latest version of the Echo can even deliver fashion advice. Currently only available in the US, Look possesses all the (ever-evolving) facets you’d expect of Echo and includes a depth-sensing camera that is able to blur the background, bringing your outfit to the foreground. Users are able to build a personal lookbook and share photos with friends, while Alexa offers advice from its Style Check service – a combination of machine learning and tips from fashion experts. Echo Look will also help consumers to discover new styles and brands based on their archived looks. In the recent past, uptake in the US has been slow – last year, Foresight Factory reported that since 2013, a minority of 27% of people used web chat services as they were browsing products online. However, as efficacy improves, we could see its popularity on the rise. Will Amazon Look to lead the way?
5. Life On Demand: Echo
A far cry from the days of waiting for Google search results to load, consumers can now ask questions and receive answers immediately from their AI assistants. 40% of US consumers have used voice commands and out of that figure, 56% of them are millennials. And as tech like Echo’s Alexa becomes more personable (intonations are now an available ‘skill’) and more brands are integrating with Amazon’s AI assistant, we predict that 55% of consumers will be already using or interested in its auto-replenishment services by 2025. Now, saying “Hey, Alexa…” leads to making payments via American Express or viewing bank statements. It can also connect with Ford cars for online access on-the-go and even start a personalized whiskey tasting course with Johnnie Walker – hopefully not both simultaneously.
This post is part one of our focus on tech giant innovations. Interested in the supermarket industry? We’ve got just the webinar recording for you.