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The 5 areas where you did not expect Amazon

September 18, 2020

We know, as an agency specializing in supporting brands on Amazon, you are more used to being told about the Amazon site, warehouses or how to optimize its visibility. But Amazon is everywhere! We would therefore like to share with you these elements which show that Amazon is building a global ecosystem that goes beyond online sales… If Jeff Bezos' firm is mainly recognized for the activity of its Marketplaces and online sales (sector where the company is the leader), its investments go far beyond e-commerce. Amazon discreetly joins the very select club of companies of the future, those that drive innovations in all areas.

You will immediately think of Alexa, the artificial intelligence equipping the Echo connected speakers. But be aware that Amazon's influence far exceeds your imagination! Vehicles of the future, meal deliveries, video games… today, we are going through 5 areas for you where you definitely did not expect Amazon.

1. Alexa, take me to work

The first tests of autonomous cars take us back to the 1970s where the robotic research laboratories and Mercedes-Benz are conducting the first tests. Development continues, especially in the 90s, but it was not until 2014 and the famous "Google Car" that they were really publicized and put forward.

Zoox arrives. Founded in 2014, the startup is developing its own system and ultimately wants to manufacture and then market its autonomous cars ... to make the robot taxi at the request of the future. Despite a spectacular fundraising of 500 million euros in 2018, the very special situation at the start of 2020 leaves Zoox in financial difficulty. The Wall Street Journal relays as well as from one of its sources, the future of autonomous cars would be in talks of repurchase with Amazon, for an amount of 1.1 billion dollars.

This is not the first time that Amazon has been interested in the robotics and automated driving services market: in 2012, Amazon bought Kiva Systems, a manufacturer of robots intended for logistics transport in warehouses and renamed it soberly Amazon Robotics. 2019 also saw the birth of Scout, the delivery robot of the Amazon Prime stable. To return to the subject of the autonomous car: Amazon had also already participated in the fundraising in series B of Aurora, another company in the sector, for 500 million. Additional proof that the car in self-driving, Amazon believes very strongly.

🚗 Jeff Bezos will not be driving your car, but it will almost be the same.

2. The country where Amazon Foods is ahead of Uber Eats

France knows Deliveroo, Uber Eats, JustEat and their competitors well. These last years have indeed marked development at lightning speed home meal delivery services. In India, Uber was leaving the market at the start of the year, reselling its activity to a local player, Zomato. Everything remains to be done there, and it is clear that Amazon believes very strongly in the Indian market: beyond the 6.5 billion dollars already invested in the country, Amazon Foods was to be launched there in March. The international situation has meant that this could not have been the case, but the resumption of international economic activity suggests that these services will develop there in a very short time!

Amazon Foods is in the testing phase in the districts of Bangalore, a city in the south of India and one of the country's technology hubs. There, Amazon works in partnership with local businesses and restaurants to ensure the viability of such a project on a more national scale. No extension date to the rest of India has been announced yet, but Amazon is already delivering meals to the second most populous country in the world.

3. A little soccer on Amazon, a little Amazon in soccer

Imagine watching your favorite team's game on Prime Video live. During the match, precise statistics are provided to you on each team, each player and each action. Better than that: you choose the info you want to see… and you get it.

If that makes you dream, it's that you are a very big football fan. Well know that in the future envisaged by Amazon, the little story that introduces this paragraph is very real. Amazon is weaving ever closer links with the world of sport and especially football: earlier in the year, Amazon bought broadcasting rights for free from certain Premier League (and then Bundesliga matches) to broadcast them live on its Prime Video platform. At the start of the year, we also learned that the Bundesliga signed an exclusive agreement with Amazon Web Services (AWS). The goal is to be able to provide viewers with live match data from a panel of statistics that they choose themselves.

4. Make a medical visit to Dr. Bezos

The Lab126 is an artificial intelligence laboratory from Amazon. It is notably known for having been the location of two renowned products: the Kindle e-reader and the Echo connected speaker, delivered with the even more famous Alexa. Where we least expected this laboratory is in the medical field.

The COVID-19 epidemic has affected Amazon as have all companies around the world. International confinement stopped its warehouses for a few months: in France, Amazon warehouses were closed for 1 month and 3 days. We know that around the world, Amazon employs no less than 800,000 people.

With such a high number of employees and innovative capacities, the following news no longer seems so surprising: GeekWire reports that according to one of its sources, the Lab126 is currently developing a large-scale testing system internally, to be able to detect COVID-19 in Group employees. The goal is to test everyone, symptoms or not. The project is crazy and the case remains to be followed.

5. "Do you know Twitch Prime?"

The news had caused a stir in the gaming world. In 2014, Amazon seized Twitch, the benchmark streaming platform, for the small sum of a billion dollars. The rest of Twitch's history, we know it: several billion hours of viewing in 2018, charity events raising millions of euros, the visit of some TV personalities well known in France… and a free subscription to the content creator of your choice when you are a Prime member. The result is this catchphrase, often repeated, which serves as a subtitle: and you, do you know Twitch Prime?

For an insider audience, this will seem obvious. For the others: Amazon now has the most influential platform in the video game streaming sector, and that shows the extent of its soft power in 2020.

We hope you like Amazon

... because we could turn this article into a book! Maybe a volume 2 will come out, and these 5 domains will become “these 10”… who knows. In the meantime, it has to be said that Amazon is everywhere, stronger and stronger, far ahead of its competitors and in areas that we sometimes wouldn't suspect. What give you some great anecdotes to tell! "Did you know that Amazon was delivering meals?" 🙂

We believe that the very existence of this article is representative of Amazon’s long-term strategy. In the e-commerce segment, the site is far ahead of its competitors. The firm Brand Finance ranks it #1 far ahead of its competitors and its market share is 40% in the USA. It can be said without warning that when we mention online shopping, the name Amazon comes first in the conversation. It is this indispensable status that Amazon seems to be aiming for: a kind of Amazon Way of Life, simpler and more integrated, that we find in all the sectors in which the firm is involved.

We are leaving the simple framework of the extension of service: what Amazon offers here is a consumer universe of its own. As if Amazon had invested in the mission to rethink ways of consuming, each innovation forming a new component of the Amazon ecosystem of tomorrow, the strength of data as a roadmap. The objective is to better understand the consumer, send them the best services thanks to this structured and qualified data to become essential to them. In the world of the future, Amazon knows what you want before you do.

When you take a closer look, all of these new releases have one thing in common: they are an extension of what Amazon does best, offering logistics solutions and cutting edge technology. Alexa, the autonomous car, meal delivery, streaming services… innovations are multiplying and let us predict the future for you: they will continue to do so. Here is our take as a specialized agency.

Alexandre Darrigo

Communication Manager

Publicis Groupe
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