Amazon is taking over the world, or so it sometimes seems. They convinced the US Postal service to bring back Sunday deliveries. Sometimes people casually refer to having “tons of stuff,” while Amazon sells tons of stuff every day. Their building boom in the Seattle area includes everything from conventional offices and warehouses to biosphere domes. Increasingly, Amazon is entering the shipping business as well.
Amazon Prime Air
The brand made it to the real world sooner than anyone expected. Their first cargo aircraft, dubbed Amazon One, is prominently labeled Prime Air. It was revealed to the public with a flyover at Seattle’s annual Seafair festival. The prime number in the aircraft’s tail number is a subtle nod to the observant.
In my own experience, Amazon still has room to improve their shipping experience for customers. “Same-day” deliveries don’t necessarily arrive the same day, and “5-day guaranteed” deliveries don’t necessarily arrive within five days. Perhaps having their own fleet of aircraft will improve the odds of on-time delivery.
When you sign-up as a Prime member you are giving the money every year, helping fund their plans for world domination. Of course there are some tangible benefits for members. Current benefits of the annual $99 fee include:
- No-charge shipping
- Expedited shipping
- Prime Video streaming
- Prime Music streaming
Members do not generally pay lower prices for merchandise than non-members. (In fact, at least one lawsuit alleges that Prime customers are charged more.)
However, some products are available only to members or at a special price. For example the Echo, the embodiment of Alexa, was initially available only to members. Members also received a discount when it was first launched.
Amazon’s technology also connects you with the 2016 Rio Olympics. You can ask questions via the Echo and watch streaming video via their Fire stick. I don’t think Walmart is offering anything like that.
The Walmart Connection
Recently I was shopping for a razor and I found the Amazon price wasn’t all that great. I shopped around and ultimately bought it somewhere else. Certainly there is convenience in buying regularly from a place where you’ve got an account. All the more so if you get free shipping, as Prime members generally do.
When Convenience Is Not So Convenient
There is something to be said for the convenience factor of having your selections arrive at your doorstep. However, the ordering process doesn’t always work out that way. Ordering a product that’s small, well-known and standardized should be perfect for online orders. For example: Batteries.
I tried ordering a package of two 9 Volt batteries. Once I got past the ones that were a different size or type than I wanted, there were problems with inconsistent descriptions. One that looked promising in the main description also said “1 package of 10 D alkaline batteries” in another part of the description.
This is where stores that specialize in one particular type of product have the advantage. They know their product and can clearly articulate the differences between varieties. Brick and mortar stores also have an advantage, because you can immediately see what you’re buying.
Do you think Amazon is taking over the world? What has your experience with them been? Share it in the comments below.