Amazon challenges cable, rolls out the barrel and a fleet of truck trailers

December 14, 2015 11:10 AM, the No. 1 e-retailer in North America and Europe by sales, continues to roll out innovations designed to boost sales and customer loyalty.

Cutting the cord: Amazon last week introduced a Streaming Partners Program whereby Prime members can add subscriptions to premium programming from networks including Starz and Showtime for $8.99 a month, billed and managed through Amazon and viewable through the e-retailer’s Amazon Video app. Other networks offered, some at lower price points, include A&E, AMC, IndieFlix, Gravitas and Ring TV Boxing.

Toast of the town: Amazon now delivers alcohol in an hour or less to consumers in New York City ordering through the Prime Now mobile app. New York is the first market outside of Seattle in which Amazon has offered alcohol delivery. The Seattle service  launched  earlier this year. New York orders are fulfilled and delivered by local liquor stores.

Name change: The Amazon Mom membership program has been renamed Amazon Family. The program, launched in 2010, offers Prime members discounts on child and family-oriented products they subscribe to get regular delivery of, such as 20% off diapers. The change puts the U.S. site in line with what Amazon calls the program in other countries and addresses the protest of nearly 14,000 consumers who petitioned the retailer to adjust the name.   

E-retail trucker: Amazon has bought a fleet of thousands of branded semitrailers aimed at making the order fulfillment process more efficient while also advertising Amazon Prime on highways across the country. The trailers will be used to move merchandise from Amazon distribution centers to sortation centers where workers sort parcels before turning them over to the U.S. Postal Service for final delivery. Amazon owns the trailers but not the trucks that haul them. Get the full story here.

Global merchants: Some 5,000 marketplace sellers on, Amazon’s India e-commerce site, transported nearly 1 million products to fulfillment centers in the United States through Amazon’s Fulfillment By Amazon network to enable them to sell and ship to consumers in the United States over the Thanksgiving holiday sales weekend. Amazon also set up telephone support for the Indian sellers during India’s business hours to accommodate questions during the holiday weekend.

Not a Grinch: Amazon subsidiary held true to its “delivering happiness” motto by surprising the residents of Hanover, N.H., in November. Zappos trucks and staff delivered about 1,900 packages containing cold weather gear and accessories to doorsteps overnight. The point of the surprise was to reward the community’s loyalty to Zappos. Hanover is a “small town full of fiercely loyal customers,” a spokeswoman says. See Zappos’ YouTube video about the event here.





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