What’s next for Amazon?

November 20, 2014 04:29 PM

When the goliath of e-commerce twiddles its thumb, hurricanes can swirl half a world away. 

That’s why the January issue of Internet Retailer magazine will look at what moves, No. 1 in both the Internet Retailer Top 500 and Europe 500 guides, might make in 2015.

And that’s why Internet Retailer magazine wants to gather thoughts—informed and reasonable speculation, if you will—from its readers about what surprises Amazon might have up its sleeve and the e-commerce impact those initiatives might have in the coming year. We have designed a short, five-question, anonymous survey that you can take here.

The survey covers such areas as fulfillment, mobile commerce, acquisitions and online grocery sales. Combined with our own reporting and insights gathered from financial reports and other documents, we intend to show readers what kinds of shadows the goliath will cast over the next 12 months.

Amazon, the perennial leader of the Top 500, increased its e-commerce sales in 2013 by 20.3% compared with the previous year—that rate of growth exceeds the 16.9% that the U.S. Department of Commerce says total e-retail sales grew in 2013. The e-retailer, founded in 1994, was singlehandedly responsible for nearly one-third of the sales growth by the 500 e-retailers included in the most recent Top 500 Guide.

A quick look at selected Amazon developments so far this year shows the e-retailer and online marketplace operator is unlikely to slow down anytime soon:

• Ongoing expansion of its same-day deliveries, including to consumers in Canada and online grocery shoppers in the United States.

• The launch of a voice- controlled interactive speaker called Echo that lets people stream music and search the Internet, as the company works to extend its reach into consumers’ digital lives.  

• Further sweetening of its $99-per-year Prime two-day shipping program through the addition of more streamed music, photo storage and other features for Prime members—but a $20 price increase from the previous $79 annual fee.

• A 30% year-over-year increase in fulfillment spending in Q3, along with a nearly 40% increase in technology spending and a 43% increase in marketing—showing Amazon’s willingness to keep investing in its infrastructure and promotions even as some investors grow impatient with the e-retailer’s lack of profit.

Of course, that’s not to say everything Amazon touches turns to gold. The Q3 financial report, for instance, highlighted Amazon’s big stumble on its Fire smartphone, which has failed to catch on since its introduction in June. Amazon wrote off $170 million worth of Fire phone inventory in the third quarter, contributing to its net loss of $437 million in the quarter.

Please take a few minutes to complete the survey and be part of Internet Retailer’s cover story for January. Also feel free to contact the reporter directly to share your thoughts and insights:




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