Many people theorize about the future of Amazon. Some say it will be the next world power, while others suggest it has hit its peak. Regardless of the theorists, Amazon has made some impressive strides, including the perks it offers Amazon sellers. However, as research suggests, it’s difficult for the top dog in any industry to stay the top dog for a long time.
Hungry dogs grow, and eventually, they grow large enough to challenge the alpha. Time will only tell whether this happens with Amazon. In the meantime, let’s look at some of the innovations Amazon has in store for the future.
The future is technically already here for cashier-less department stores, as Amazon opened its first in 2018. There are now 28 stores worldwide, and another 28 are in the development stages.
Amazon plans to revolutionize the brick and mortar shopping experience with these shops and their “just walk out” approach to shopping eliminates the need for a cashier. Instead, you pick out your purchases and leave. This model takes shopping a step further than self-checkouts as the Amazon stores have weight sensors and cameras, so you can add items to your virtual cart by removing them from the shelves.
Amazon launched a new biometric payment in September 2020, a contactless payment where the system scans the customers’ palms. The customers’ palm links to their credit or debit cards. Because of the intricacy of the veins in our hands, this type of biometric is fraud-resistant. However, it brings up privacy concerns.
Once customers register, they will be able to buy items by simply reaching out their hands. While convenient, the biometric system brings up questions about data security. It’s a little scary to think about how much biological information Amazon would have in addition to the consumer information you provide.
Grocery Stores and Luxury
Add fresh food and luxury goods to the long list of products Amazon offers. Amazon Fresh has provided grocery deliveries since 2007. However, only since 2007 has Amazon opened its first brick-and-mortar grocery store to the public.
These supermarkets feature smart shopping carts and competitively price their goods. Amazon’s stores also enable interactive, 360-degree views of the product so shoppers can better assess their purchases.
Food Delivery Services
It makes sense that Amazon would venture into food delivery services. It already has a reputation for fast delivery services, and it’s expanding into grocery stores. During the pandemic, Amazon launched a foray into delivery services in India, once again pivoting and profiting off unfortunate situations. We can expect more of the same from Amazon in the future.
Now we’re getting into the exciting stuff. Bloomberg revealed Amazon was working on a next-generation smart robot for homes powered by AI. Named Vesta, after the Roman goddess of home and family, the robot helps around the house with cleaning and other everyday chores. Just as with food delivery services, you can expect more of these projects in the future.
Game Streaming Services
With Amazon’s launch of Luna, it revealed its plans to make waves in the gaming industry. These services let users play games on streaming devices without having to download or install games beforehand. Luna works on any Bluetooth controller, but Amazon also released a Luna version for the controller.
Gamers can access games based on their subscriptions, with the base channel Luna Plus costing $5.99 per month for early access users. Amazon hasn’t set a fixed release date for Luna, but gamers can sign up for early access in the US.
Amazon hasn’t revealed any concrete plans for self-driving technology. However, its investments tell a different story. In June 2020, Amazon announced it was acquiring an autonomous vehicle company known as Zoox. Zoox got permission to test driverless cars in September of last year, so the push for self-driving cars could move fast.
When it comes to delivering packages, Amazon isn’t only trying to rule the roads. They’re always trying to take over the sky. Since December 2013, when Jeff Bezos announced his plans to take to the air with drones, they have worked diligently to turn their plans into reality.
Seven years later, Amazon is well on its way to delivering packages weighing up to five pounds. The test Prime Air package delivered in December 2016 in Cambridge and the test run went smoothly.
More Fulfillment Centers
Amazon continues to grow with its massive warehouses. Amazon creates these fulfillment centers in response to demand and there are currently 175 fulfillment centers, primarily across America and Europe.
As Amazon continues to grow, so too does its technology, utilizing robots and artificial intelligence-based inventory management.
Amazon Rules the World: Good or Bad?
In the future, Amazon might grow so large that it has a realistic chance to strangle the free market. If Amazon essentially takes over the world, the question becomes whether they are benevolent or sinister? Furthermore, do they realistically have the capability to do so?
Will Amazon’s obsession with the customer prevent it from hiking prices or selling unreliable products when it devours all competition? There’s another layer to this question- when Amazon balloons up to the dominant force in the world, will it lose its edge and fall victim to its own success? It’s a complex question.
Amazon is no bastion of free innovation. It’s no secret it profits from products created by third-party sellers in their marketplace. Amazon using others’ open-source software and buying out competitors are just a few examples of how Amazon leeches off other companies using its massive stockpile of financial resources.
Despite all of the innovation and the growing market capitalization, Amazon’s chances are slim that it can take over the world. The reason for this is that as corporations grow, they lose their agility and their creative center. As Michael Hannon and John Freeman concluded in their 1970s research shows, past a specific growth phase, businesses lose their ability to adapt and get replaced.
So, will we live in a world ruled by Amazon? Only time will tell. Until then, we can enjoy their numerous products guilt-free. At least we have a wicked fast delivery service to enjoy!
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