What Does Amazon Have In Store for 2016?
Larry Alton
DEC 09, 2015 12:34 PM
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What Does Amazon Have In Store for 2016?

by Larry Alton

 

Since its rise to prominence in the late 1990s, Amazon has been a dominant force in the world of e-commerce, online branding, and consumer developments in general. As one of the most prominent online vendors for holiday shopping and a frontrunner when it comes to developing and releasing new consumer technology, Amazon remains at the top of its game as we close out the 2015 holiday shopping season. But things in the tech world rarely remain the same for long, and if you want to survive, you have to constantly push for more.

So what is Amazon doing to take its company into 2016 and beyond, and what does it mean for the world of online retail?

Amazon Prime and Paid Subscriptions

Throughout the early days of e-commerce, most online businesses operated under the premise of offering a free shopping experience—you only paid money when you bought something, much like in a physical store. Amazon released Amazon Prime to mixed reactions back in 2005, offering a paid subscription service to its most active customers for faster shipping services and a handful of other perks. Since then, it’s expanded to include free movie and TV show streaming (and a host of other benefits like product discounts).

Still, Prime is doing extraordinarily well. There are more than 47 million US Prime subscribers, all of whom spend $99 for an annual entry fee, and typically spend twice as much with the company as non-Prime members. Already, the effects of this are changing the landscape of online purchasing—both eBay and Walmart, two of Amazon’s competitors, are experimenting with their own Prime-like programs.

Part of Amazon’s plan moving into 2016 will be the expansion of this service—meaning luring more customers to the subscription, making it more of a mainstream option, and including more discounts and benefits to members. Prime Day, a semi-failure earlier this year, was an experiment that could easily be built upon in the coming months.

Fresh Content

Amazon Prime’s video streaming service doesn’t get the attention and brand recognition that Netflix does, but it’s moving up in the world, and Amazon has plans to emphasize its unique options even further. “Transparent,” an Amazon Original Series, debuted earlier this year, and now eyes are on “The Man in the High Castle,” another original show. Rather than focusing only on consumer products, Amazon is trying to build an all-in-one subscription with access to products, media, and maybe even more services that it has yet to reveal.

Various companies have tried to offer streaming content alongside their traditional offerings, but few have been successful enough to fund their own original series without flopping. To make up for this gap, expect to see other consumer brands picking up alternative services and offerings to lump in with their subscription accounts.

Delivery Revolutions

The big talk about Amazon lately has been on their push to release and market delivery drones, automated robots that can handle same-day deliveries. It’s already come up with newer, sleeker branded models ready to start making deliveries of small packages in as little as 30 minutes, but the legal hurdles are still posing a problem for the company. Of course, Amazon isn’t the only company pursuing drone-based delivery, but it is the frontrunner, and its success or failure could substantially influence the companies to come after it.

It’s hard to say exactly how Amazon will develop in the coming years, or what it’s keeping secret from consumers at the moment, but it’s clear that Amazon is still one of the most noteworthy and game-changing e-commerce companies around. Its Prime subscription service has already started a trend among online retailers, and its commitment to offering original media and services and its dedicated focus on making drone delivery a reality mark it as a strong competitor for the coming year. The world of online retail is about to become much more complicated, and you have Amazon to thank for it.

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