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Amazon Is Planning to Disrupt the Supermarket Business & It Won’t Need Cashiers to Do It

Amazon has disrupted plenty of industries over the past several years, but now it may be taking the fight to your local supermarket.

The tech giant is planning to expand its Amazon Go cashierless stores to more cities and with bigger footprints next year, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, citing sources who claim to have knowledge of its plans. Amazon will initially open stores between 2,000 and 10,000 square feet, or about the size of a convenience store or small market. But before long, the company plans to open 30,000-square-foot supermarkets with the same cashierless technology.

The first Amazon Go store opened in Seattle in 2016, and the company has been slowly expanding to other cities. The stores are stocked with products customers want, but don’t have any cashiers. Instead, customers walk into the store and scan their phones to alert the system that they’re there. They then choose the products they want and walk out. Amazon’s cameras, sensors, and other technologies identify what shoppers have selected and automatically charge their accounts.

Still, the existing stores are small, allowing Amazon to more easily track customers and ensure no one is walking out with free goods. According to the Bloomberg report, Amazon has now improved the technology to a degree that it believes Amazon Go could be applied to stores measuring 30,000 square feet, or about the same size as your local supermarket.

That’s undoubtedly bad news for a grocery store industry that’s dealing with pressure from all sides. A McKinsey study published last year found that while the global grocery industry is $5.7 billion and growing, grocery stores have been hit hard by higher costs and more competition for consumer dollars. Online shopping has also prompted many consumers to turn away from grocery stores, applying even more pressure on the companies.

But Amazon might be uniquely positioned to capitalize on that. The company has a massive online store, with enough reach (and cash) to attract shoppers and not worry about short-term losses.

Amazon Go stores have also been engineered to keep costs down. The technology they use is expensive, of course, but by not needing to keep its stores staffed with cashiers all day, Amazon can dramatically reduce costs. That puts even more pressure on competitors.

That said, Bloomberg also reported that Amazon could become a quasi-lifeline for the supermarkets and other retailers it plans to compete against. According to the report, the company is mulling the possibility of licensing its cashierless technology to other companies. In those cases, Amazon licensees can operate an Amazon Go store under their own brand and reduce their personnel costs.

For its part, Amazon has remained tightlipped on its plans. But Bloomberg’s sources say the company is serious about making a run at the supermarket industry. And if all goes well after testing larger stores in the first quarter, we can expect to see the first Amazon Go supermarkets pop up sometime in 2020.

By Don ReisingerTechnology and business writer

Source: Amazon Is Planning to Disrupt the Supermarket Business. And It Won’t Need Cashiers to Do It | Inc.com

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SupermarketGuru.com Editor Phil Lempert on reports Amazon is set to disrupt the supermarket industry with its own brick-and-mortar stores. FOX Business Network (FBN) is a financial news channel delivering real-time information across all platforms that impact both Main Street and Wall Street. Headquartered in New York — the business capital of the world — FBN launched in October 2007 and is the leading business network on television, topping CNBC in Business Day viewers for the second consecutive year. The network is available in more than 80 million homes in all markets across the United States. Owned by FOX, FBN has bureaus in Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and London. Subscribe to Fox Business! https://bit.ly/2D9Cdse Watch more Fox Business Video: https://video.foxbusiness.com Watch Fox Business Network Live: http://www.foxnewsgo.com/ Watch full episodes of FBN Primetime shows Lou Dobbs Tonight: https://video.foxbusiness.com/playlis… Trish Regan Primetime: https://video.foxbusiness.com/playlis… Kennedy: https://video.foxbusiness.com/playlis… Follow Fox Business on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FoxBusiness Follow Fox Business on Twitter: https://twitter.com/foxbusiness Follow Fox Business on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/foxbusiness

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How Leading Enterprises Are Building Blockchain Innovation On AWS

Blockchain hype—led by cryptocurrency headlines—obscures powerful enterprise applications of the technology. We aim to change that. In this series, we’ll bring you insights from Amazon Web Services customers and partners who are using blockchain to change the world.

The world grows more interconnected every day. Businesses collaborate across the globe. Transactions increase in volume and intricacy. Organizations that share sensitive information across public networks risk information leaks and the possibility of sophisticated cyber attacks.

Traditional methods of storing, verifying, and securing transactions struggle to keep pace with this rising complexity. Massive inefficiency results from the need to process and verify information spread across entities. Entire industries exist only to serve as trusted intermediaries between parties. Attempts at automation create fragile webs of APIs.

Blockchain and digital ledger technologies solve these problems by storing transactions in ways that are transparent, immutable, and verifiable. And they allow multiple parties to transact in a trustworthy and efficient manner, with or without a centralized authority.

Many exciting use cases are possible. Manufacturers could build track and trace ledgers that unify data from multiple systems, enabling faster identification of the reasons for product defects. Consumers could see the history of goods from raw materials to last-mile delivery. Insurers could pay claims in seconds. The time it takes to issue a bond through a securities exchange could shrink from months to minutes.

Companies are working to reap the benefits of blockchain, such as greater speed, efficiency, and reduced risk. For example, Gartner calls blockchain one of the top 10 strategic technologies of 2019. Eighty-five percent of enterprises in a Deloitte survey said they invest $500,000 or more annually in blockchain technologies.

Yet few have deployed these systems to production. Significant challenges hamper the transformative potential of blockchain. Businesses cite regulatory issues, technical barriers, security threats, uncertain ROI, and lack of in-house skills as the biggest barriers.

Many of our own customers, such as Nestlé and Singapore Exchange, have told us about the complexity of building scalable enterprise applications on blockchain. Setting up the hardware, networking, and software can be daunting, even before getting to the experimentation phase. This delays potentially life-changing innovations.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) solves these issues in two major ways. First, we built Blockchain on AWS—a set of massively scalable blockchain and distributed ledger services in the cloud. If all you need is a centralized ledger that immutably records all application data changes, there’s Amazon Quantum Ledger Database (Amazon QLDB). If you need to build a distributed application with ledger capabilities and the ability for multiple parties to transact without a trusted central authority, there’s Amazon Managed Blockchain.

Second, we collaborate closely with leading enterprises to speed innovation. From global manufacturers to finance-industry cornerstones, these companies are creating a more scalable, secure, efficient future. For example, they’ve demonstrated that blockchain delivers throughput to handle U.S. securities trading. Others have built solutions to connect small-scale farmers with consumers thousands of miles away.

We’ll highlight these and many other exciting use cases in the coming weeks. We’re thrilled to bring you along on the journey.

For 13 years, Amazon Web Services has been the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platform. AWS offers over 165 fully featured services for compute, storage, databases, networking, analytics, robotics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), mobile, security, hybrid, virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR), media, and application development, deployment, and management from 66 Availability Zones (AZs) within 21 geographic regions, spanning the U.S., Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, India, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Sweden, and the UK. Millions of customers—including the fastest-growing startups, largest enterprises, and leading government agencies—trust AWS to power their infrastructure, become more agile, and lower costs. To learn more about AWS, visit aws.amazon.com.

Source: How Leading Enterprises Are Building Blockchain Innovation On AWS

 

Amazon Reportedly Has a Warning for Sellers Who Offer Products on Walmart.com for a Lower Price

It’s not really a surprise that Amazon wants to offer customers the overall lowest prices on the products it sells in order to capture more sales. And it has created an incredible marketplace for third-party sellers to grow and thrive. But that’s not the entire story. It turns out that the company could also be keeping a close eye on companies that also sell their products at other sites, such as Walmart.com.

That’s according to a recent report by Bloomberg that says that when Amazon finds Marketplace sellers that offer the same product elsewhere for less than the price on Amazon’s site, the company sends those sellers a warning “via a web platform they use to manage their Amazon businesses” and often makes it harder to find the product on its own site. Effectively, the message is: Raise your prices, or else.

Really, there are two aspects of this story that are worth paying attention to.

Play by the rules.

The first is the amount of control that Amazon exerts over its sellers. The company has policies that even dictate how third-party sellers should design the packaging for their products. It also determines how products are displayed and how easily they are found by customers.

Additionally, Amazon runs the third-largest advertising platform, which many sellers find themselves resigned to pay for, lest their products go unnoticed.

Ultimately, Amazon’s would likely prefer sellers to lower their price on its site, however many sellers tell Bloomberg that they have been hit by so many fee increases that the only real course of action is to raise prices elsewhere.

In fact, those same sellers report that when you include advertising, Amazon takes as much as 40 percent of every marketplace sale on the site.

Amazon didn’t immediately respond to my request for a comment, but according to Bloomberg, a spokesperson said in a statement that “sellers have full control of their own prices both on and off Amazon, and we help them maximize their sales in our store by providing them insights on how to be the featured offer.”

That isn’t exactly a denial that it sends the warning.

I think it also takes a little liberty with the meaning of “help them maximize their sales,” especially if “providing them insights” really means “make sure your prices aren’t lower anywhere else.”

The risk of building on someone else’s platform.

The second lesson here is about the risk of building your business on someone else’s platform. The two happen to be more closely related than they might seem.

When your business is selling products online, Amazon certainly has one of the most desirable platforms, considering its vast reach. It makes sense, then, that a business would want to make its products available to as many people as possible. That’s why many sellers list products on a variety of sites like Amazon, eBay, and Walmart.

But at what cost?

If you build a business on someone else’s platform, you allow them to exert considerable control, since you have to be willing to put up with the rules and policies created by that platform. Those rules could change at any time, and your only real option is to change your business or leave. Often, neither is ideal.

As an entrepreneur, it can be tempting to make decisions that help you greatly as you grow, but you should consider what effect those choices will have down the road. Are you able to run your business the way you want, or will you be at the mercy of another company that makes the rules with its own interests first?

Pay close attention to those rules. After all, the one who made them is probably paying close attention to you.

 

By: Jason AtenWriter and business coach @jasonaten

Source: Amazon Reportedly Has a Warning for Sellers Who Offer Products on Walmart.com for a Lower Price

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