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what's up

Welcome to slackingoff, where we have in-depth conversations on whatever is particularly interesting. Follow below.

Your Amazon.com order has shipped! πŸ“¦

Your Amazon.com order has shipped! πŸ“¦

ameet
What's up Anthony.

anthony
I bought some Soylent.

anthony

ameet
lol. What compelled you to drop 60 bucks on Soylent?

anthony
USA TODAY
Amazon celebrates itself with a site-wide discount, Wednesday only
With the code 'BIGTHANKS' you can save $8.63 off of any order over $50.

ameet
What a time to be alive in which you can get a meal replacement shake shipped to your apartment in two days or less. You're really maximizing that Prime aren't you.

anthony
Yep - aren't you doing most of your shopping on Amazon too?

ameet
Totes, Amazon Prime is basically like that enabling friend who encourages you to buy too many things. Apparently I'm not alone in that:
fortune.com
Fortune
Amazon Prime Members Now Outnumber Non-Prime Customers
And Prime Day 2016 is still to come

ameet

...Prime shoppers spent about $1,200 on average last year, compared to about $500 for non-members.


anthony
That two day shipping is pretty addictive...

ameet
I bet Bezos is going to send me a personalized thank you letter at the end of their fiscal year.

anthony

β€œPrime is a somewhat different service than it was two years ago,” said Mike Levin, partner and co-founder of CIRP, in the study's press release. β€œAmazon has expanded its media offerings greatly, including exclusive video content, HBO programs, streaming music, and now personal photo storage."


anthony
Who is using Amazon for their photo storage?

ameet
Definitely not me. I'm 100% in on that Google Photos life. But I've noticed Amazon adding random services to Prime over the years that I will continue to never use.

anthony
Look at this non-exhaustive list of Amazon Prime features:

anthony

anthony
Looking forward to picking up some Amazon Elements Vitamin K soon.

ameet
I never even knew they did Restaurant Delivery. "FREE one-hour delivery from popular restaurants"? I know where I'm getting my Num Pang Coconut Tiger Shrimp Sandwich tomorrow from.



In all seriousness though, it's crazy to think about how different the stuff is we buy on Amazon now compared to what it was. Even a few years ago most of my buys were books, TVs, electronics, and other one-off purchases. But once I got Prime I started getting in the habit of using Amazon for all my random Home Essential Items too.


anthony
Yep. I remember when I first started using Amazon way back when, it was almost always cheaper than its competitors. However there a subtle shift once Amazon started pushing Prime two day shipping. Value gave way to convenience.

anthony
businesswire.com
Boomerang Commerce Analysis Finds Target and Walmart Significantly Cheaper Than Amazon for Key Grocery Items

anthony

For the top 100 beverage items on Target, the identical products on Amazon were 97 percent more expensive


ameet
I've observed that between Prime, Subscribe & Save, the Dash Buttons, and the Echo, there are an increasing number of ways for you to "set it and forget it" and buy stuff from Amazon without actually needing to visit amazon.com. I'd hazard a guess that all these things are ways for Amazon to make the purchasing process frictionless, habitual, and eventually totally mindless.

ameet
This actually makes a ton of sense when you think about Jet.com and the other big e-commerce players. Buying laundry detergent and getting it shipped to your house in 2 days or less is basically the same experience regardless of whether it's on Amazon or Jet or Target or whatever, so Amazon is trying to make it super easy for you to keep using them by embedding themselves in more of your life.

anthony
So Amazon has done a good job at creating their own ecosystem with the products and services that make it easier to buy. How would you describe what Amazon Video is trying to accomplish?

ameet
It's funny you say that because even as a modern tech-forward media consumer I always forget that Amazon has video. I'd say that video is almost like a hedge against the inevitable commoditization of free two-day shipping; the original content they have is a way to further differentiate against other e-commerce players. Between the content that you want to keep watching and the extent to which Amazon has ingrained certain habits and behaviors in you, they increase the switching cost associated with going somewhere else and get you locked-in as a result:

ameet

Vendor lock-in
In economics, vendor lock-in, also known as proprietary lock-in or customer lock-in, makes a customer dependent on a vendor for products and services, unable to use another vendor without substantial switching costs. Lock-in costs which create barriers to market entry may result in antitrust action against a monopoly.

anthony
The original content Amazon is creating for Amazon Video doesn't feel compelling to me. I could live without it, could you?

ameet
Yeah I mostly ignore it tbh. I don't find Amazon Video interesting enough to prevent me from using another e-commerce site.

anthony
Yep. I bought a few cases of La Croix from Jet.com.

anthony
Jet.com - recently acquired by Walmart:
nytimes.com
The New York Times
Walmart Rewrites Its E-Commerce Strategy With $3.3 Billion Deal for Jet.com
The acquisition of Jet, the largest deal ever for an e-commerce company, is intended to help both companies compete with Amazon.

anthony
Walmart sounds like they built this deal around getting Jet.com's founder - Marc Lore:

anthony

Walmart is not valuing Jet.com solely based on traditional metrics like profitability, which the start-up does not have. The retailer is spending billions in cash and stock in large part for something β€” or someone β€” else: Marc Lore. Mr. Lore, a serial e-commerce entrepreneur who started Jet.com, is seen as one of the few executives who can help put a dent in Amazon’s edge.


ameet
I like how one of the first things that Marc Lore did was eliminate one of the key value propositions of Amazon Prime:
recode.net
Recode
Walmart is going after Amazon Prime with free two-day shipping and no membership fee
The only catch is a $35 order minimum.

ameet
They recognize that these days customers expect two-day shipping at a minimum and are making it accessible to everyone, even without paying $79 a year for Prime.

anthony
There are two competing strategies here. Amazon started out with convenience with free two day shipping and is now bundling additional products into Prime to create more consumer lock in. Then we have Walmart taking the opposite approach by betting heavily on value over habits with their free two day shipping. Whatever the result, we're all gonna be getting free shipping for the foreseeable future.

ameet
and you'll be drinking Soylent for the foreseeable future as well.

anthony
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