19 Dec AMAZON OWNS UNPARALLELED CONVENIENCE
By PLAYBOOK STUDIO Brand Strategist, Caneel Eddy
For many of us, shopping on Amazon is a habit that’s hard to kick. The promise of 2-day, next day, or even same-day shipping on virtually every item known to man is a little too enticing. The only way to possibly get a product faster is to physically go to a store and purchase it – assuming that it’s in stock – and with today’s supply chain issues, that’s hardly a guarantee. But somehow, Amazon seems to have everything, in every shape and size, all of the time, often for cheaper than what you would find at the store anyway. Supporting local and small businesses has almost become a thing of privilege, reserved for those with the time and money to spare.
I moved to Denver in the height of post-COVID supply chain disruption. I had every intention of supporting local furniture businesses and wanted my apartment to be furnished with unique, funky pieces, as opposed to Amazon items that everyone and their mother has. That was the plan, until I actually began going out and shopping. $3,000 for the only coffee table for miles, which was too small for the space and not the right finish to match my decor. $8,000 for an ugly upholstered couch which, by the way, wasn’t expected to arrive for 6-8 months. It was the same story at every shop. I begrudgingly opened my Amazon app – just to check. Dozens upon dozens of beautiful furniture pieces in exactly the styles I was looking for, with thousands of 5 star reviews, for thousands of dollars less than anything I saw in person. Oh, and they were all guaranteed to arrive tomorrow. Literally tomorrow. I wanted to deactivate my Amazon account and throw my phone into oncoming traffic. But instead, add to cart, add to cart, add to cart…
And so it goes for Amazon’s 300 million+ Prime subscribers. How did we get here, and at what cost? We’ve all heard about the treacherous working conditions that Amazon employees are forced to endure and how local businesses are being gobbled up by the giant left and right, but this knowledge and guilt often just isn’t enough to pull our thumb away from that glowing “Buy Now” button. Shep Hyken, Forbes contributor and author of The Convenience Revolution, calls Amazon the “most convenient store on the planet,” and names convenience the next major competitive differentiator. Hyken outlines the 6 areas of convenience that have disrupted direct competition, and in some cases, entire industries: Friction Reduction, Technology, Self-Service, Subscription, Delivery, and Access. Many companies have woven one or two of these concepts into their business models but few, if any, embody all six in the way that Amazon does.
In today’s fast-paced, gotta-have-it-now world where attention spans are becoming almost comically short, immediacy is no longer nice to have, but absolutely necessary to stay afloat. Amazon is at least partially responsible for this mass mentality and for better or worse, the company’s promise to deliver unparalleled convenience isn’t going away anytime soon.