Tag Archives: Amazon

Countering fast retail

Bicycle shop with search bar
A bicycle shop with search bar

I was working on a piece of work recently with a colleague about the retail industry. Our thinking was moving into fast fashion, or more like “fast retail” – a made up term describing the sales of low-cost goods increasingly quickly, probably through subscription channels.

We started to consider the counter this trend, but the following piece was dropped. I recently picked it up again when I saw an article about UK retail sales.

Countering fast retail

The Guardian article “Charity shop and antique purchases drive up UK retail sales” is interesting because it’s such a counter balance to the constant product advertising and marketing culture we live in: “Buy more”, “buy it cheaper”, “buy the latest version”, etc. etc.

There’s usually a counterculture that either stops, or prolongs, a trend. With retail sales it might be a combination of Minimalism, the book and Netflix documentary; and Marie Kondo or KonMari – her process of tidying up to create joy. (If that sentence looks peculiar, then watch one of the programmes to get the picture).

Minimalism and Marie Kondo both recommend buying fewer high-quality goods rather than lots of poor-quality goods.

Maybe this explains the increase in charity shop purchases. In the Guardian article, Paul Dales, chief UK economist at Capital Economics, said “…households still have the ability to spend and remain the strongest part of the economy.” In other words, people are choosing to go into charity shops over buying brand new goods. Continue reading Countering fast retail

Why Netflix and Amazon (probably) don’t mind users sharing passwords

It’s been an interesting week at Netflix, with US subscribers falling by 120,000.

Another interesting piece of Netflix news has been about password sharing. According to analysts MoffettNathanson, 14% of Netflix subscribers share their password, and only 6% share their Amazon password to access Prime video.

The reason why password sharing on Amazon Prime is much lower than Netflix is probably because it’s easy for a friend to purchase an Amazon product once you give them your password. Possibly just as undesirable – it’s straightforward for people to review purchases on your account once you have given them your password!

I’ve been asked a few times this week, why Netflix and Amazon don’t clamp down on password sharing. I think the answer lies with a comment from Spotify.

Think of those Netflix users who are using someone else’s password as ‘freemium’ subscribers. Spotify encourages freemium (non-paying, or trial) accounts to learn “that music is an important part of their life worth paying for”. And consider the data from those listeners, how Spotify can “learn from the biggest possible group of music fans in the world.”

Freemium places a user on the path to a sales conversion. It’s a far better path than traditional or digital marketing channels. When people share a password, it shares the value of the product, that might want to make them ultimately go and buy the product.

Netflix has a vastly different strategy to Spotify though. Netflix is testing the maximum price that users are willing to pay for the service. It recently increased the monthly subscription cost in the US from $11 to $13. Continue reading Why Netflix and Amazon (probably) don’t mind users sharing passwords

Why the 20% of UK homes that own a voice assistant don’t read the terms and conditions

Alexa prank to set an alarm at 3am
Alexa practical jokes were invented in 2014

Highlights from Richard Watson’s latest Brainmail:

  • In the UK, 5.5 million homes (around 20% of all homes) now possess a voice activated assistant.
  • 20 per cent of 3-5-year-olds now own their own iPad.
  • Google and Facebook have more than a fifth of the world’s advertising spending (they have 50-60 per cent of digital advertising spend).
  • The terms and conditions for Amazon’s Kindle are 73,198 words long and would take around 9 hours to read. I checked this out (link) and the terms are made up from 20 documents, plus the privacy notice.
  • Compared to the 400 deaths per year from terrorism, more Europeans drown in their own bathtubs, and ten times more die from falling down the stairs.

Continue reading Why the 20% of UK homes that own a voice assistant don’t read the terms and conditions

Inside an Amazon Fulfilment Centre

Amazon LTN4 in Dunstable

On Bank Holiday Monday my family and I visited our local Amazon fulfilment centre for a factory tour. It was an eye into the future of robotic automation, and an opportunity to see how something as traditional warehouse stock picking can be reinvented from the ground up.

We visited LTN4, which is in Dunstable (near Luton, Hertfordshire) in the UK. Amazon fulfilment centres are named after their nearest airport codes (Luton airport is less than 10 miles away), and we visited the 4th building on the industrial estate.

From the moment you arrive at the car park, safety is a priority. There are signs every few metres instructing drivers to reverse into spaces.

Inside the warehouse, there are safety signs everywhere. The second priority is security. Employees and visitors need to leave everything except keys, wallet and phone in a locker. There are hundreds of lockers for the 1,200 permanent staff. And there’s even an Amazon locker in the reception area. There are airport-style metal detectors which all staff need to pass through on the way in and out of the warehouse.

Once on the tour, we watched the stock fillers, stock pickers, and two sets of packing teams – for customers who ordered a single item, and on the opposite side of the warehouse, pickers for customers with multiple items. We weren’t allowed to take any photos during the tour, except in the room below. Continue reading Inside an Amazon Fulfilment Centre

Amazon Alexa vs Google Home under one roof

When the iPhone was launched, industry commentators predicted that everything would have a touch screen. And then Alexa came along, and those commentators predicted nothing would have a screen – everything will be Internet-enabled and voice controlled.

And the latest version of Alexa – has… a screen! Sometimes I think Amazon’s product strategy includes Jeff Bezos’ sense of humour.

We have had a Google Home device in our house for a year now. Actually, my son bought it and it stays in his room. Everyone in our house has an Android phone, and the Home device tries to be extra clever by automatically linking our phones to the speaker. I remember the first time I worked from home after he bought the Google Home and I kept hearing something upstairs. When I went to investigate, all my alerts were being announced by Google Home in his room!

My favourite use of his Home device is when I wake him up in the morning by asking Google to play some music that he doesn’t like, at maximum volume. Continue reading Amazon Alexa vs Google Home under one roof

Weekly news round up 2 November 2017

Here’s a summary of interesting stories I’ve seen over the last week. I try to concentrate on the stories which aren’t necessarily mainstream.

Finance

There might be fewer [free] ATMs in the UK soon. Link, the banking organisations who fund 70,000 UK-based, free UK cash machines, want to cut their contributions by 20%. https://www.finextra.com/newsarticle/31276/link-plans-could-slash-number-of-free-atms

McKinsey wrote a report about banks needing to create their own platforms and new business models as Alibaba, Amazon and Google start competing with them. McKinsey said that banks need to capitalise on their consumer trust and wealth of data. I agree and wrote a comment on the article which then spawned an online debate. https://www.finextra.com/news/fullstory.aspx?newsitemid=31251 Continue reading Weekly news round up 2 November 2017

The future of digital advertising

Shipping and sea routes - see the big data example belowI was kindly invited to an event today called “The Ad Apocalypse And The Rise Of Interactive Brand Experiences”, hosted by wayin. Wayin runs a content management system for brands to run interactive campaigns in their digital advertising.

Although the event proved how wayin was the answer to several of life’s challenges, there were a few interesting thought leadership pieces at the event which I’ve tried to capture below.

My apologies for brevity in the notes format and any spelling mistakes.

Wayin introduction, Richard Jones (Wayin CEO)

Richard started by describing how Mondelez has pulled £100M from their advertising recently due to the lack of impact that their digital advertising spending is having. They’ve never pulled ad spend before the holiday season. Continue reading The future of digital advertising

Digital best practice: Release regularly

One of the best practice digital principles we talk about at Endava is regular rollouts to users. The more regular and automated you can make them, the quicker you can provide additional functionality to your users.

Amazon

Amazon’s release to live every 11.6 seconds. This was the mean average for weekdays during May 2011. During that month, they had up to 1,079 production deployments per hour. Continue reading Digital best practice: Release regularly

Watching TV in the Howard House

Chromecast - the best bit of kit on our television
Chromecast – the best bit of kit on our television

Like many households in the UK, our TV viewing habits have changed in the last few years, and continue to change.

To set the scene, we have four kids, ranging from 9 to 14 years old (plus Mrs H and I).

Our TV package consists of the following, each of which I’ll then describe:

  • Sky TV
  • Netflix
  • BT Sport
  • Now TV
  • YouTube
  • Google Play
  • And recently… an Amazon Prime Trial

Continue reading Watching TV in the Howard House

Reading list for 12 October 2015

Kids playing cards
Yes you can play cards on an iPad, but kids don’t enjoy it as much as the real game

In between all these links I’m currently reading LEAN Enterprise – I’ll provide a full review if/ when I manage to finish it.

In the meantime, here are some of the more interesting links I’ve visited over the last week:

Mobile leads first half digital ad surge| warc.com – Ad spend on mobiles increased 51% to £1.08bn during the first half of 2015. Is it a bubble or a natural trend? Continue reading Reading list for 12 October 2015