Summary of “Retailers Race Against Amazon to Automate Stores”

JD and Alibaba both plan to sell their systems to other retailers and are working on additional checkout technologies.
At 120 of Walmart’s 4,700 American stores, shoppers can also scan items, including fruits and vegetables, using the camera on their smartphones and pay for them using the devices.
New start-ups are seeking to give retailers the technology to compete with Amazon’s system.
One of them, AiFi, is working on cashierless checkout technology that it says will be flexible and affordable enough that mom-and-pop retailers and bigger outlets can use it.
“There’s a gold rush feeling about this,” said Alan O’Herlihy, chief executive of Everseen, an Irish company working with retailers on automated checkout technology that uses artificial intelligence.
Retailers like Amazon could compile reams of data about where customers spend time inside their doors, comparable to what internet companies already know about their online habits.
Depending on how heavily retailers automate in the years to come, job losses could be severe in a sector that has already experienced wave after wave of store closings by the likes of Macy’s, Toys “R” Us and Sears.
Some traditional retailers are also skeptical about whether the sort of automation in Amazon Go can move to large stores.

The orginal article.

Summary of “To Win the Streaming Wars, Amazon Will Need to Take More Risks”

If there’s one thing that connects the three biggest streaming companies-Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and Netflix-it’s that they like to keep their numbers to themselves.
Amazon is far more than a streaming company, which separates it from Hulu and Netflix.
Amazon’s customers are there for more than watching content: It’s a gateway for the company to get even more people hooked on streaming services to purchase items online.
Still, the streaming arm of Amazon has seen better days, between the ousting of former Amazon Studios head Roy Price in light of sexual harassment allegations and the cancellation of several of the service’s critically acclaimed shows in the past few months.
Amazon evaluates its shows with a “Cost per first stream” method, dividing a program’s marketing and production costs by the number of people who tune in to the first episode, or “First streams.” For example, despite the first season of alt-history drama The Man in the High Castle costing $72 million, it drew 1.15 million first streams, which amounts to an average cost of $63 dollars per subscriber.
The least profitable season by a wide margin was Good Girls Revolt’s first and only chapter, which had just 52,000 first streams, costing Amazon $1,560 per subscriber.
It’s pennies compared with Netflix-which boasted having 94 million subscribers in the final quarter of 2017-but Amazon is far more than a streaming company.
If Amazon wants to grab a foothold in the streaming wars, it will need to take bigger risks to reach for a bigger reward.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Amazon Became Corporate America’s Nightmare”

Amazon became a verb because of the damage it can inflict on other companies.
The Amazon effect Healthcare stocks rebased to 2018 Amazon healthcare announcement.
Over the course of 2014, Amazon’s stock price fell more than 20 percent, making the company much less valuable than Walmart Inc. or China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., an Amazon look-alike that went public that September.
Amazon had always been the clear market leader in this kind of cloud computing service, but few outside the company were prepared for just how valuable AWS had become.
Bezos now loves to explain how happy customers give Amazon the ammo to add products and cut prices, which in turn draws more customers, more merchants, and the efficiencies to lower prices further, including by squeezing more money from partners.
Amazon is among world’s most valuable companies Amazon’s market cap compared to the 100 most valuable companies.
Amazon lost value after it posted its steepest-ever quarterly loss before taxes and interest following the unsuccessful Amazon Fire smartphone launch.
Amazon lost value after posting its steepest-ever quarterly loss before taxes and interest following the unsuccessful Amazon Fire smartphone launch.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Billionaire Philanthropist”

Jeff Bezos, the company’s founder and CEO, has experienced what The New York Times described as “What could be the most rapid personal-wealth surge in history.” His net worth hovers somewhere around $130 billion.
In placing their desires first and foremost, Bezos pleads a kind of humanitarian intent toward his customers: he wants the humble masses to get whatever they want.
Since the company’s early days, when all employees helped package customer orders, Bezos has expected unstinting enthusiasm for the Amazon mission.
While Amazon has since come to agreements with many states about paying sales tax, Bezos has long viewed it as an unnecessary tariff.
In truth, Jeff Bezos has shown little interest in putting his billions toward the common good.
Obsessed with rockets and space since he was a child, Bezos sees Blue Origin, his rocketry firm, as the key to cementing his legacy.
Last summer, Bezos turned to Twitter to solicit suggestions for charity work, explaining that he’d like to see results “At the intersection of urgent need and lasting impact.” It was a rare public expression of philanthropic interest for the world’s richest man, and he received thousands of responses about public health, refugees, climate change, and other issues.
Since his public solicitation, Bezos has remained fairly quiet, save a $33 million gift to a college fund for Dreamers.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How to Stop Giving Amazon Your Money”

The company offers everything from online shopping to audiobooks to AI-powered speakers, all at cut-throat prices, but Amazon also does a lot of things that you might not agree with.
If you’re ready to stop giving Amazon your hard-earned cash, you’ve definitely got your work cut out for you, but it’s not impossible.
You won’t be using Amazon anymore, so there’s no need to pay $99 per year for free shipping, online streaming, and all the other services that come with Prime.
You could also try Microsoft’s Invoke smart speaker, as long as you’re willing to take a chance with the company’s Cortana AI.Stream TV on a Gaming Console Instead of Amazon Fire TV. When it comes to picking a streaming set-top box that’s ethically sound, you don’t have many options if you’re not a fan of the NRA. NRATV is still available on Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Roku, and Google Chromecast, but don’t give up yet.
Amazon Prime Video is a great service, but there are plenty of other places to get your TV and movie fix-as long as you don’t mind missing out on Amazon’s original programming.
If you run an online business, there’s a decent chance you rely on Amazon Web Services to support your website.
The prices for all three services can change pretty frequently as Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and others try to edge each other out.
Amazon offers two different music streaming services, and telling them apart can be complicated.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Design Theory Behind Amazon’s $5.6 Billion Success”

From an aesthetic point of view, Amazon’s web store is neither simple nor beautiful-two things we expect of good design.
Amazon’s design succeeds because it makes use of four key principles that all great shopping experiences embody-whether digital or physical, luxury, or low-cost.
The transparency of Prime’s mental model is what enables Amazon’s most notable interaction design achievements for shopping: the simplicity and elegance of Amazon’s patent for one-click purchases, which laid the groundwork for shopping by voice on Alexa as well as the interaction design of Amazon’s Dash buttons.
Amazon’s visual design might not be streamlined, minimal, beautiful, or engage people on an emotional level, but it is immensely useful.
Amazon’s success brings into relief a principle that is sometimes hard to swallow in the design community-successful design is not necessarily beautiful.
To examine Amazon’s success through the lens of design requires looking at the design of the systems below the interface as much as its surface.
Amazon’s design ethos has undoubtedly made as much of an impact on the world as companies more famous for their design, such as Apple or Ikea, though it gets little credit.
It’s worth noting that the design principles Amazon has leaned on to craft its experience are also areas of opportunity for competitors-each of these principles describes what people value in a shopping experience.

The orginal article.

Summary of “A Small Town Kept Walmart Out. Now It Faces Amazon.”

He’s been successful in Greenfield, his hometown and the site of his first battle with Walmart, and in dozens of other towns across the country-victories he documents on his website Sprawl-Busters, an “International Clearinghouse on Big Box Anti-Sprawl Information.” Partly because of Norman’s efforts to keep out such stores, Greenfield still has a Main Street with dozens of businesses, including a bookstore, a record store, and Wilson’s, one of the last independently owned department stores in the country.
Many customers who kept shopping in Greenfield’s downtown because Walmart was too far away are now turning to Amazon and other websites that offer free and fast shipping for basic needs, sapping business away from local stores that had survived for so long.
Home Furnishing Co., a 100-year-old store in downtown Greenfield, closed last year, and then Magical Child, a toy store on the brink of closing, partnered with a local bookstore, World Eye Bookshop, to remain open, consolidating into one storefront.
His Greenfield location produces only a small part of his revenues-if he makes $50 in a day in his store, it’s a good day, he said.
He drove me by both sites when I was in town, and both are still tree-filled fields, rather than the big stores developers had envisioned.
Lisa Cocco, the owner of Opus, a Main Street boutique selling small gifts like jewelry, pottery, and wind chimes that has been around for 28 years, said that when she thought Walmart was coming to Greenfield, she opened a second store in another town because she didn’t think her original location could withstand the retailer’s presence.
Small businesses in other towns that successfully kept big-box stores out are also having trouble.
In Randolph a Vermont town that recently fought off a proposal to build a shopping mall and a hotel on the outskirts of town, Belmain’s, a variety store that has been in business since 1934, announced in October that it would close.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Amazon is complicit with counterfeiting”

When new counterfeit sellers keep popping up every week so you have to play whack-a-mole with Amazon, who take days to remove the sellers, it’s the beginning of the end for your small business.
Why Amazon doesn’t do this is mind-blowing and makes them complicit in the rampant counterfeiting on their platform.
The real sellers also have to police this themselves, Amazon isn’t active in going after them – and Amazon can hide behind the fact that independent sellers are doing the counterfeiting.
Amazon could also set the bar a little higher for Chinese sellers trying to sell existing products.
Because 9/10 times I’d bet they are ripping off an established brand – the margin math wouldn’t work and I’ve never heard of any brand selling to a Chinese seller to then sell on Amazon USA. For the record, I love Amazon as a customer, I buy way too much stuff with Prime, I’m a long shareholder, and think they are on track to become the biggest company in the world.
If you buy anything on Amazon, take a minute to look at the seller.
Amazon just took down the counterfeit sellers after 5 days of owning the listing, fingers crossed another one won’t pop up again next week.
Update #3: Came to our attention – Amazon doesn’t let 3rd party sellers sell AmazonBasics products.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why We May Soon Be Living in Alexa’s World”

In an effort to do so, I recently dived headlong into Alexa’s world.
Late-night shrieks notwithstanding, one day very soon, Alexa or something like it will be everywhere – and computing will be better for it.
At least 50 devices are now powered by Alexa, and more keep coming.
Many don’t include some of Alexa’s key functions – I tested devices that don’t let you set reminders, one of the main reasons to use Alexa.
Alexa on my Echo is the same as Alexa on my TV is the same as Alexa on my Sonos speaker.
Ford – the first of several carmakers to offer Alexa integration in its vehicles – lent me an F-150 pickup outfitted with Alexa.
Google, which is alive to the worry that Alexa will outpace it in the assistant game, is also offering its Google Assistant to other device makers.
Sonos now integrates with Alexa, and is planning to add Google Assistant soon.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Winn-Dixie and Tops grocery stores are close to bankruptcy”

Bloomberg reports that Winn-Dixie parent Bi-Lo and Tops Friendly Market could both declare bankruptcy this month, an ominous shakeout in a grocery industry that is bracing for new competition from Amazon and its newly acquired Whole Foods subsidiary.
Dig a little deeper and the situation is more complicated: Both companies are wheezing under heavy debt loads after being acquired by private equity firms.
Tops was sold by Koninklijke Ahold to Morgan Stanley Private Equity in 2007, and then in another leveraged deal to the company’s management in 2013.
PE firm Lone Star Funds bought Bi-Lo in 2005, saw the company through a bankruptcy in 2009, and then helped fund the acquisition of Winn-Dixie.
The classic PE playbook is to buy a company with borrowed money, take out enormous loans, and pocket the proceeds.
According to S&P Global Market Intelligence, from 2013 to 2017 PE firms received $100 billion in debt-funded payouts, while PE-owned companies defaulted on $49.2 billion worth of loans.
Last week the footsteps of doom in the grocery sector got louder: Amazon announced the launch of two-hour Whole Foods delivery in four US cities, free for Prime members.
“Free two-hour grocery delivery is ludicrously convenient, perhaps the most convenient thing Amazon has come up with yet. And why should we consumers pay for huge dividends to Kroger shareholders?”.

The orginal article.