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Amazon Prime Now & The Case of the Ripped Pants


It's the very beginning of a fun night out with friends, and you rip your pants. Wide open. Right in the crotch. Embarrassing! You want to hide. Does the fun end then and there? No sir!

Amazon Prime to the Rescue

At GRAYBOX we're a team of solution-hungry, tech-curious, digital consultants. So naturally when one of our developers accidentally destroyed his pants at a big office outing, he looked to technology to overcome this obstacle to having a good time.

The hero of our story, Dan, was already a member of Amazon Prime. Amazon Prime Now service is baked into the $99 Prime annual membership ‚ the only additional fees are if you choose 1 hour shipping for $7.99 (2 hour is free) and the system automatically suggests a tip of $5 for the driver who delivered your items. Users can choose to adjust the tip amount for the delivery person if they desire. The service offers household items and food, depending on what is available in your area. In Portland, you can order from New Seasons, the Asian superstore Uwajimaya, local restaurants, and select goods sold on Amazon.

Amazon Prime Now

Dan uses Amazon Prime Now regularly, often for food items, and reports that drivers who complete the deliveries typically seem to drive for Lyft and Uber as well. The Motley Fool reported recently that, "For those that use Prime Now, they use it a lot. 70% of respondents bought items on Prime Now several times per month, and 24% purchased at least one item each week." [reference]

The Rescue Operation

Here's how it went down. Dan's pants ripped at around 4pm on a weekday during an office outing at Grand City Bowl in Portland. Dan admits that if this had happened a year ago, he would have awkwardly left the social gathering to go home and change. But this time, he had one of two choices. One option, was he could ride the bus home on well-lit public transportation to change his pants while trying to hide the fact that they were ripped. Or he could order a replacement pair to be delivered right to the bowling alley within an hour, while staying in a dimly lit area and not sacrificing his night out. The choice seemed obvious!

Amazon Prime Now Pants

Dan logged onto Amazon Prime Now to order a new pair of Levi's 505 jeans at about 4:10 pm, chose one hour delivery, and within an hour and a couple minutes a driver named Saber delivered his pants right to the venue. Saber parked and was walking the item into the establishment when Dan met him on the sidewalk, taking a brown paper shopping bag from him which contained the brand new pants, wrapped in a clear plastic bag.

Amazon Prime Now Map

It salvaged the night! Dan didn't have to go all the way home to change, or try to seek out a replacement pair of pants at a nearby store. Instead, he continued having fun and the solution was delivered to him.

Ecommerce Implications

Amazon has already shaken up the retail and ecommerce worlds tremendously, and this new on-demand offering only advances the paradigm of what customers expect. "In 2015, Amazon Prime grew by 51% globally, bringing its membership total to an estimated 55‚60 million, according to Piper Jaffray." [ reference] Is immediate, on-demand delivery of goods the future of ecommerce?

In our opinion, yes and no. While experts observing the adoption of Amazon Prime Now suggest that the service is seeing a steady increase in adoption, the early adopters tend to be a younger target audience. Like most tech innovations, it might be years before other audience segments are ordering dinner through the service and full mass market adoption would take even longer.

Early Adopters Might Not Be Who You Expect

Urban and suburban dwellers have a plethora of retail outlets to choose from when shopping, but not everyone lives near commercial areas. Folks living in remote or rural areas rely heavily on online shopping. Typically, city-dwelling folks have led the adoption curve of high-tech advancements due to a higher concentration of people for businesses to reach, such as Square and tablet checkout systems, beacon-enabled push marketing, and crowd-sourced taxi services like Uber. (Learn more about these innovations and others in our Tech Trends for 2017 blog article.) But with on-demand shopping and delivery services like Amazon Prime Now, we might see non-urban areas lead the charge in terms of adoption.

Just a few weeks ago in early December, Amazon made headlines with their first drone delivery to rural England. Internet Retailer reported, "Retail giant Inc. has made its first drone delivery to an actual customer, dropping off a Fire TV device and a bag of popcorn to a house in the rural English countryside 13 minutes after receiving an online order." [ reference]

Ecommerce and Shipping Go Hand in Hand

Ecommerce companies rely heavily on the shipping industry to keep their promises to customers. Amazon Prime Now can only be successful if shipping services are able to meet the demand created.

Anticipating this, Amazon has beefed up their delivery capabilities. "Amazon has signed two separate agreements covering the leasing of 40 Boeing cargo planes, is actively involved in lobbying for drones to be used for Prime Air deliveries, and is reportedly pursuing other experiments in Europe—all of which have put FedEx, UPS and DHL on alert." [ reference]

As web developers and strategists at a digital consulting company, we GRAYBOX'ers are interested to see how ecommerce, shipping and customer behavior influence the future of services like Amazon Prime Now.

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