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The Future of Retail: How Amazon is Changing the Game

Updated: Nov 15, 2023

Retail is an industry that's constantly evolving, and one company leading the charge is Amazon. With its massive scale and relentless focus on innovation, Amazon is shaping the future of retail in some major ways. Two recent articles highlight Amazon's latest moves and what they mean for the wider retail sector.

Amazon Ramps Up One-Day Delivery

Amazon is aggressively expanding its one-day delivery capabilities, aiming to make this speed the standard for Prime members. The company is pouring $800 million into shortening delivery times, with the goal of bringing one-day delivery to more than 10 million products. [1]

This push for faster delivery reflects the growing demands of customers in the e-commerce age. Amazon is setting the pace here, forcing other retailers to step up their game to compete. The infrastructure and logistical investments necessary to enable one-day delivery at scale could accelerate the demise of brick-and-mortar stores without omni-channel capabilities.

As Experient Group’s Senior Director, Leigh Cook notes, “This is another great example of the way businesses are changing their logistics, supply chain, service and last mile delivery models, and sales channels to deliver products and services just-in-time "wherever" the customer is. It's no longer just "direct-to-consumer," but "direct-to-everywhere" instead in new and novel ways. Consumers increasingly expect "what they want whenever and however they want it." This includes the innovative subscription models, bundled service models, new sharing platforms, social commerce, marketplaces, and pop-up shops cropping up everywhere as well.”

Amazon Go Tech Comes to College Campus

Amazon Go's “just walk out” checkout-free technology is also expanding into new settings. [2] The University of Pittsburgh is the first university to feature several Amazon Go stores on campus, allowing students to grab-and-go without stopping to pay. This rollout into the university ecosystem demonstrates Amazon's intent to permeate all aspects of retail, providing extreme convenience for time-strapped consumers. Cashier-less stores are expected to become more widespread as the technology improves. Amazon Go is paving the way for frictionless in-person shopping experiences that combine the best of online and offline.

According to Cook, “Amazon raised the experience game with "one click" shopping online. However, now with all the contactless tech and biometrics, consumers increasingly accept completely frictionless, automated, and "no click" experiences reducing the endless and mindless hours spent standing in lines and completing transactions.”

Key Takeaways

Amazon's appetite for disruption is reshaping consumer expectations and pushing the pace of innovation in retail. One-day delivery may soon become the norm, while cashier-less physical stores gain traction in certain environments. To stay competitive, retailers will need robust omni-channel capabilities and very rapid fulfillment. The future of retail is fast, flexible, and driven by data - advantages that Amazon possesses at massive scale.

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