Amazon bids for empty Homebase stores
Amazon has emerged as a lead runner for the purchase of a group of Homebase stores being sold off as part of a sweeping restructure of their business. Amazon sees this as an opportunity to overcome their shortage of warehouse stock in the UK. It is estimated that Amazon acquired 4million sq ft of warehouse space last year - the equivalent of 63 football pitches!
Homebase stores are located in urban areas, so they will be a valuable staging post for Amazon to expand their delivery network and reduce delivery times in built-up areas. If it goes ahead, this acquisition would strengthen Amazon's Prime Now same-day delivery service, and, in doing so could significantly erode one of physical retail's last advantages over Amazon, that of greater immediacy. Such a move to acquire localised warehouses would also help shore up a weakness of Amazon in delivery returns. Currently, to return a product, customers need to print a returns label, repackage the good and arrange for how the product will be received, either through the post or via a locker with refunds processed within 2–3 weeks. Having a location where shoppers can drop off returns will improve efficiency and the customer experience. Further into the future, these locations could also incorporate customer-facing areas, providing Amazon with other possibilities. It could showcase products where tangibility is important, such as textiles and furniture, to increase consideration in these sectors and enable it to launch click & collect
Amazon is rumoured to be setting up an insurance comparison site
Amazon is in talks with some of Europe's top insurance firms to see if they would contribute products to a UK comparison website. It is expected that they would sell home and motor insurance policies, given their popularity on UK price comparison sites. If Amazon goes ahead, this would be a significant challenge to existing UK sites given their data access, their cutting-edge technology, their reach and loyal customer base. There are no reports yet on when the launch might happen.
Amazon to launch a device for streaming live TV
Tivo shares fell 10 per cent this week on the announcement that Amazon is developing a Live TV Recorder. Yet another brand to feel the Amazon effect. The device dubbed 'Frank' will include physical storage and connect to Amazon's existing Fire TV boxes, the living room hub for the company's online video push. Users will be able to record live TV and stream the video to a smartphone so it can be watched later. The new product is being developed by Lab 126, the creators of the Echo Speaker.
US Open on Prime
Amazon takes another big step into broadcasting on Monday with their live coverage of the US Open from Flushing Meadows. It will be the only way to watch the tennis action in the UK & Ireland. Prime subscribers will be able to watch multiple live streams from several courts, catch up highlights and full-match replays. To add to the viewing experience, Amazon has integrated Alexa into their broadcasting platform. During the course of the tournament, you will be able to ask your Alexa for the order of play, the latest scores and tennis player profiles