Amazon has expanded immensely throughout the years. From humble beginnings as an online bookstore to offering products and services of all kinds, including groceries, original television shows, and digital downloads, Amazon shows no sign of slowing down.
Because of how ambitious and innovative Amazon is, there’s constant curiosity surrounding what the e-commerce giant might do next. We talked to Netrush staff members to get their predictions on future markets that Amazon may enter in the not-so-distant future.
Event Ticket Sales – Prediction by Connor Parsons
Online ticket sales to events pull in about $5 billion per year, according to a 2016 study by IBISWorld. At the same time, the industry is steadily growing, with a 4.8% increase from 2011 to 2016. With festival culture getting more and more popular, Amazon selling and streaming music downloads and collecting customer data, and with the recent Amazon purchase of rights to stream Thursday night football, selling tickets online seems like a logical next step. As the clear leader in e-commerce, why wouldn’t Amazon enter the world of ticket sales in the US and worldwide?
Imagine being able to purchase tickets to a concert with your Prime account. No entering credit card information. No waiting around for the ticketing website to let you through a queue. No surprise “service charges” or “processing fees.” Amazon has an opportunity to break the frustrating world of online ticket purchasing, which could very well benefit both the consumer and the event company.
If Amazon’s innovation in other markets tells us anything, the shopping experience has an opportunity to be enhanced as well. An Amazon listing page could show photos (or even 3D models) of the venue, your exact ticket seat (and view from that seat), videos of previous events at the venue, and much more.
Whether Amazon decides to acquire an existing ticketing company like Ticketmaster, an innovator like SeatGeek, or use a from-the-ground-up platform, I predict that Amazon will announce plans to sell event tickets in the United States by the end of 2018.
NOTE: Amazon recently started selling event tickets in the UK. This is a good indicator of plans to expand and innovate in the future, especially as they aren’t topping Ticketmaster or Stubhub in the UK just yet. However, Amazon UK is fighting hard by offering premium options such as Luxury Amazon Lounges and premium seating options to Prime members.
Real Estate – Prediction by Desirae Burkley
Location, location, location. You’re already shopping on Amazon for curtains, dishes, or a pink flamingo for the front yard. Why not click over and find a new house to hang those curtains in? Folks who are relocating tend to rely heavily on reviews, research, and input from others about new neighborhoods, school districts, and so on. With Amazon’s extensive review network, this could be a go-to spot to learn about your new home. Online real estate is a large and growing market; Zillow alone brought in almost $650 million in 2015. With Amazon’s resources, entering the real estate market seems like a possibility, and may be a possible step toward increasing their cross-category spread. Additionally, Amazon already has users’ payment information, which could make online payments a cinch for renters. Innovative web-based rental companies are already making a big mark, such as
Cozy.co, who processes more than $500 million per year. Cozy and similar companies allow renters and landlords to collect payment through an easy online platform that accepts credit cards, and are gaining quite a bit of traction. Amazon could either become a fierce competitor, or acquire an existing rental payments business altogether.
Peer-to-peer payment systems– Prediction by Rochelle Berghoff
Amazon has reason to introduce a peer-to-peer payment platform, much like Venmo or Square Cash. They could differentiate from competitors with incentives for payments via Amazon credits, or Amazon Cash, to redeem on the Amazon Marketplace. There would be even more of an incentive if they offered the ability to do direct bank transfer within the existing Amazon app. As the peer-to-peer money transfer market in the United States is expected to cross the $200 billion mark by 2020, this is a growing market that Amazon has the resources to enter relatively easily: they already have financial information from customers, are equipped to transfer funds in and out of accounts, and have consumer data to help target early adopters.
VR Storefronts – Prediction by Shon-Lueiss Harris
The problems of the past guide the solutions of the future. When thinking about the markets Amazon could one day enter, it pays to revisit the basic desires of the consumer. However a person may shop, there is an inherent sense of trust in a product that can be experienced firsthand. To meet that desire in the future Amazon may decide to embrace virtual reality. If you need a new coffeemaker it’s easy enough to type in coffeemaker and begin comparing for the best deal. A consumer’s dream, right? Now say you need a comfortable pair of shoes. You have all the information you need to find the best deal, but what does price have to do with comfort? The reality is that Amazon is a sketch — a rough musing that takes the intellectual part of shopping and brings it to the web. We as consumers are satisfied, mostly, and have accepted that there are simply some purchases best made in a physical store. Fortunately, Amazon as we know it today is the beginning. Amazon has an opportunity to redefine ecommerce with virtual reality. As the VR market is projected to hit $25 billion by 2021, and with competitors like Alibaba already offering virtual storefronts, Amazon must act quickly to have a competitive lead. Utilizing VR, Amazon could offer the conveniences consumers expect when shopping online, with the addition of a tangible experience. Customers could use their Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard, or the inevitable Amazon Echo VR to transport themselves into the ideal shopping environment. Like Neo from 1999’s The Matrix, a shopper could call upon a rack of clothes to try on — or further, hiking gear to try firsthand. For brands, this presents the opportunity to literally create an environment suited to the ideal customer. The possibilities of a virtual marketplace are simply endless. The goal of any online retailer is to bring the shopping experience to the consumer. Amazon is already striving to create an environment where consumers can compare options and find a product they can trust, but that mission requires constant innovation. An Amazon virtual marketplace is exactly that — and a bold step into the future.
Automotive Expansion & Repairs – Prediction by Aaron Bowers
Several months ago, while driving home, my car’s check engine light began to flash. Since I know little about cars, I took it to a mechanic and for $400.00 it was fixed. All they replaced were the spark plugs and valve cover, as my oil had leaked through the seal onto the spark plugs, ruining them. Knowing what I know now, I could have just gone to Amazon, purchased what I needed, and had my mechanic friend install it all. Don’t worry, I would have paid him for labor.
Spark Plugs Cost
per unit: $4.49
Final cost (x4): $17.96
Valve Cover Cost
per unit: $23.70
Final cost: $23.70
Total cost: $41.66
Total potential savings: $358.34
Where automotive businesses (primarily car parts shops) are going to take the biggest hit won’t be from customers like myself, but rather customers like my mechanic friend: people who are well-versed in car repairs and know how to identify problems and solutions. This will be the first group to start abandoning expensive car shops — especially when the customer has the knowledge to repair the vehicle themselves. If someone enjoys working on cars, why pay more when you could just do it yourself? Although this would be a big change for automotive businesses (who have to pay for the cost of employees, building expenses, etc), it alone wouldn’t completely shift the industry. However, services like Amazon Business could be a game changer if utilized. I have the good fortune to know someone who can work on cars, but if a customer were in a position where they didn’t know someone personally, they could use Amazon Business to hire an Amazon registered professional to install the part during the checkout process. To think that I could have just bought those five parts for $41.66 and, during checkout, clicked to hire a professional to come to my home to install them, seems unsettlingly seamless and easy. This is what ecommerce shoppers are looking for: cheaper prices, a frictionless shopping experience, made easy, and delivered right to your doorstep, preferably in two days’ time.
NOTE: images in this post are purely speculative and were created by Netrush.