Amazon makes no apologies for being disruptive.
Everything they do focuses on customers and their user experience – “No competitor ever wrote me a cheque… why should I care about them…?” – Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder & CEO.
The session started with a recap of Amazon. Are they a tech company? A logistics company? A retailer? A P2P market place? A publishing platform? A movie studio?
They are all of them.
The session began with the evolution of Amazon’s customer service, from frictionless shopping to pre-emptive tech that automatically orders goods to your Amazon cart once they need replenishing.
The focus then moved onto ‘content’ (the 2011 acquisition of LoveFilm being key), through their multi-award winning LA-based “Amazon Studios” and the crowd-sourced approach to reviewing, rating (and ultimately commissioning) publicly submitted TV and film scripts.
But content needs a home… cue hardware, from “eReaders” to “Fire” devices (tablets, TVs, and smartphones). Amazon is not Apple on aesthetics or desirability, but they are high in spec and cheaper… essentially (and unabashedly) they are Trojan-horse vessels for introducing customers into the Amazon e-commerce ecosystem (the master plan).
Finally, the session ended with a spirited show and tell – the new Amazon app and “ECHO”, aka Alexa – a multi-functioning voice recognition/command device… it’s black, plastic, 9 inches and has flashing lights.
Due next year, it’s connected to the cloud, with an open API for developers. Acting like a virtual personal assistant – think Siri/Cortana (with the help of a companion app). It fulfils a range of tasks, from organising your calendar, recapping the sport and adding items to your Amazon basket.