Covid-19 and the incredible growth of Amazon

While the Covid-19 crisis does not seem to be close to ending and thousands of firms, small businesses, restaurants, and self-employed Americans are struggling to stay afloat, online shopping seems like the only way out of the problem. Many companies have understood this and have adapted to new consumer habits, but the growth of Amazon is an exceptional case.  

The online sales giant has been informing investments, advances, innovations, and diversification, to meet the new needs of consumers, at a time when most are struggling to survive.

Amazon has benefited from wild growth in e-commerce during the coronavirus pandemic, as consumers turned to online shopping amid government-enforced lockdowns and the need for social distancing. 

Bezos, Amazon’s billionaire founder, saw his wealth top $200 billion earlier this week thanks to a rise in Amazon shares, that are up 84% year-to-date.

Having your Amazon order delivered by a drone is getting closer and closer

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported Monday that it has granted Amazon approval to deliver packages via drones. Amazon said this is an important step, but added that it is still conducting drone tests.

Seattle-based Amazon is the third company with a drone delivery service to have obtained flight approval, the FAA reported.

According to the AP agency, UPS and Alphabet, Google's parent company, received authorization to use drones during deliveries last year.

The online shopping giant has been working on the Amazon Prime Air project that uses drones for several years, but the company has had to curb its aspirations due to regulatory hurdles.

In December 2013, its CEO, Jeff Bezos, said in a 60-minute CBS interview that drones would fly to customers' homes "within five years."

In June 2019, Amazon revealed that electric drones could carry packages of up to 5 pounds and were designed to make deliveries in 30 minutes, leaving purchases in the backyards of homes.

At that time, an executive of the company reported that the deliveries would be occurring "in months" but, despite the fact that 14 months have passed since that day, the company has not mentioned when its drone service may start with the deliveries that buyers do on your platform.

Having obtained the legal authorization to deliver orders with drones is, however, a fundamental step for the project to become a reality.

Amazon continues to surprise with its technological advances

In the same week that the online sales giant obtained permission to deliver packages using drones, it has announced another launch that will revolutionize the consumer experience. What is it about?

Amazon continues with its desire to automate convenience stores and revolutionize the user experience has introduced a new smart cart that allows shopping without going through the checkout area.

The "carts", called Dash Cart, will be able to register the objects that buyers place when making their purchases, creating a list and will prevent you from passing through the checkout area of any of their stores.

According to information from CNBC, the carts will appear for the first time in Los Angeles stores this year.

How do the carts work?

To make purchases with the Dash Cart, you must have an Amazon account and you will have to download the application on a cell phone. When the consumer scans a QR code the Alexa shopping list will be displayed on the screen.

The “smart carts” will detect the products that are placed inside and thanks to the cameras and sensors, the cart will have a scale that will weigh the fruit or vegetables you purchase.

The carts are designed only for small purchases and can also make valid the discount coupons you have for your products thanks to a scanner that they will have integrated.

When you finish shopping, you will only have to pick up the merchandise while Amazon automatically charges the account.

This eliminates waiting in line, at times when it is necessary to minimize human contact.

Many thought that Dash Cars would be available in Amazon Go stores but, according to CNBC, they will be available in their new supermarkets that will offer food, fruit, and frozen food.

 Amazon opens its first fresh store in Los Angeles

Amazon, one of the companies that have most benefited from the worldwide pandemic, is now opening the first location of its new chain of grocery stores. With this move, the tech giant is now searching to attract a new set of customers.

The first Amazon Fresh grocery store, located in Los Angeles’ Woodland Hills neighborhood, will open its doors this week and seeks to court a different set of customers than Whole Foods shoppers. 

Amazon has three other Fresh store locations, including in Irvine and Northridge, California, as well as the Chicago suburb Naperville, all of which are being used for online order fulfillment and it is still unknown when they’ll open to the public.

Amazon aspires to crack open a new segment of the U.S. grocery industry and the new format incorporates a blend of in-store and online shopping while offering consumers a variety of products at lower price points than Whole Foods. 

The 35,000-square-foot store will be stocked with supermarket staples like Nabisco cookies, Coca-Cola drinks, and Kellogg’s cereal, as well as products from Whole Foods’ cheaper private-label brand, 365. 

Store aisles will also feature Amazon’s own brands, including Happy Belly snacks, Cursive wine, and a new line of Fresh-branded food products. 

Amazon, in light of the pandemic, will require customers and employees to wear masks and it will limit the store to 50% capacity, among other safety protocols.

Amazon keeps on growing when most companies are downsizing 

While most retailers are fighting to stay afloat, Amazon announced that it is planning to expand its tech hubs and corporate offices in Dallas, Detroit, Denver, New York (Manhattan), Phoenix, and San Diego, creating 3,500 new jobs. According to CNBC, 2,000 of the new roles will be based in New York, where it has acquired the Lord & Taylor Fifth Avenue building.

Amazon has already committed to creating thousands of jobs in New York in November 2018 when the company said it would create 25,000 jobs over a 15-year period. 

The e-commerce giant said it expects to invest $1.4 billion in the offices nationwide and add more square feet to each location. 

The new hires will work on areas like AWS (Amazon Web Services), Alexa, Amazon Advertising, Amazon Fashion, and Amazon Fresh. 

Amazon had already announced at the end of July that it was also planning to create 1,000 new jobs in Ireland and set up a new 170,000 square foot campus in Dublin. 

Amazon had added 600,000 to Company staff since 2010 and has more than 876,000 employees worldwide.

What changes is Amazon planning?

The increase in online commerce and the drop in sales in shopping centers represent a new opportunity for Jeff Bezos' company

The largest mall operator in the United States, Simon Property Group Inc, is in talks with Amazon to convert the spaces vacated by department stores that declared bankruptcy into fulfillment centers, according to a report released by the newspaper The Wall. Street Journal.

 Amazon is aiming to use the spaces left by the closed branches of JCPenney and Sears that are operated by Simon Property Group Inc., according to the newspaper.

 The Wall Street Journal report, however, does not mention possible locations that Amazon would be interested in turning into delivery and warehousing centers to help the company streamline its logistics capacity in the face of increasing online orders. During the isolation, online sales rose just over 40% during the second quarter of the year.

Fulfillment centers are used to store an inventory of electronic products, appliances, and medical products until orders are shipped to customers, according to the Amazon website.

Amazon is also in talks with other companies that own commercial spaces to expand its supermarket chain according to reports from the Bloomberg agency.


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