Amazon.com Inc. is the No. 1 e-retailer in North America and Europe by sales, and is rapidly expanding globally. This is a digest of Amazon’s latest moves for the two-week period ending Feb 2.
Final report: Sales climbed 22% in the fourth quarter and 20% in 2015, Amazon reported last week, with 47% of units bought in Q4 sold by marketplace merchants. Full-year revenue was $107.01 billion. Get the full story here.
Extending B2B: Amazon has added a Business, Industrial & Scientific Supplies store to Amazon.ca, the country site serving Canada. This brings to nine the number of countries in which it is targeting business consumers with supplies. It opened B2B-targeted shops on the country-specific Amazon sites for the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Spain and France in September. It also operates business shops in Japan and India.
Will it or won’t it?: Amazon won’t comment, but the chief executive of General Growth Properties, a major mall operator, this week said Amazon intends to open 300-400 bookstores. He later backtracked on that statement, but another executive close to the matter tells Internet Retailer plans are in motion to open Amazon stores in at least 10 markets. Get the full story here.
Now service expands: Amazon rolled out Prime Now delivery to consumers in and around the Raleigh, N.C., area this week—the 25th U.S. market to get the service. It added alcohol delivery to the Prime Now offering in San Diego—the third market in which on-demand alcohol delivery is available. It rolled out Prime Now to U.K. consumers in and around Liverpool last week. It also expanded Prime Now in Japan beyond Tokyo to include the areas of Osaka, Hyogo and Yokohama. Prime Now lets Prime members get delivery of select goods in as little as an hour.
Elsewhere, Amazon.in in India launched Amazon Now, which offers delivery within two hours to consumers in Bangalore. The service, called Amazon Now, as opposed to Amazon Prime Now, is an evolution of the Kirana Now service Amazon.in began testing last year, which offered delivery in two to four hours. Amazon says 6,000 items are available for speedy delivery; most goods are consumer packaged goods staples such as shampoo, beverages and personal care products. Like the Prime Now model, consumers must order via a mobile app.
A Belgian upgrade: Consumers in Belgium can now join Amazon Premium—the name the Amazon Prime program goes by in France—and get one-day delivery and other benefits including photo storage and free e-books. There is no country-specific Amazon site for Belgium, but Belgian consumers can place their orders on Amazon.fr. The membership is 49 euro ($55) annually, but Amazon offers it to young adults (age 18-24) for half price for the first year.
Traffic jam: Amazon.com captured 34.5% of visits to the 500 leading e-retail sites by traffic in November and December, Hitwise, a unit of online marketing firm Connexity, says. That was up from 26.2% during November and December 2014. Get the full story here.
A bigger Echo ecosystem: Uber Technologies Inc. is rolling out an integration with Amazon’s Echo voice-activated digital assistant device that will let consumers tell the Echo to order them a ride. Also new this week, the more than 20 million consumers who pay to stream the Spotify music service without ads can get their music through the device. Echo also will be the product Amazon promotes in its first Super Bowl advertisement this weekend.