Amazon's heightened connectivity with networked consumers will bring about the next wave of commerce, IRCE speaker Richard Hastings says. Inc.’s plans for Alexa, its voice-controlled assistant that silently listens in on consumers’ activities while waiting to hear its name are clear, said Richard Hastings, an analyst and economist, who led off the Amazon & Me workshop at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition on Tuesday. The retailer is moving toward thought-controlled activities, he said.

“Amazon is a hybrid of thought and thing,” he said. “What’s going on behind the microphone is what is driving voice technology—thought. You are on the cusp of the biggest revolution imaginable.”

In his presentation, “The Amazon Effect–A Look Five Years Ahead,” Hastings introduced the concept of “neurocommerce,” which he sees as the end result of everything in consumers’ lives being networked, with Amazon being the collector and synthesizer of all that information. For instance, Hastings sees virtually every item in a home being connected to the internet.

“The integration of the planet is underway, and that’s a good thing,” he said. “All of a sudden there is a different commerce model…you just think or use your voice.”

“Be not a maker of things,” Hastings cited William Shakespeare in explaining the role of Amazon’s Services business lines, including the heft of Amazon Web Service’s contribution to Amazon’s operating income. He also forecast Amazon’s share of online product sales by fourth quarter of 2022 to reach 60%. That would be a marked increase from less than 25% today.


“Amazon is unlikely to be knocked off course by anything,” he said.

Amazon is No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 1000.