But Amazon holds a unique position in the global marketplace. From its beginnings in 1994, Amazon’s platform was designed to democratize retail. Small vendors or manufacturers could sell outdoor grills, computer bags, and children’s toys alongside established brands. Now, with its expansion into private label, Amazon has shifted away from being an impartial, may-the-best-product-win distribution partner to being a direct competitor to those other vendors.
“Amazon has access to data that nobody else has,” said James Thomson, a former Amazon executive who now works at Buy Box Experts, a consulting firm that advises companies on how to build their brands and sell products on Amazon. “I can’t just walk into a store and say, ‘Excuse me, did you look at this brand of cereal this morning and decide not to buy it?’ Amazon has that data. They know you looked at a brand and didn’t buy it and they’re not going to share that data with any other brands.”
Amazon appears to be on a journey from discount-driven apparel outlet to full-line fashion store distinguished by its own fashion ranges and greater collaboration with major brands. But our survey found that many shoppers do not see Amazon as a full-price retailer. In fact, almost half of Amazon apparel shoppers surveyed expect to always pay less than full price on the site.
On January 24, 2016, Amazon launched a new subscription program aimed at parents called STEM Club, which delivers educational toys to your home for $19.99 per month. And by "STEM", toys will be hand-picked and focused on the area of science, technology, engineering and math. The toys will range from robotics to natural sciences and will include items exclusive to Amazon. STEM toy subscription club is only available in the United States.
Promising review: "I love these pads. They are magnetic so they easily stick to the fridge. The items listed are the items that you use most often, and it is organized into sections that correspond to aisles at most grocery stores. Each section has a few additional blanks for adding those items that it doesn't list. This thing saves me a bunch of time!" —Steven Dix
Amazon's rules state that you must be at least 13 years of age to sign up for an account. However, you must be 18 to make a purchase (since you'll need to input this data into your account before a purchase), unless you can obtain enough money in gift card funds to pay for the purchase or receive a gift card-debit card that has a major card company attached that you can input to pay for the entire purchase price.
The new feature illustrates the growing tension between Amazon and the many big and small brands that have become reliant on the site because of its dominance in e-commerce. Amazon is becoming a direct competitor for more sellers, raising questions around how the company's use of its marketplace sales data could potentially give it an unfair advantage over other brands and merchants.
Try as you might to rationalize Darren Aronofsky’s mother!, mother! does not accept rationalization. There’s little reasonable ways to construct a single cohesive interpretation of what the movie tries to tell us. There is no evidence of Aronosfky’s intention beyond what we’ve intuited from watching his films since the ’90s—as well as how often Aronofsky loves to talk about his own work, which is usually worth avoiding, because Aronofsky likes thinking the movie is about everything. The most ironclad comment you can make about mother! is that it’s basically a matryoshka doll layered with batshit insanity. Unpack the first, and you’re met immediately by the next tier of crazy, and then the next, and so on, until you’ve unpacked the whole thing and seen it for what it is: A spiritual rumination on the divine ego, a plea for environmental stewardship, an indictment of entitled invasiveness, an apocalyptic vision of America in 2017, a demonstration of man’s tendency to leech everything from the women they love until they’re nothing but a carbonized husk, a very triggering reenactment of the worst house party you’ve ever thrown. mother! is a kitchen sink movie in the most literal sense: There’s an actual kitchen sink here, Aronofsky’s idea of a joke, perhaps, or just a necessarily transparent warning. mother!, though, is about everything. Maybe the end result is that it’s also about nothing. But it’s really about whatever you can yank out of it, its elasticity the most terrifying thing about it. —Andy Crump
The feature could prove useful for when you don’t know the name of the product you’re looking at, as with shoes. That could turn visual search into a new form of word-of-mouth marketing where every time an owner shows off a product, they’re effectively erecting a billboard for it. Eventually, visual search could help users shop across language barriers.
The Echo Link (above) is “designed to connect to a receiver or amplifier, with multiple digital and analog inputs and outputs for compatibility with your existing stereo equipment.” There are no mics built in here; instead, the Echo Link serves only to “let you control music selection, volume, and multi-room playback on your stereo with your Echo or the Alexa app.”
It’s not difficult to imagine a different cut of Anna Rose Holmer’s The Fits that hews closer to the arc of a traditional sports story. Hers has the makings of a familiar one, of a misfit who wants more than anything to compete—but unlike most stories of inspirational audacity, The Fits is as much about discomfort as the catharsis that comes with achievement. In it, Toni (Royalty Hightower) is an 11-year-old who has more experience with stereotypically male pursuits like lifting weights and punching speed bags than the usual interests of a pre-teen girl. She spends nearly all of her time at the Lincoln Recreation Center alongside her boxer brother, Jermaine (Da’Sean Minor), pushing her body to the limit. While she shows a remarkable aptitude for the ascetical devotion required for boxing, she still dreams about competing on the dance team, “The Lincoln Lionesses.” Framed with a rigid sense of space by cinematographer Paul Yee, and backed by the groaning score from veteran composers Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans, The Fits is infused with such dread that one can’t help but imagine that characters’ muscles and bones could break or shatter at any moment. The film’s most explicit example of which may be Toni pulling off a temporary tattoo, but The Fits is firmly a story of metaphysical body horror, an allegory about our greatest fears of physical fragility shot brilliantly through a feminist lens. With that, the film manages to reinvent the sports story as something both brainy and physically pure. —Michael Snydel
Amazon Drive, formerly known as Cloud Drive, is a cloud storage application offering secure cloud storage, file synchronization, file sharing, and Photo printing. Using an Amazon account, the files and folders can be transferred and managed from multiple devices including web browsers, desktop applications, mobiles, and tablets. Amazon Drive also lets their U.S. users order photo prints and photo books using Amazon Prints service.
Now, I'm not usually one to jump on the "trending" bandwagon, but some things are just too genius to ignore. The most popular Amazon products are often made even more so by their honest and straightforward ratings, which make them easy to spot among the millions of other products. Sure, you get the occasional hilariously sarcastic comment, but for the most part, people just want to share their feedback. Your shopping experience is made infinitely more rewarding because of it.
On May 10, 2016, Amazon launched a Video Service called Amazon Video Direct which allows users to place videos available to rent or own, to view free with ads, or to be bundled together, and offered as an ad-on subscription. Amazon will pay creators 50% of the revenue earned from rental or sale of the videos, but for ad-supported videos, the makers will get a portion of ad receipts.
Lean on Pete flows with such gentle beauty that it may be hard to grasp precisely what it’s about or where it’s going. But the power of writer-director Andrew Haigh’s sublime drama is that it can support myriad interpretations while remaining teasingly mysterious—like its main character, it’s always just a bit out of reach, constantly enticing us to look closer. Based on Willy Vlautin’s 2010 novel, the movie is a smashing introduction to Charlie Plummer, who was the kidnapped John Paul Getty III in last year’s All the Money in the World. Here, he plays Charley Thompson, a 15-year-old living with his drinking, backslapping dad (Travis Fimmel) in Portland. Charley has a sweet face and a soft-spoken manner—when he talks, the last few words evaporate into the air, as if he’s too shy to even be bold enough to enunciate—but early on, we get a sense that there’s a craftiness underneath that demeanor. The first indication is his willingness to lie about his age to Del (Steve Buscemi), a craggy horse owner who reluctantly takes him on as a caretaker for his elderly racehorse Lean on Pete. Charley doesn’t know a thing about horses, but he’s anxious to find something to do now that he’s in a new town with his father, their reasons for leaving Spokane unspecified but clearly dispiriting. Familiar narrative tropes emerge in Lean on Pete: the boy-and-his-dog drama, the coming-of-age story, the father-and-son character piece, the road movie. Haigh breezes past them all, seeking something more elliptical in this deceptively slim story. With the patience and minimalist command of a Kelly Reichardt, he doesn’t dictate where his film goes, seemingly letting Charley’s restlessness call the shots. The boy’s journey gathers force and poignancy as it moves forward, and the more we understand about Charley the more unknowable he becomes. Along the way, we meet other people and see other worlds—the life of young military veterans, the reality of homelessness, the grind of the low-rent racing circuit—but Haigh views it all with the same unassuming compassion we see in Charley’s quiet eyes. —Tim Grierson
Indeed, Amazon casts a long shadow over a number of industries. Grocery stocks plunged when the company acquired Whole Foods Market last year. Walgreens (NASDAQ:WBA) and CVS Health (NYSE:CVS) fell when the company acquired PillPack this summer, and an eventual entry by Amazon into the pharmacy space still hangs over the sector. The 2016 launch of Amazon Prints sent Shutterfly (NASDAQ:SFLY) down 12%.
Even considering that the teams launching private-label brands at Amazon have unrestricted access to programs like Vine reviews, they are still “paying” for these perks. The Vine review program is not a fully automated process that runs in the background. It requires technical and human resources to manage thousands of Vine reviewers and product review requests from vendors. Amazon is matching reviewers with samples and shipping the samples out, managing customer service, and maintaining the infrastructure of the program. You can bet that there are heated internal battles for Vine review program privileges on new product launches, even if the internal team is not personally dropping hundreds or thousands of dollars on the activity like brands have to do.
In April, Bezos announced that Prime membership had exceeded 100 million paid members worldwide. Bezos unveiled the figure in his annual shareholder letter — published since 1997 and widely considered a must-read among executives and business leaders around the globe — and noted that in 2017, Prime gained more new members than in any previous year. By comparison, Netflix at the time had 125 million subscribers.
On February 6, 2014, Amazon confirmed the acquisition of the gaming company Double Helix Games without any indication of the financial terms. The 75 Double Helix employees were to become Amazon employees and their Orange County, California, headquarters was to remain their operating base. Amazon informed the TechCrunch media company that it "acquired Double Helix as part of our [Amazon's] ongoing commitment to build innovative games for customers" and confirmed that Double Helix's current game roster and other future developments will receive support following the acquisition.