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 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.
Costco, too, has proven the doubters wrong. There’s a reason why COST has been one of the best stocks to buy in the entire market for over thirty years now. Here, too, however the concern is valuation. Analysts began arguing last month that the stock might have run out of upside, and I’m inclined to agree. Most of the stock’s losses after Q4 earnings earlier this month have been recovered, and COST still trades at a healthy 27x forward earnings.
One example is the entry zone at the front of the store - you'd think that's a prime location for signage, deals, brochures, etc. But when you're headed through the door into the store you see almost nothing and stop for almost nothing, and then (in America) you tend to drift to the right and then you're 'in' the store. If you put a store directory just inside the door, nobody uses it. Move it back a bit so you can find it once you're into the store and suddenly it's heavily utilized. He has hard observational data for all these, so they're compelling in addition to being fascinating.
In April, Amazon said more than 100 million people around the world pay for its Prime subscription, which in May went up to $119 from $99 a year in the U.S. The NPR/Marist poll found that among Americans, roughly 75 million online shoppers pay for Prime — plus another 35 million use someone else's account. Put together, almost two-thirds of American online shoppers are living inside the Amazon retail universe.
The main body of this report discusses our survey findings, question by question. We have also provided an appendix that aggregates various third-party research firms’ estimates of Amazon’s US apparel sales in order to give readers a more complete picture. First, though, we bring together data points from various questions in our survey as we discuss six major themes that emerged from our research.
Prime Video offers thousands of movies and TV shows, including popular licensed and self-published content plus critically-acclaimed and award-winning Prime Originals like The Grand Tour, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and The Tick, Amazon Original Movies such as Academy Award-winning Manchester by the Sea, The Big Sick and The Salesman and kids series, Tumble Leaf, available for unlimited streaming as part of an Amazon Prime membership. Prime Video is also now available to customers in more than 200 countries and territories around the globe at www.primevideo.com.
Gift-giving is a heartwarming endeavor that lets you show your loved ones how much you care about them and makes everyone feel warm and fuzzy. But you know what else it is? Expensive. Finding the best gifts under $25 can feel like a Herculean task when every time you flip a price tag over it gives you a mild heart attack. And finding gifts is a year-round thing — with birthdays, weddings, and holidays, there's rarely a time when you're not looking for something. That can also add up to a lot of money over time.
Flight of the Conchords’ Jemaine Clement co-stars in and co-directs this clever mockumentary about the banal bummers of the afterlife, when vampires stop being polite and start getting real. As “documented” by a camera crew, Clement and collaborator Taika Waititi (Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Thor: Ragnarok) share a flat with fellow bloodsuckers who, when they aren’t bickering over dish duty and rent, are schooling a green new vamp—who in turn brings the centuries-old creatures into the technology age. The New Zealand-made horror-comedy is deeply self-aware, reveling in its silly practicalities: It’s tough to go clubbing when your undead identity requires that you be invited inside. When you’ve got nothing but time, the mundane becomes even more ridiculous, and Shadows’ way with the absurd is spot-on. (And that’s before we meet a pack of smug rivals who refuse to lower themselves to “swearwolves.”) What the genre- and cliché-bending film lacks in plot it more than makes up for in tongue-in-cheek charm. Who would’ve thought vampires were such dorks? —Amanda Schurr
Estimates on Prime memberships have been the subject of much speculation, especially since the numbers also serve as a metric for Amazon’s whopping revenue stream. The math can be difficult to parse: It’s not quite as simple as multiplying the cost of a $119 annual membership by 100 million. Some members — students, for example — have options to pay less, while others pay more for a monthly subscription.
In January 2013, Amazon launched AutoRip, a digital music service. The service allows customers to receive a free MP3 copy of select CDs purchased through Amazon. Amazon announced in September 2013 that it would launch Kindle MatchBook in October 2013, a similar service for books allowing customers who buy books from Amazon to acquire an e-book copy for free, or at a discounted price of US$3 or less. MatchBook was launched on the company's site on October 29, 2013.
Clean Slate (formerly contract buyout) offer: Clean Slate: Amount based on ETF (early termination fee) charged or remaining phone balance. Req. port from other carrier to Sprint, remain active & in good standing for 30 days before card issuance & buyback of working phone in good condition (the device is unlocked, powers on and there are no broken, missing or cracked pieces) tied to offer. Phone must be deactivated & all personal data deleted. Device will not be returned. Reg, & submit final bill with ETF or phone balance w/in 60 days of switching at sprint.com/joinsprint. Allow 15 days after registration approval for Reward Card arrival. Excl. discounted phones, 100+ Corporate-liable, prepaid & ports made between Sprint or related entities. Prepaid Mastercard: Card is issued by MetaBank®, Member FDIC, pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated. No cash access or recurring payments. Unused funds will forfeit after the valid thru date. Card terms and conditions apply.
Social commerce is heating up as Instagram launches Shopping tags in Stories and a dedicated Shopping channel in Explore, while Pinterest opens up Shop the Look pins and hits 250 million monthly users. The feature should mesh well with Snap’s young and culture-obsessed audience. In the U.S., its users are 20 percent more likely to have made a mobile purchase than non-users, and 60 percent more likely to make impulse purchases according to studies by Murphy Research and GfK.
In a time when exploitation cinema seemed the standard for cheap movie houses the world over, no martial arts flick got much better than this Shaw Brothers staple, which eventually adopted the much more PC title, Return of the 5 Deadly Venoms. The blind one, the deaf mute, the one without legs and the brain-damaged “idiot”: Together, they make an unstoppable force of vengeance against the local martial arts master who crippled them, as well as his son, who ironically lost his arms at a young age, and so sports dart-shooting cast-iron facsimiles. In other words, Crippled Avengers plays it cool, allowing our disfigured heroes few but important victories for most of the film, building up to its final 25-minute series of fight scenes, in which a blind man, a deaf mute, a man with iron prosthetic legs and an acrobatic “idiot” combine their individual strengths to defeat a kung fu master with, basically, robot arms. Movies like this give us reasons to get up in the morning. —Dom Sinacola
Prime Pantry: Prime members in select regions can pay an additional monthly membership fee to receive FREE shipping on all Prime Pantry orders of $40 or more, or pay a flat shipping fee for each order they place under $40. Prime Pantry orders cannot be shipped to addresses in Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. For more information, go to About Prime Pantry.
In October 2017, Amazon.com added an option for Prime members to get in-home deliveries by its Amazon Flex contractors, who gain entry using a one-time code. The service, Amazon Key, became available for customers in the residing in 37 United States metro areas in April 2018. As of 2018 the service required a Kwikset or Yale smart lock and a special version of Amazon's Cloud Cam security camera.
If you’ve never heard of the West Memphis Three, do some research before you begin—you’ll want to be prepared. Within only a minute of the film’s opening, as Metallica’s “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)” noodles forebodingly over pixelated camcorder videos, intolerable images taken straight from police evidence glance across frame, so quickly and frankly you’ll immediately question if they are, in fact, real. Of course, they are—they are images no person should ever have to see, and yet Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky use them only to expose the unbelievable horror at the heart of the appropriately named Paradise Lost. What unfolds over the following two and a half hours is just as heartbreaking: a trio of teenage boys (one with an IQ of 72) is put on trial for the brutal murders of three prepubescent boys, the only evidence against them a seemingly forced confession by the young kid with the below-average IQ, and laughably circumstantial physical proof. The film explores the context of West Memphis, its blindly devoted Christian population and how the fact that these teenagers dressed in black and listened to Metallica somehow led to their predictable fates at the hands of a comprehensively broken justice system. With surprising access to everyone involved in the trial, as well as a deft eye for the subtle exigencies of any criminal case such as this, Paradise Lost is a thorough, infuriating glimpse of the kind of mundane evil that mounts in some of America’s quietest corners. Welcome home. —Dom Sinacola
Amazon's new Prime Reading feature differs from the Lending Library in a few key ways. First, it's not limited to Kindles: You can access the catalog of free e-books on phones, tablets and anything else capable of running a Kindle app. Second, the selection includes not only books, but also a rotating selection of magazines, comics, travel guides, Kindle Singles and more.
Amazon released branded semiconductors to home equipment designers who are working on Internet-of-Things devices, WiFi routers and other smart home appliances. The chips come from Annapurna Labs, which Amazon purchased in 2015 for a rumored $350 million. On January 7, 2016, the company announced that its Alpine chipset was available for a wide range of applications.
Portland filmmaker Matt McCormick begins his very personal documentary with an astounding shot of a nuclear mushroom cloud from high above the Earth, a droning ambient soundtrack roaring to a fever pitch as the explosion takes explicit shape. From there, McCormick narrates the story of his grandfather, one of the U.S.’s select B-52 bomber pilots burdened with flying world-clearing, 4-megaton nuclear weapons on marathon missions over North America, staying ever-ready to drop them on Russia should the Cold War come to a disastrous head. The film’s strength is its wordless, practically impressionistic sense of gravity when pouring over so much found footage and assorted documents from the time, detailing just how much of the world’s destiny was shaped by human beings as susceptible to error—to the failings of the human body—as any one of us. Scored by Portland ambient artist Eluvium (Matthew Cooper), Buzz One Four stays so compelling in its powerfully non-verbal wandering, one wishes McCormick got rid of narration altogether. —Dom Sinacola
Prime Pantry: Prime Pantry gives members access to low-priced groceries as well as household and pet care items. Now a subscription service, Prime Pantry costs $4.99/month (in addition to your Prime membership). The service includes unlimited free shipping on Pantry orders of $40 or more. Orders under $40 incur a $7.99 shipping fee. Prime Pantry orders cannot be shipped to addresses in Alaska, Hawaii or Puerto Rico.
“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.”
Is there a method to our madness when it comes to shopping? Hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle as "a Sherlock Holmes for retailers," author and research company CEO Paco Underhill answers with a definitive "yes" in this witty, eye-opening report on our ever-evolving consumer culture. Why We Buy is based on hard data gleaned from thousands of hours of field research -- in shopping malls, department stores, and supermarkets across America. With his team of sleuths tracking our every move, from sweater displays at the mall to the beverage cooler at the drugstore, Paco Underhill lays bare the struggle among merchants, marketers, and increasingly knowledgeable consumers for control.
Customers are given a time window of four hours for the package to be delivered. Once the courier opens the door, the Cloud Cam records a clip until the door is locked, which is sent to the customer's smartphone. Participants in the service can also use the Amazon Key companion app for iOS and Android to lock and unlock the door, monitor the camera, and issue virtual keys.
But Prime’s ease and accessibility rely on advanced and extensive mail systems that do not exist everywhere in the world, Rosenbaum said. One solution may be for Amazon to work with retailers and vendors overseas, such as 7-Eleven, where customers can pick up their packages. Prime has programs through Whole Foods where shoppers can pick up their groceries, for example.
The best thing I bought was this front- and rear-facing light set for my bike. There are a ton of these on Amazon for a wide range of prices, so it can be hard to choose one. The Blitzu Gator is incredibly bright, offers a few brightness levels and flash patterns (plus steady light), and charges quickly. It detaches from its' mount easily so you can take it with you when you lock your bike up somewhere. The rear-facing light is tiny but surprisingly bright. — David Slotnick
Still, there are companies competing — and winning — against Amazon. These 7 stocks aren’t necessarily fully Amazon-proof stocks just yet, as the battles rage on. But they should be considered by those investors looking for the best stocks to buy outside of AMZN — and by investors looking for companies who can lead any market, no matter the competition.
Those risks led GWW stock to essentially stall out starting in 2013. And they came home to roost last year. Disappointing earnings — particularly, falling margins — seemed to signal that pressure from Amazon was a real problem. By September, GWW traded at its lowest levels in almost six years. Grainger seemed destined to be another dominant business undone by a nimbler online competitor.
In December 2014, Amazon announced that as a benefit to Prime members located in parts of Manhattan and New York City the capability to get products delivered to them within one hour for a fee of $7.99, or within two hours for no additional fee. As of 2014, 25,000 daily essential products were available with this delivery service. In February 2015, the service was extended to include all of Manhattan. By mid-2016, it had been expanded in the United States to include parts of Chicago, Miami, Baltimore, Seattle, Dallas, Atlanta, Austin, Nashville, Portland, San Antonio, and Tampa. Outside of the United States, it has expanded to parts of the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Japan, and Singapore. To meet the on-demand needs of Prime Now, Amazon further launched Amazon Flex, a platform for independent contractors to provide delivery services.
Amazon has enhanced its competitive-pricing proposition and product ranges by hosting a large number of third-party sellers on its site. But a significant percentage of Amazon apparel shoppers—38.2%—prefers to buy directly from Amazon rather than from third-party sellers on the site. This is likely due in part to perceptions that third-party sellers offer less clarity with regard to shipping fees, returns charges and the right to return items.
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.