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Original, award-winning streaming series
Since its launch in 1994, Amazon.com has become an e-commerce and technology leader through constant innovation. Here are the company’s biggest home runs that have shaped the way the world does business.
For example: Amazon Prime Video, once just a streaming library of old TV shows and B-list movies, has evolved into a creative powerhouse that offers its own original programming.
Amazon’s Transparent made history when it became the first streamed series to win a Golden Globe for Best Television Series in 2015.
The company hopes to repeat its success with its latest big-budget alternate history original, The Man in the High Castle.
Amazon Prime Air: Drone-powered delivery
There are many kinks to be worked out in Amazon’s plan to deliver web purchases by unmanned drone.
Still, Amazon is leading the charge in pressuring the FAA and other governmental bodies in the US to allow commercial drone flights, suggesting that this idea may not be as pie-in-the-sky as first thought — assuming Amazon can ensure public safety.
Amazon Prime Pantry
Can online retailers find a way to make shopping for household goods in everyday sizes profitable?
Recently, the Amazon Prime Pantry service has proved that yes, it is possible. You can fill a box with household goods like soda, toilet paper, soap, and cereal — up to 45 pounds worth — and have it shipped to your home for a $5.99 flat rate.
As part of an effort to put more packages in customers’ hands quickly and safely, Amazon began installing pick-up lockers in New York, Seattle, and London convenience stores in 2011.
The program has since been expanded to major cities across the US, giving apartment-dwelling shoppers an appealing alternative to having packages left on an unsecured doorstep.
Amazon Echo: Re-inventing the smart home
Earlier in 2015, Amazon launched the Echo, a smart speaker featuring an always-on, cloud-based personal assistant named Alexa. Echo can deliver real-time weather and traffic forecasts, play music, check your appointments, turn on your home’s lights and more, all by voice command.
The $180 device is Amazon’s first real foray into consumer smart home technology.
Amazon Web Services: Backbone of the internet
Over the last decade, Amazon has been recouping its large investments in infrastructure by selling cloud-based server space to other websites and app developers.
The end result: Amazon Web Services is now the tech backbone behind Netflix, Yelp, Airbnb, Pinterest, and many, many more well-known, data-driven sites.
Amazon Home Services Marketplace
Amazon isn’t content with simply being the world’s largest online marketplace for physical items — it’s now involved in the labor market, too. Amazon’s Home Services Marketplace gives customers an easy way to find plumbers, AV installers, babysitters, and similar service providers — all with flat pricing, user-backed ratings, and a money-back guarantee.
Amazon Home Services Marketplace is available in 15 US cities and continues to expand.
Fire TV: The future of shopping?
The Amazon Fire TV streaming box quickly gained popularity as a way to make dumb TVs smart — especially among Amazon Prime members, who could purchase the device at a discount.
In October 2015, Amazon began offering a new shop-by-TV feature on the device.
The initial selection of items on Amazon’s special shopping channel are limited. But given the popularity of QVC and other shop-at-home offerings, Amazon clearly senses that the living room TV is a great place to reach potential shoppers.
Prime Now: Next-hour delivery
Shopping online can’t offer the same kind of instant gratification shopping in-person at a store can. But with Prime Now, Amazon comes pretty close.
Available in an expanding number of metropolitan areas, Prime Now promises to deliver most orders to your door in one hour, all for just $7.99. Two-hour delivery is free. You do need to be a Prime member to take advantage, however.
Physical, button-based ordering
Ordering off of Amazon really doesn’t get simpler than the Dash Button.
Each physical device is paired with a popular household brand — there’s a Tide button, a Huggies button, a SmartWater button, and more. Press the button, and Dash places an Amazon order of the product for home delivery. You choose size, flavors, scents, and more via the Amazon app when setting the button up.
Fulfillment by Amazon
When it comes to e-commerce, Amazon finds it better to partner with other companies than to compete against them.
That’s part of why Amazon launched Fulfillment by Amazon. Rather than maintain its own shipping warehouses, third parties send inventory to Amazon, which then packs and ships the orders.
Absurdly inexpensive hardware
What good is modern technology if the average consumer can’t afford it? Enter the Fire: Amazon’s newest, full-featured Android tablet that retails for just $49.
The low price allows Amazon the opportunity to redefine how the average family uses tablet computers. Sharing hardware is a thing of the past; now, it’s software and apps that get shared on a family account across multiple devices. Parental controls, meanwhile, give moms and dads a way to monitor the whole family’s usage and decide what content is appropriate for whom.
Amazon Fresh: Same-day grocery delivery
Amazon Fresh, the company’s grocery-delivery arm, proves that there’s no product can’t be sold to consumers online — even perishables such as meats and dairy.
Those who live in the big city can enjoy same-day grocery delivery at reasonable Amazon prices. The only catch: Taking advantage of the service requires a $299 yearly fee, effective October 2015.
When it comes to shopping online, Amazon’s one-click ordering is about as easy as it gets. The feature was one of Amazon’s early innovations, removing all the friction in the checkout process.
In the years since, less cumbersome checkout procedures have spread across the web to reduce the number of abandoned online shopping carts.
Instant video-based tech support
Consumer technology can benefit just about anyone — but only if you understand how to use it. Amazon has made its Fire tablets as user-friendly as possible by including the Mayday Button, a simple way to access free video tech support.
Just press the button and in seconds you’ll be connected to a live Amazon agent. They’ll walk you through the process step-by-step, providing on-screen notations and other helpful guidance.