Billionaire VC says that most companies will eventually pay an Amazon ‘tax’

Chamath Palihapitiya is a famous startup investor who runs his own venture-capital firm, Social Capital. He was an early Facebook employee and is now estimated to be worth over $1 billion.

Because Palihapitiya is a VC, he gets to invest in a lot of different companies. But if he had to put his entire capital in a single company and hold it for the next 10 years, Palihapitiya knows where his money’s going: Amazon.

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Amazon is reportedly planning to open hundreds of bookstores. Here’s why.

In November, Amazon opened its first bookstore, and reports from the CEO of one of America’s largest shopping mall operators Tuesday afternoon suggest that the company is prepared to open several hundred new ones across the country. This prompted many to ask why the company that destroyed the physical bookstore industry would possibly want to operate a physical bookstore.

Part of the answer is that, as the announcement of the original store location said, “At Amazon Books, you can also test drive Amazon’s devices,” meaning Kindles, Echos, Fire TVs, and Fire Tablets “are available for you to explore, and Amazon device experts will be on hand to answer questions and to show the products in action.” Apple has physical retail stores for its digital devices, as do (albeit less successfully) Microsoft, Sony, and Samsung. Since Amazon makes Amazon-branded devices, why shouldn’t it have a store too?

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Amazon had it’s ‘Prime Day’ last week and promises to continue annually

Source- Chicago Tribune

Amazon says its “Prime Day” sale led to a sales surge and “hundreds of thousands” of new signups for its $99 annual Prime loyalty program. The company said it plans to make the sale an annual event.

Tied to its 20th anniversary, Amazon promoted Wednesday’s sale for weeks by saying there would be more deals than during the busy winter holiday shopping season. Some shoppers took to social media and elsewhere to complain about the types of sales they were seeing and their limited nature.

Nonetheless, Amazon said Thursday that in the U.S. and nine countries around the world that offer the Prime program, shoppers ordered 398 items per second, surpassing the rate of ordering on Black Friday, the busy shopping day after Thanksgiving. It said worldwide order growth more than quadrupled over the same day last year, which is typically a sluggish sales day, and rose 18 percent more than Black Friday 2014.

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Amazon Dreams Up a Sale in a Calendar Bursting With Them

As seen in the New York Times:


Rollback. Doorbuster. Blowout prices. Do those words mean anything anymore?

Even Black Friday is fast getting lost in the blur of perpetual discounts as some of the nation’s biggest retailers go head-to-head Wednesday in a new midsummer event — yet another addition to an annual sales calendar packed with sales, sales and more sales.

Amazon, the online juggernaut that has been upending brick-and-mortar retailing for years, set off the latest sales frenzy by announcing a sale for the site’s 20th anniversary on Wednesday. Its AmazonPrime Day, meant to attract more shoppers to its $99 free-shipping membership plan, promises “more deals than Black Friday.”

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Amazon Launches a New ‘Kickstarter’ Marketplace

Need some new shoes with images of limes on them but not sure where to look? Amazon has you covered.

The Seattle company’s e-commerce site already sells pretty much any commodity you could want, but Amazon’s new marketplace branches beyond the ordinary household items and electronics.

Amazon Exclusives, which launched Wednesday, will sell new products from “up-and-coming” companies, that have done well in pitch competitions or crowdfunding campaigns on Kickstarter or other sites.

Amazon customers have been expecting something like the new marketplace since job postings surfaced in January.

Some of the products were featured on the reality TV show “Shark Tank” and many others have won industry innovation awards, according to an Amazon press release.

“Our mission on behalf of customers is to make Amazon the destination for brands and innovators to launch and sell their products, providing our customers early access to new products,” Peter Faricy, VP of Amazon Marketplace, said in a statement. “We understand that helping brands gain exposure for their award-winning new products is beneficial to customers that desire to be the first to have the hot new item.”

The new program is also beneficial to Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN).

Amazon will hold exclusive third-party rights to the products on the site, meaning the companies can sell the items on their own sites but not on any other outside site or in outside physical stores.

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Amazon opens brick-and-mortar on campus

In its latest effort to win more customers, e-commerce giant Amazon is going brick-and-mortar on campus.

The retailer has opened its first-ever staffed customer order pickup and drop-off location at Purdue University’s West Lafayette, Ind., campus. Purdue students now have a new convenient option for receiving textbooks and other college essentials, as well as a hassle-free way to return textbook rentals and other orders.

“We’re excited to open our first-ever staffed pickup location at Purdue, making it more convenient and affordable for students to get everything they need for life on campus,” said Paul Ryder, VP of media and student programs at Amazon. “Whether students are ordering textbooks, laptops, or mac and cheese, Amazon and Purdue are now providing a convenient and secure spot for them to pick up their stuff at hours that work with their schedules. We look forward to bringing this experience to more universities soon.”

Amazon Student and Amazon Prime members at Purdue get Free One-Day Shipping on textbooks shipped to the West Lafayette campus area and are also eligible for Free One-Day Pickup on over one million items when shipped to the new Amazon@Purdue location.

“Our goal in working with Amazon has been to make books and other needed supplies more affordable for our students, as we have with tuition and room and board,” said Purdue President Mitch Daniels. “The opening of the Amazon@Purdue location adds convenience to the mix.”

Student affordability and accessibility is a key component of Purdue Moves, a range of initiatives to broaden Purdue’s global impact and enhance educational opportunities for its students. Here’s how Amazon@Purdue will work:

  • Students, alumni, faculty and staff at Purdue can activate their benefits by visiting—or joining Amazon Student—to personalize their Amazon shopping experience.
  • Once activated, students will be able to easily identify books needed for class by looking for a ‘badge’ with Purdue’s logo and class information within Amazon search results and product pages. Student can also purchase any item available on Amazon, and items eligible for Free One-Day Pickup are marked with a “Prime Campus” badge.
  • When purchasing items on Amazon, students will choose Amazon@Purdue as their shipping address at checkout.
  • When their order arrives, they’ll receive an email or text notification.
  • When they’re ready to pick up their order, the student will click on the link provided in the email or text. This link will generate a barcode.
  • After arriving at Amazon@Purdue the student will scan the barcode and pick up their order at one of the self-service lockers or go to the pickup desk and an associate can assist them.

The opening of Amazon@Purdue marks the next phase of the collaboration announced by Purdue and Amazon last August, where Amazon will return a percentage of eligible sales to customers that have activated the Purdue experience to the university, including sales to faculty, staff and alumni.

Purdue will use the proceeds for its student affordability and accessibility initiatives. A second location will open this spring in the Purdue Memorial Union building. Also this spring, all Purdue students will be eligible for Free One-Day Shipping on Purdue textbooks shipped to the West Lafayette campus area.


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Ex-Amazon Manager Gets Funding to Help Retailers Battle His Former Employer

Guru Hariharan spent half-a-decade at AMZN +0.67%, but says he had little face-to-face contact with the man he considers his idol, CEO Jeff Bezos. A former junior engineer who rose up the company ranks before departing in 2009, Hariharan only ever talked to Bezos once in his five-and-a-half year Amazon career, answering questions for him and his senior executives during a three-hour annual review.

“If you think about labor as the most painful thing in life, that surpassed it probably,” says Hariharan, who remembers spending several weeks preparing a six-page document on the successes of Amazon Webstore, a service offered by the Seattle company to other business building online retailing sites.

Long removed from those ulcer-inducing meetings, Hariharan is hoping that his new startup, Boomerang Commerce, can turn the tables and cause Amazon’s CEO some headaches as it aids the e-commerce giant’s competitors. A big data analytics company that provides online retailers with price-tracking services, the Sunnyvale, Calif. firm announced on Wednesday that it had raised $8.5 million from Madrona Venture Group and Trinity Ventures that will help it expand its operations and offerings.

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Amazon’s Pantry to take on Costco and Sam’s

SAN FRANCISCO — is working on a new business called Pantry that will help it expand further into the giant consumer package goods market and take on warehouse club stores Costco and Wal-Mart’s Sam’s Club, according to three people familiar with the effort.

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Highest ranking retailers in customer service

Find out which retailers rank the highest in customer service, as reported by, Kohl’s Department Stores and Costco Wholesale ranked tops in customer service. according to a new research report published by market researcher Temkin Group.

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Survey: Amazon Leads the Pack in Consumer Confidence

In a survey taken by the OC&C Proposition Strength Index, ranked first among consumers’ selection of the highest quality retailer. Costco, the Apple Store, Barnes & Noble and Lowe’s also scored high marks. The global strategy firm’s consumer study, which surveyed 2,700 people, was conducted in an effort to better understand the level of customer satisfaction toward the top 50 retailers in the United States…Read More