Amazon can hook you even when you’re not buying from Amazon

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Amazon, with another burst of Prime Day-style deals this week, may seem like it’s doing everything it can to get you into its store. But, quietly, it’s also about finding ways to get some of your online shopping elsewhere.

Amazon ordered more than 37 percent of the US e-commerce market last year. After touting his last Prime Day sale event in July as his greatest of all time (Again Again), it offers a second bargain of discounts with its Prime Early Access Sale Tuesday and Wednesday.

Amazon is getting involved in online shopping it hasn’t usually been a part of.

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But if you look around, you might see signs that Amazon is taking an interest in your online shopping in new places. In April, Amazon revealed a “Buy with Primewhich allows sellers to add a button on their own websites. By clicking it, customers can access their Prime benefits for purchase outside of Amazon’s sprawling storefront, with Amazon handling payment and shipping. Buying with Prime makes sense in light of another feature announced last year: Local purchases, which allows third-party sellers to offer curbside pickup from their storefronts on Amazon’s online marketplace. Both facilitate transactions that typically don’t involve Amazon at all.

Both are also examples of how Amazon leverages its logistical prowess for other retailers. But taken together, these features also give Amazon entry points into some of your online transactions where they were previously locked in – another way the giant retailer has its tentacles touching your shopping cart when you’re a customer. someone else.

Peter Larsen, Amazon vice president at Buy with Prime, said in a statement that the company helps retailers increase sales by “providing shopping benefits that millions of Prime members love and trust, including fast, free shipping and a seamless checkout experience.”

For now, you’re seeing events like the Prime Early Access Sale this week because Amazon and its peers want to make holiday shopping easier for you earlier in the year, analysts said. What about all the purchases that take place off Amazon during the transaction frenzy?

Amazon would also like to be part of it.

Amazon comes out behind the scenes

Although you may not have noticed, Amazon has been processing customer payments and delivering packages for some purchases made on other companies’ websites for years. His Amazon payment characteristic and Multi-channel execution were both introduced before 2020.

Inserting a Buy with Prime button on a retailer’s website amplifies this process. Amazon processes payments and fulfills orders as if the purchase was made on its marketplace.

Beyond Amazon’s runtime support, Amazon will also advertise some sellers using Buy with Prime on social media platforms, sending customers directly to brand websites. Sellers can also use an official badge to advertise Buy with Prime in their own marketing.

Amazon will even create exit ramps from its own website for sellers participating in the program: businesses will be able to redirect shoppers away from their storefront on Amazon Marketplace to their own website to use Buy with Prime.

With the in-store pickup option, which Amazon says is still in its infancy, shoppers who want to get something from a nearby store today can search for it on Amazon without having to scour individual business websites. In addition to attracting more customers from the mega-retailer to local businesses, the feature compels these stores to list in-store merchandise on Amazon for easier shopping.

Amazon did not specify how many retailers are using the Buy with Prime button, which is available to invite-only sellers at this time. A brand that uses the service, Great circle machinerysaid in an Amazon press release that half of its sales have come from the Buy with Prime feature since it was added.

“It’s hard to gain the trust of buyers to make a purchase on our own website,” said Patrick Sean Briseno, the company’s head of e-commerce and marketing, noting that the Buy with Prime badge lends credibility. .

Brian Yarbrough, a financial advisor at Edward Jonessaid some shoppers may find it more welcoming to visit a company’s website to learn more before making a purchase, but still want the benefits of a Prime membership.

The store for everything, everywhere

Shopping with Prime and in-store pickups are part of a long-term strategy to expand Amazon’s e-commerce business beyond its website, retail analysts said. As it faces slowing sales growthAmazon is sitting on more fulfillment and logistics infrastructure than it needs, due to rapid construction to meet pandemic demand.

Tools like these are ways for Amazon to use its extra order processing capacity, said Neil Saunders, retail analyst at consultancy GlobalData.

The options may even appeal to retailers who don’t see the point of selling from an Amazon storefront, but could benefit from Amazon’s other services. “Amazon can say: maybe not everyone wants to be in the market, but we have all these logistics offers and payment offers,” Saunders said.

In addition to engaging in more purchases, Amazon’s features can route more data about your shopping habits to the mega-retailer. This way, Amazon has an even clearer picture of what you’re buying and how you’re buying it. Amazon says it doesn’t sell user data. But that data has the potential to be “very valuable,” Saunders said.

And the business can still use the data internally to inform decisions and find more and better ways to attract customers. Amazon already uses your purchase information to recommend other products and place ads in your search results, for example.

The spread of Amazon into other corners of the e-commerce industry carries risks. It is likely to attract the attention of federal competition regulators, who are already investigating company practices.

Amazon is far from dominating the market for tools that make shopping on a merchant’s website easier, Saunders said. Shopify, Salesforce, and Adobe are among the many companies offering these services.

Still, Amazon doesn’t necessarily need to dominate a second industry for these fulfillment features to further inflate its e-commerce market share, said Sucharita Kodali, a retail analyst at market research firm Forrester. The e-merchant could gain valuable insights by gaining sales insights that they are usually not part of.

“They would theoretically have access to a bunch of data,” Kodali said. “That would be something I think antitrust regulators would frown upon.”

For now, that may mean you have more boxes shipping with that Amazon arrow smile.

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