Amazon.com, Inc. Redefining Retail with Alexa and Drones

amazon stockAMZN Stock Keeps Getting Stronger

Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) is an innovation juggernaut that does not appear to show any signs of slowing down. In fact, the online retail giant just keeps getting younger and more agile than any of its other technology peers. Fresh from its Oscar victory, the company remains in the news as it tries to change the retail landscape across the world. Amazon stock is up 13% in the year to date but such numbers do not seem to matter much to AMZN stock investors as they remain focused on the future growth potential of the company.

And that is what Amazon.com, Inc. does—focus on the future. And it is betting big on its digital assistant “Alexa” and its logistics platform to gain a deeper mindshare of its customers. Alexa-powered “Echo” and “Echo Dot” speakers are already a hit with customers, but the company refuses to stop at this.

Early this month, Amazon announced the “Alexa Fund Fellowship” program that would support academic institutions that are promoting cutting-edge research in the fields of natural language understanding, conversational artificial intelligence (AI), automatic speech recognition, etc. The objective is to educate students about voice technology and help them create the “next big thing.” (Source: “Amazon Alexa Fund Fellowship,” Amazon.com, Inc., last accessed March 28, 2017.)

This is a great way of redefining the future of voice technologies and opening up Alexa to new possibilities for the future. Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is looking at more than e-commerce for the growth of Alexa and AMZN stock, but more on that later. Right now, there is something else that Amazon has done that is quite exciting.

Amazon.com has just completed its first U.S. public demonstration of a package delivery by a “Prime Air” drone. The people attending a conference hosted by Amazon in Palm Springs, California got a surprise sunscreen box delivered by a drone. Amazon Prime Air is the delivery system designed to safely deliver packages to customers in 30 minutes or less using drones.

An attendee at the MARS 2017 conference (Machine learning, Automation, Robotics, and Space exploration) filmed the event where a quadcopter glides through the air carrying a box filled with sunscreen. The flight was completed fully autonomously with Amazon’s own software. (Source: “Watch Amazon’s Prime Air make its first public U.S. drone delivery,” Recode, March 24, 2017.)  

Although Prime Air delivery is still a few years away, Amazon stock investors are excited about the further disruption it shall bring about in the retail industry, which is already reeling under the weight of the online retail giant.

The company had made its intentions clear during the last quarterly results that it would be taking more control of its logistics to reduce delivery time as well as shipping costs. Amazon already has a dedicated network of about 4,000 truck trailers and has agreements with two carriers to lease 40 dedicated cargo planes, to ensure greater delivery speeds and supply chain capacity. This further strengthens Amazon’s competitive edge, thereby building a lot of scope for growth for Amazon stock.

The e-commerce giant is not satisfied with just this. Amazon.com, Inc. had also filed a patent for a warehouse that floats in the air, and the company was awarded a patent for it last year. These “airborne fulfillment centers” would act as launchpads for drones that would take only a few minutes to deliver packages.

The Bottom Line on Amazon Stock

Amazon is changing the face of retail with its innovations in logistics and voice technology, and customers seem to be loving it. Amazon was ranked as the No. 1 company in the just-released American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), which surveyed over 10,000 customers to measure perceptions of value and quality across retailers nationwide.  (Source: “Amazon Thanks Customers for #1 Ranking in American Customer Satisfaction Index,” Amazon.com, Inc., March 16, 2017.)

Jeff Bezos thanked all the customers and congratulated the Amazon team, saying, “ Customer obsession is the very heart of our approach, and it’s energizing to see customers respond.” (Source: Ibid.)

Amazon stock is a long-term growth story, and investors do not doubt the vision of Jeff Bezos. With its unwavering focus on delighting customers and being at the forefront of technology, Amazon will continue to scale new heights, and there can be more upside expected from AMZN stock in the future.