Amazon, the online giant, has been busy lately and they appear to be somewhat unstoppable. Right now Amazon is the third most influential stock with the S&P 500 behind Apple and Alphabet…some pretty elite company.
Their shares have gone up 32% this year, including a 2.4% jump with their recent announcement last Friday that they plan to buy Whole Foods for 13.7 billion. This is by far and away their biggest acquisition, with their previous biggest purchase of Zappos at 1.2 billion in 2009.
That deal isn’t official yet, as it seems other online stores such as Walmart might have something to say about the Whole Foods’ purchase, even possibly throwing their hat in the ring. No matter what, though, Amazon is on a mission to become much more than the leader of the consumer discretionary sector.
Here is a list of Amazon acquisitions in the last 3 years according to CrunchBase.com:
As you can see from the statistics, the amount they purchased most companies for is unknown, meaning that they base their disclosures on their company’s revenue, assets, and net income. In other words, the bigger the company, the less they have to individually disclose, and Amazon loves to keep their activities under wraps.
So back to the jaw-dropping investment in Whole Foods. It appears that Jeff Bezos is a genius with his theory that cash flow is king and net income is discretionary.
They have, however, posted solid earnings of eight straight quarter of profit, but this is widely due to the cloud-computing business, Amazon Web Services (AWS). Mr. Bezos is always willing to operate on a thin margin and reinvest much of the profit back into the company.
The video below gives an excellent rundown on Amazon’s recent offer to buy Whole Foods:
With Amazon having their iron in just about every type of retail fire, I’m not sure how they are able to keep up. It probably helps that they have almost 350,000 employees working for the Seattle-based company, but as they keep moving into new sectors can they continue to recreate each one?
They have a presence in everything from apparel to outdoor furniture, home goods to electronics, and now they are in the perishables market with Amazon Fresh. This followed on the heels of Amazon’s Prime Pantry, where Prime members can shop for groceries and household goods while still receiving free shipping with a certain minimum order.
With Amazon Prime Fresh, you pay an extra fee of $15 per month to browse perishables, household products, and gourmet specialty items from the Amazon Fresh page that are delivered that day or the next day, depending on what time of day the order was placed.
They also resurrected their Amazon Dash Wand to include Alexa, the virtual personal assistant that lives inside the Echo as well as other Amazon devices. The Dash Wand can be used by speaking to Alexa about foods you want to stock up on, but it can also be used to scan a barcode, which will also included in your cart.
Is the Dash Wand an expensive item? You will be pleasantly surprised. Check out this post from TechCrunch:
Amazon’s Dash Wand barcode scanner returns with Alexa and is now essentially free | TechCrunch
At the moment, the item is available for Prime Members only. And it’s essentially free (for a limited time), priced at $20 and shipping with a $20 rebate off your first Amazon purchase after registering the thing. It also comes with a free 90-day trial of AmazonFresh. So the device is a gateway to both Amazon’s $15 a month grocery service and a free new back door for getting the company’s smart assistant into more homes.
See the full post here: Amazon’s Dash Wand barcode scanner returns with Alexa and is now essentially free | TechCrunch
If you want to see a demonstration of how this Amazon service works, watch this short video:
Amazon’s new services and acquisitions are causing a buzz in both the online and brick and mortar world. They are definitely on a roll! On top of it all, their customer service is amazing.
Amazon is making some of the other big retail chains break a sweat to catch up. There’s no doubt in my mind that Amazon is one of the most innovative companies of all time.