- Reuters/Mark Makela
- Amazon dominated online sales in 2017 – and it wasn’t even close.
- The company launched new features for customers, greatly expanded its private-label assortment, expanded into physical retail with the purchase of Whole Foods, and responded aggressively to competitors.
- That’s why we’re naming Amazon our e-commerce retailer of the year.
- Amazon’s momentum isn’t letting up, but there are some signs it’s looking over its shoulder.
More and more retailers are moving their business online, and still, no one does e-commerce as well as Amazon.
Its online holiday performance has been dominant, and it’s estimated to rake in just about half of all online shopping sales this season. It serves to confirm what we already know: Amazon had a monster 2017 online.
It would be far too much to list out everything Amazon did in 2017, but the highlights were some of the splashiest and most attention-grabbing headlines this year.
The most important development was its $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods, which not only bought Amazon a significant brick-and-mortar presence, but also supercharged its online grocery offerings. Grocery is an area where Amazon has uncharacteristically struggled, as the supply-chain logistics for grocery are more difficult than typical goods. With Whole Foods, Amazon plugged the gap and put itself in position to own online grocery.
Elsewhere online, Amazon made significant strides to beef up its Prime membership program even further, adding new optional perks like the in-home delivery service Amazon Key. It expanded its private-label offerings to include everything from high fashion to paper towels and everything in between.
Amazon also isn’t sitting still as competitors try to catch up to its enormous lead online. After Walmart debuted its free two-day shipping policy, which is effective on any purchase of at least $35 on Walmart.com, Amazon lowered its own threshold for non-Prime customers from $35 to $25. It also recently expanded its same-day and one-day delivery efforts as other online retailers race to become more convenient for their customers.
Amazon did plenty of other things in 2017. It took on the fashion industry and the furniture industry, it empowered its Alexa Voice-Shopping platform, it added Nike to its retailer portfolio, it made shopping for clothes easier with Prime Wardrobe, it piloted an in-store return program at Kohl’s, it introduced a new take on the vending machine on college campuses, and it began promoting in-home services like cleaning and appliance installation on its website.
What will Amazon do in 2018? Expect the same, only more. We don’t see this e-commerce giant slowing down any time soon, though it may see some competition it might not have expected from the largest retailer in the US, which remains Walmart.