Future Trends – And How Amazon Is Ready To Meet Them

Gita    March 19, 2018

„Beam me up, Scotty “, says Captain Kirk to his chief engineer, and the next thing we see is Kirk’s body disappearing from Planet X and reappearing on the starship. “Wow”, you think “I wish we could do that for real. The places I would travel to…..” Well, we are not there yet – but with the rapid development of electronic devices, Internet, ERP and the digital age in general, I wouldn’t be surprised if we could build a beamer that powerful within the next 10 years. A university in Germany that concentrates in IT systems engineering, already came  up with a machine that can scan an object, transmit it over the internet and rebuild it using a 3D printer in a new location.

Imagine you can do that in retail: Sit on your sofa  buying a handbag with one click on your device and 20 minutes later it appears magically at your doorstep. Cool, right? But is it really that far off? No, to tell you the truth, it is not even considered to be science fiction anymore. We already buy things with one click, we just need to wait a bit longer than 20 minutes right now to receive the product. But wait – isn’t Amazon already testing delivery by drone? So who knows, the time of purchase to delivery in 20 minutes could actually happen sooner than you think. Especially when it pertains to your Amazon shopping experience.

Over 304 million active customer accounts worldwide make Amazon the biggest digital retailer worldwide. The company has so far impressed with its perfect timing for the next business evolution. When Jeff Bezos kicked it off in 1994, customer engagement was part of the shopping experience, even before  the advent of social media. From day one Amazon encouraged customers to write a review; a crucial aspect in e-retail, as online customers are not able to see or touch the product until it’s delivered. Discussions were enabled so other shoppers could direct their questions to the reviewer. This made a transaction with Amazon more like joining a community than buying from an online retail store. Now with social media in the game, the sky’s the limit.

The company’s Facebook account has currently 27.7 million followers, and when you take a look at the content it is easy to see why. The posts are interesting, flavoured with humour and stimulating. Customer’s comments or questions are always answered quickly and politely. If someone complains, the reply is helpful, if someone has a question, Amazon delivers the answer

The giant online retailer keeps up with every emerging trend experts have witnessed last year. 7 main trends have been seen to unfold in the social media landscape and are expected to grow in the future; we are going to compare them with the current activities at Amazon.

Trend No. 1 – Live Video Content 

Live video content keeps getting more traction. Social Media Examiners found out that 43% of marketers that have experimented with it in 2016, are going ahead and plan to use interactive video in the future.

There are plenty of streaming sites and platforms, but Periscope and Facebook Live are the most used ones. According to Facebook, the interaction rate for live video is 10x higher than providing the same content without video.

To illustrate: on New Year’s Eve, live streaming on Facebook has reached record numbers worldwide.

Where is Amazon on this?

Amazon streamed “I – Tonya”, a live interview with Steven Rogers, screenwriter and Golden Globe nominated co-producer of the film, on Facebook on March 13th, 2018 and it got 21K views, 10 shares, 203 likes and 84 real time comments. All in one day!!!!

It is one of many live videos Amazon has on their Facebook site and it is a clever way to attract more business, because the content is absolutely unique, it isn’t as costly as a TV ad would be, it connects directly with the customers, and it creates more excitement about the product.

Trend No. 2 – Message Apps

Messaging apps, such as Facebook Messenger, WeChat and WhatsApp will become more important to brands. 4 billion users worldwide are just too good to pass on. Moreover, it is also a great opportunity for brands to connect with their customers directly and to increase customer service reach. Instead of waiting forever to get a representative on the phone, a customer uses messaging and brands can quickly resolve any issues or help a customer.

Where is Amazon on this?

Amazon is currently working on its own app called Anytime. It seems to be an all-in-one app that includes voice and video calls, photo sharing, as well as filters for photos and video with “special effects and masks”, playing games, listening to music, and ordering food.

The service claims to keep chats private and allows users to “encrypt important messages like bank account details.” Quite an important feature since it also allows users to shop. 

Trend No. 3 – E-commerce

E-commerce on social media offers new opportunities. The traditional social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter offer their users the opportunity to buy products directly in the app. Snapchat began testing and introducing e-commerce features in the spring of 2016. WeChat had it built in from the start.

In a survey by Aimia, 56% of consumers have indicated that they follow certain brands in social media to browse products for sale. Thirty-one percent of online shoppers said they use social media to search for products.  This presents a great opportunity for businesses to take advantage of these shopping habits!

Product demonstrations on social media are also a promising idea. According to research by Animoto, 4x more consumers prefer product ideas in the form of videos. Such videos can be shared on social media to encourage online shoppers to buy.

Where is Amazon on this?

As mentioned before, Amazon is in the midst of launching their own app, which would include many of the above features, but the company  also has videos of product demonstrations on their Facebook site. Click on Alexa and you can see an Amazon’s product video about an intelligent, personal assistant developed by the company.

Trend No. 5 – Short-lived content

Short-lived content will grow in importance. Snapchat has started the trend first and Instagram has recently introduced a similar feature with the added ability to share a short-lived video in real time. Videos like “How to”, interviews with celebrities, weekly video series or product presentations will work well.

Where is Amazon on this?

I have to admit, this is the only category where Amazon is not keeping up with the trend. Although there are Instagram postings with some of the suggested content working well , they are not live.   

Trend No. 6 – Story Telling

Instagram introduced its story feature in August 2016 and as a result, brands will switch from Snapchat to Instagram. It was reported that Instagram Stories has 100 million active users every day only two months after they launched the feature.

Overall Instagram has 600 million users and Snapchat 150 million. Obviously, brands would rather use Instagram and since Facebook bought Instagram in 2012, it belongs to the same family and companies that advertise on one platform can use the statistics of both.

Where is Amazon on this?

Amazon has 1.2 million followers on Instagram and a lot of stories there, from young business owner to funny product information, often presented by famous actors and musicians. They have also started in 2018 an entire series on “Insights for Entrepreneurs” containing videos with stories and advice on their YouTube channel. Each video is between 10 and 20 minutes long. 

Trend No. 7 – Competitive Advertising

Advertising on mobile devices will undergo a more competitive approach. The king of advertising revenue in social media is Facebook.  More than US $7 billion were raised in 2017, of which 80% came from advertising on mobile devices. However, now that the feed algorithm on Facebook has changed to give higher priority to content from friends and family, brands that pay to promote their ads need to be very creative to get enough attention.

The advertising revenue of Twitter is on the rise, especially through the advertising for mobile devices. Experimenting with visual content is expected to continue in the future and with sponsored hashtag symbols and stickers, marketers will have access to a variety of advertising options.

Where is Amazon on this?

Being the biggest online retailer, you can run advertisement on your own platform. Amazon also runs advertisements from other companies in a number of locations on its websites, including ads on search-results pages, on pages for specific products for sale, and on its homepage, from big companies including Sony, Comcast and Wells Fargo. It also sells ads on other Amazon sites, including Digital Photography Review and the movie-focused Box Office Mojo.

Watch out: Amazon could take a cut from Google and Facebook advertising presence and revenue in the future. There is certainly enough interest to use Amazon as an advertising platform.

Trend No. 4 – Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality is still a novelty in advertising, but it already looks like a feature well positioned for exponential growth. Because it provides a stronger and more intense experience than other media, it encourages more interaction.

Where is Amazon on this?

Not only marketers have quickly recognized the advantage, so has Amazon. With the AR view feature, customers can visualize products in their home, before they buy it. Every object rendered is life-size, so they’ll know whether it will fit their space or style.

Lessons for Others

It is extremely important to “listen” to your customers. Analyse your social media activities, deliver first class customer support and keep them loyal with perks and fun interactions, while you keep ….. – guess what? – exactly: LISTENING! Amazon has done so very well in the past and with the invention of Alexa, the personal assistant, the company can collect data of customers preferences and interests even more extensively and smoothly. A very smart way to ensure future business.  

Another example of getting ahead of emerging trends: Amazon Go, the first grocery shopping experience without lining up at a cash till.

Organization: Amazon.com
Industry: Online Retail
Name of Organization Contact: Web based information

Authored by: Gita Pattison

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.










Amazon possibly working on new stand-alone messaging app called Anytime