Prime as a service

Back in 2015 Amazon decided to end the service to independent merchants to run their web stores (Webstore) to focus on amazon.com and sent its customers to Shopify, announcing the Canadian company as preferred partner. In return, Shopify agreed to offer #AmazonPay to its merchants and allowed them to list their products on Amazon directly from its dashboard.

That decision of Amazon – made on the wrong assumption that small retailers would not succeed in ecommerce which tends to be dominated by #economiesofscale – allowed Shopify to become a high-growth business. small retailers reached a turnover of over $150bn.

Amazon recently decided to offer “Buy with Prime” service to merchants off its platform, letting them to use its payment and fullfilment services. Since Prime significantly increased consumers’ service level expectations, merchants have constantly try to catch up with Prime.

Would Amazon makes the competition get better? “Ça depend du point du vue.

The play is that if customer choose to buy with Prime, it needs to pay via Prime Pay by which Amazon will have transaction data. That data is highly valuable input for conversion-data-driven advertising product.

One should also remember that Amazon is the seller in most categories and its private label business is growing well. Such data will possibly also be used to improve its own offerings in numerous categories.

Amazon will not only leverage its logistics costs and Prime Pay but also have much larger data to help on advertising and product customization. Shopify on the other hand will benefit from its merchants growing business via Prime network but possibly lose on its logistics operations.

It will be tempting to see how Prime network could be leveraged as in the case of AWS and what will it mean for the merchants and platforms like Shopify.

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