Amazon sells me a lot of stuff. I read somewhere that you can pull a report of everything you have bought from Amazon, so I did, but I’m afraid to look at it. In a given week, I probably place 4-6 orders, not counting my standing monthly “Subscribe and Save” orders, or the ones mrDiva places. Now we also have an Amazon Echo so we can just ask “Alexa” to order things for us from Amazon.
Here’s a list of what I’ve ordered from Amazon in the past week, and here’s where I would have bought it pre-Amazon:
- Sneakers for my daughter (Stride Rite)
- Water shoes for my daughter (Target)
- Duplo (Lego) set (Toys R Us)
- Measuring cup (Target)
- Humidifier cleaner (Supermarket)
- Book (Barnes and Noble)
- Diapers for my daughter (Target)
- Diapers for my son (Target)
- Wipes (Target)
- Birthday gift for friend (Toys R Us)
Needless to say, Amazon has captured a huge share of wallet in our household.
We know that Amazon plays games with prices – and that “list price” is a construct whose time may be over. Of course Amazon offers me products they think I’ll like and follows me around the internet offering me items I’ve looked at.
But I think Amazon could be even smarter with their Big Data.
One way is with Amazon Pantry. Pantry is for household and supermarket items, and you basically fill a box of a certain size, then pay flat rate shipping.
The thing is, I’m a great candidate for Pantry. In fact, I make a monthly grocery store run to the “big” grocery store to get cereal, granola bars, microwave popcorn, cookies, chips, and all the things my local market charges through the nose for, and that my organic market doesn’t carry. (I mean, it would kill them to stock Oreos?) I’ve bought some of these items from Amazon in the past.
So I’ve looked at Pantry a few times. I’ve even loaded up a box to see what it would cost. But I feel like it’s hard to compare prices with what I typically pay, so I haven’t pulled the trigger.
And Amazon knows all this. They know that I’ve put things in a Pantry box, that I’ve tried to search for the same items on both Pantry and non-Pantry pricing, and that I’ve given up with a half-full box several times. So you know what would be compelling? Something like this:
“Hey Sheryl, we noticed you were looking at Pantry. We combed through your orders in the past, and noticed that if you had bought these things in a Pantry box instead of a la carte, you would have saved $20!”
But that’s not my real idea for Amazon. My real idea is around budgeting. Personal finance is a huge online business. Mint, Wave, and numerous others all have healthy businesses helping people budget. The thing is this: a HUGE portion of my budget is spent through Amazon. They have a ton of data about my spending habits in different categories and my purchasing patterns.
There are also some things I don’t buy on Amazon. But Amazon Payments could cover that. Theoretically, any online purchase I make could be tracked by Amazon. And I would love to get that info – to know, where was I spending money, and what were the trends. Were diapers really costing me as much as I thought? How much did I spend on clothing last summer?
Not only that, but once Amazon started offering me financial information, I might be inclined to see what Amazon recommended for things like car insurance, or mortgage rates. And they wouldn’t have to even sell that to me, but they could offer it as a referral. I can already buy a cell phone plan, magazine subscription, and software contract from Amazon. Why not insurance? Why not my kid’s 529?
The point being, as I said earlier: Amazon has a huge share of our household wallet. Their ability to provide information to me about my own spending habits would be valuable – valuable enough that I could turn to them for other purchases as well. At this point, if Amazon doesn’t sell it, I probably don’t buy it.