What does the future hold for Amazon?
If it achieves what it wants, we will see a completely autonomous retail operation. This means that end-to-end service, from the point of order to delivery is completely automated.
Of course, we can already see pieces of this equation being put in place.
The company took advantage of automated ordering, starting as an online retailer. This required nobody to sell products. The online world offered better margins while providing the ability to have more products available. This started with having millions of titles in their "bookstore" as compared to the usual 50,000 that a traditional book store carried.
Amazon is one of the leading companies in the use of robotics and automation in their warehouses. While they are providing plenty of jobs at the moment, the move is to automate the process as much as they can. Each year, they progress forward a bit more, automating more of the process. The latest is a machine that does the actual "boxing" of the products for shipping. This will eliminate roughly 1,500 jobs when the implementation is completed.
There is also an entire department dedicated to automating the delivery process. The company is investing heavily in drone and robotic technology as a means of controlling more of the process. How this will look in the future is still unknown but we are seeing a lot of progress across the board.
Is it so hard to imagine a time when you order something online and it gets delivered to your house without a human being involved in the process? The pieces are falling into place to make this a reality.
Amazon is even trying to incorporate this into their retail locations. The acquisition of Whole Foods put the company in the grocery market. Over the last couple years, Amazon has honed its technology to be able to run the store without cashiers. At present, the only personnel required are for restocking shelves.
While there will, most likely, always be a need for a few people, the concept is easy to follow. Amazon is a technology company with a large amount of artificial intelligence. There is no reason to believe this company will not be able to achieve its goals of automating most of the process.
This is something to keep an eye on as companies go forward. What other ones are following a similar path (Tesla?) which could provide an enormous advantage over the competition?
We are rapidly getting to the point where following technology is a vital part of any investment experience.
It is having too much of an impact.
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