Amazon Tracker: By Land, Air, Sea

Amazon Go Clarification

The second half of January saw Amazon (AMZN) stock up a net 2 percent since its last tracker. On Thursday (Jan. 26) of last week, Amazon stocks neared their all-time high record (set in October 2016), hitting $842.60 in the early afternoon. Since then, prices slid a bit, though they were still up overall.

At the time of this writing, Amazon was up 0.40 percent from Tuesday’s (Jan. 31) close to $826.73 in early-afternoon trading on the first day of February. A quick look at consensus shows that investors are largely in a buying mood at the moment, and the company’s current market sits at over $392 billion.

Amazon is expected to report its fourth-quarter 2016 earnings on Feb. 2 after market close. Analysts expect the online retail giant to report a 25 percent increase in fourth-quarter sales to $44.7 billion, said a Thomson Reuters survey.

Revenue could largely be boosted by the company-reported best-ever holiday sales. Profits from Amazon Web Services are also expected to contribute significantly to the company’s growth. PYMNTS will update with all the details and provide analysis once Amazon releases its numbers.

While Amazon’s earnings will soon take the majority share of the media spotlight, there have been a few other Amazon announcements and moves worth noting as of late.

Amazon has added another subscription service to its offerings for U.S., customers. Called STEM Club, the new service delivers hand-picked, age-appropriate educational toys for kids for $19.99 per month. Think of it as a subscription extensions of extension of the online retail giant’s popular STEM Toys & Games store, which launched in 2015. All toys selected will in some way be related to science, technology, engineering and math.

Another new feature has Prime users excited by the prospect of shaving another second off their purchase times. The company is pulling out all the stops to up the convenience factor. Amazon recently started rolling out digital versions of its Dash Buttons to its website and mobile app.

Prime customers can create a virtual Dash Button for millions of products that are eligible for Prime. Likewise, the new feature will create digital Dash Buttons for products that customers order frequently. While it may seem a bit redundant at first, digitizing the Dash Button eliminates the need for physical hardware production for every item while still enabling Amazon to roll out the feature to the entire Prime catalog.

In keeping with its recent push to own its own shipping and logistics space, Amazon recently announced plans to build its first cargo air hub. The retail giant said the hub will accommodate its growing fleet of Prime Air cargo planes and work to address the growing delivery demand from Prime customers.

The new air hub will be located at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport in Hebron, Kentucky. Amazon estimates that the new hub will create more than 2,000 jobs—part of its goal to create 100,000 full-time, full-benefit jobs in America during the course of the next year and a half.

Dave Clark, SVP of Worldwide Operations, said in a company statement, “As we considered places for the long-term home for our air hub operations, Hebron quickly rose to the top of the list with a large, skilled workforce, centralized location with great connectivity to our nearby fulfillment locations, and an excellent quality of living for employees. We feel strongly that with these qualities as a place to do business, our investments will support Amazon and customers well into the future.”

The new air hub will also considerably lessen Amazon’s dependence on traditional carriers. As The Wall Street Journal points out, both UPS and FedEx have large delivery hubs close to where Amazon plans to build its own — in nearby Louisville and Memphis, respectively.

Amazon also recently took to the seas in its quest to enhance its delivery business, starting by shipping products to warehouses in the U.S. from Chinese merchants. While it doesn’t own or operate the ships transporting the goods, it is acting as a forwarder of global freight and third-party logistics company.

With all the recent news around Amazon’s flying distribution centers, drone shipments (of course), trucking endeavors and self-driving technology patent, these latest moves strongly indicate that Amazon is pushing and will continue to push harder than ever to take full control of its logistics capabilities in the coming months and years.