Amazon

Amazon Tracker: Doubling Down On Subscriptions

Amazon shares (AMZN) continue to ride high through April, skirting the 900 line with prices fluctuating just above and below, closing out the third week of April trading just below. AMZN was up 1.05 percent from the past week’s close in pre-market trading, looking to start Monday on an up note.

At the time of writing, AMZN was trading at $907.41, up 0.99 percent and trending upward.

But these numbers won’t mean too much outside of April if Amazon underperforms in its upcoming earnings report.

Analysts don’t expect this to be the case, however. With its Q1 announcement slated for this coming Thursday, The Street expects Amazon to report EPS of $1.11 on $35.40 billion in revenue. We’ll see how the online retail giant fares for certain later this week.

Moving on to expansion plans: It’s official. Amazon has set up shop in Australia.

Late last month, speculation arose that Amazon was in the process of making a local play down under. In late March, the company hired some 100 employees in logistics, IT and security roles in Sydney, signaling the online retailer was opening warehouses.

Recently, Amazon confirmed it’s bringing its full online retail operations to the nation of over 23 million.

“The next step is to bring a retail offering to Australia,” Amazon wrote in a statement. “We are excited to bring thousands of new jobs to Australia, millions of dollars in additional investment, and to empower small Australian businesses through Amazon Marketplace.”

Australian retailers are expected to be in for a rude awakening upon Amazon’s arrival.

The move to local operations in Australia will increase the number of products and services the online retail giant can provide while also cutting down on delivery times. It’s likely that consumers will move in greater numbers away from local brick-and-mortar establishments.

Likewise, incumbent merchants in Australia have reportedly lagged in their eCommerce offerings due to lack of direct competition and lukewarm consumer adoption of online shopping. About 7 percent of retail purchases in Australia were made online, said CNBC, as opposed to 10 percent or more in similar markets.

Sticking in the eastern hemisphere, Amazon’s made additional progress in its Indian market endeavors.

First, the online retail giant’s application for a semi-closed digital wallet license has been approved, said TechCrunch. The online retail giant filed for the license with the Royal Bank of India last month. The move will allow Amazon to remove online payment friction for Indian buyers, as well as to compete with Flipkart, Paytm and Snapdeal on the digital wallet front.

Already, Amazon’s share of the mobile market in India has hit 30.3 percent. India-based Flipkart came in at 30.7 percent. Likewise, Amazon’s Indian mobile traffic jumped up 46 percent year on year in Q1 2017. Flipkart’s fell by 11 percent.

Stateside, Amazon just announced a major move in the realm of subscription commerce.

The online retail giant announced that sign-ups are open for its new self-service marketplace called “Subscribe With Amazon,” which looks to enable merchants and businesses operating under a subscription-based model to sell on Amazon.

“Over the years, Amazon has gained extensive experience in the memberships and subscriptions space,” Lovina McMurchy, general manager of Subscribe with Amazon, said in the announcement. “Today, we’re excited to extend our selection by offering subscription businesses a self-service way to make their subscriptions available to millions of Amazon customers.”

As consumers add new subscriptions to their portfolios, they’ll likely be looking for a service to organize and catalog everything for them.

On the consumer end, the subscription market aims to be that service, centralizing the search for new subscriptions to Amazon’s platform. It’s adding another major use case to Amazon — making the online retail giant a sort of one-stop-shop to find, sign-up for and manage subscriptions via an online dashboard.

The need for such a service looks to become critical as consumers continue to add more and more new subscriptions to their portfolios.

Subscription-based businesses across the board have already signed up — from traditional subscription-based publications like The Wall Street Journal and The New Yorker, to live TV streaming service SlingTV and business mileage tracker MileIQ.

Of course, Amazon gets a cut for hosting — 30 percent of the price for the first year of a consumer’s subscription, dropping to 15 percent in the second year.

The move is a no-brainer for the online retail giant to grab a share of the trend it helped normalize. Amazon’s Prime membership was one of the drivers, along with Netflix and Dollar Shave Club, for the recent boom in subscription commerce across industry verticals.

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