Retail

Amazon Tracker: Slashing Prices On Echoes And Avocados

A Toast To Lower Avocado Toast Prices

Good news for the housing market: After Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods is finalized on Monday, avocado prices will be coming down. With all that extra money they would have been spending on avocado toast, millennials will surely be diving into homeownership any day now. Joking aside – the retail news is that Amazon said to expect lower prices on staples at Whole Foods stores starting as soon as the ink dries on the deal, and apparently avocados fall into that category. “We’re determined to make healthy and organic food affordable for everyone,” Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon Worldwide Consumer, said in a press release.

So… Kind Of Like A Store?

If same-day delivery isn’t fast enough, never fear: students on five college campuses can now place their Amazon order and immediately go pick it up from one of the new “Instant Pickup” points near campus. The pickup points stock hundreds of impulse buys like snacks and phone chargers. Employees fill the orders right away and place the items into a locker, where the customer can then retrieve them using a bar code. Amazon has not indicated why it chose to power these brick-and-mortar sites with human employees rather than automating them, since they are essentially glorified vending machines.

Echoes Of Echoes

Could a new version of the Amazon Echo be on the way soon? That’s the vibe The Verge is getting from Amazon’s extended deep discount on the flagship Echo device, which is selling for $99.99 (regularly $179.99) through Sept. 4. The Echo Dot, Amazon Tap, and Kindle devices are all on sale as well, allegedly as part of the company’s “back to school” sale, but the devices are reportedly selling the at the same Amazon discount price whether buyers are students or not. It would make sense to update the Amazon Echo – it’s been three years since the device got revamped, and it’s now competing with Google Home, the Apple HomePod, and a sea of other smart speaker voice command knockoffs.

Alexa Claims More Territory

The newly-launched Alexa Voice Service Device SDK toolset allows companies to integrate Alexa into their speech recognition-enabled device. The idea seems to be to get Alexa on as many devices as possible early in the voice command game by opening up the software development kit to people and devices outside of the company. As the environment takes shape, Alexa could become the Android OS of the voice computing world, predicted TechCrunch.

Cash Me Outside The U.S.

After launching Amazon Cash in the U.S. earlier this year, the eCommerce giant has rolled out an identical service under a different name on the other side of the pond. “Amazon Top Up In-Store” lets customers change cash into online store credit at any retailer that offers a Paypoint register. It’s essentially like buying a gift card to spend online, but without the hassle of actually obtaining a card and entering the code on the back. Such deposits are convenient, particularly for those who do not have a bank account or guard their financial information closely, and therefore would not otherwise shop on Amazon. The only downside to Amazon Cash? No refunds.

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