Mashable gets an inside look at Amazon’s Prime Now warehouse, on 34th street in New York City. The 25,000 items in stock are the ones listed on Amazon.com as part of its Prime Now service, which offers select products that couriers can deliver within two hours. The writer notes what seems to be extreme disorganization is in fact organized chaos that could only be understood by “an algorithm.” Among the treasures spotted is at least one huge pallet of spoken-for NES Classic systems. – MASHABLE
Amazon has become a major player in European online fashion retail. The company has now cornered 5.7 percent of Western Europe’s $42 billion dollar apparel market, just behind popular online shop Zalando (at 6.1 percent) and market-leading Otto Group (down to just 6.2 percent, from 10 percent in 2011.) Bloomberg illustrates how “local hero” Zaladno is planning to fight back, including building a warehouse in Paris that will cut down on delivery time in France, and dedicating their first self-owned distribution center in Poland. – BLOOMBERG
Amazon is one of several companies participating in Give Back Box, a program that can recycle all of those empty Amazon cardboard shipping boxes while helping those in need. Customers can fill their empty Amazon boxes with items for Goodwill, print out a “Give Back Box” label, and drop the package off at a local post office. Amazon will pay for delivery to local Goodwill organizations. – GEEKWIRE
7-11 joined Amazon in the drone delivery game, revealing that the company has made 77 drone deliveries in the Reno, Nevada, area since July. The report comes comes on the heels of news of Amazon's first successful drone delivery in rural England. The 7-11 deliveries are surprising since Reno is a densely populated area, and FAA regulations make such drone flights and deliveries very difficult. 7-11, who teamed with drone delivery company Flirtey for the project, seem to have avoided stepping on the FAA’s toes by only delivering within a safe one-mile radius. – INVESTOPEDIA
Amazon’s voice-controlled Echo devices have proven to be a major 2016 holiday hit, and are completely sold out for the moment. The website is reporting that the Echo Dot won’t be available again until a few days after Christmas, and the Echo itself won’t be back in stock until the final days of the year. The company credits the shortage with higher-than-expected demand. – FOX
Amazon received a patent this week for “mesh network” technology designed to protect the company’s drones from hacking. Amazon’s filing, which also covers uncrewed autonomous vehicles (UAVs), arose from fears that a hacker might conceivably crash or otherwise interfere with Amazon drones via a wireless signal jammer. The patent is based on a “mesh network” plan, wherein the drones are able to share data to confirm flight specifics, and in this case relate whether one of their own has been compromised. – FORTUNE
Garth Brooks' full 16-album discography will be available exclusively on Amazon Music, starting this Christmas Eve. The albums will be available both for purchase and - for Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers - streaming. Brooks, who also launched a major promotion with retailer Target for the holiday season, saw his greatest popularity over a decade ago but retains a dedicated fanbase. (Since October, two Brooks compilations have been available on Amazon Music, but this move represents a major expansion to include the singer’s whole catalog as an exclusive.) – VERGE
Writer Barry Ritholtz sums up Amazon as “a disruptor of all sorts of businesses,” like Apple before it. Ritzholtz shares his own story of the recent purchase of a pair of televisions, and his realization that Amazon had its hands in nearly every step of the process, from finding the cheapest price on one set at a local brick-and-mortar, to scheduling a technician to come and mount it on his wall. The writer wonders how other businesses can compete with Amazon, who via their Amazon Home Services network got the handyman to come out for less than half the price of the second-cheapest estimate. – DENVER POST
FROM THE MAILBAG
Reader Brian asks, "Just wondering what you guys think of the future of furniture retail. These are bigger ticket items that the customers tend to want to touch and feel. Wondering what your thoughts are? Is is an industry that can be significantly disrupted via e-commerce and what Amazon's plans are?"
Our own Amazon expert William Tjernlund responds:
"Hey Brian, I think the future of furniture eCommerce will be decided by the way it is manufactured. A majority of the cost of furniture is shipping. I just bought new desks for everyone in my office and I noticed that all the cheapest desks could be broken down IKEA style so they could be shipped efficiently. Amazon and Amazon Sellers will still be selling furniture more and more if the manufactures can find a way to easy break the furniture down into sections and make it easy to ship. If the furniture is big and bulky, a brick and mortar store may still be your best option."