The boss of Amazon’s ultra fast shipping service PrimeNow spends more time worrying about customer problems and how to solve them than what it costs to deliver products.
“When I think about the time that I spend as the leader of this business, I don’t spend most of my time thinking about delivery costs — or costs at all,” Stephenie Landry, Head of Amazon Prime Now, said during a presentation at Shoptalk in Las Vegas yesterday.
“Costs are important but I really think about customer love. How does my team make a product that customers really, really love and they are passionate about? I will take a cost problem over a customer love problem any day. You can do costs a bunch of different ways but if you don’t have a product that customers love and respond to that’s really problematic. So I really spend my time obsessing about great product.”
PrimeNow is the Amazon Prime benefit that ensures free two-hour delivery or one-hour delivery for US$7.99. Since launching a little over two years ago the service is now available in more than 45 cities and seven countries.
It’s also one of the factors behind Amazon’s rising shipping costs, as the chart below from Statista illustrates.
Landry admits, “ultra fast shipping is an expensive proposition. It’s not easy to do… but the only way to learn about it is to be in the game.”
According to Landry, history indicates customers’ expectations around speed are only going to rise, as the demand faster and faster delivery.
“Two-hour delivery sounds fast now, but I can imagine a future where customers are getting ever-more demanding. I can imagine a future where it doesn’t seem all that fast,” she said.
“We wanted to learn about it at the right time for our customers and then when we actually launched the product and we saw the customer response we felt like this is a new business that is going to be really important to our customers over time. So we continued to invest in it.”
Giving time back
“Right now there are definitely moments where people need stuff in an hour,” Landry said.
“The truth is the real broad need for PrimeNow is not those urgent situations … it’s really to give people their time back.”
The thinking behind PrimeNow is it will eliminate a shopping trip from your life and give you time back to do something else. But that’s not to say that all shopping will be arriving via post in the future.
“I think that shopping is going to be an experience. People are always going to love shopping, shopping is going to be a form of entertainment. But there are certain tasks that are going to be chores that are going to be eliminated over time,” Landry said.
Amazon PrimeNow is integrated with Alexa, allowing customers to shop via voice. If a customer orders from Alexa in a city where PrimeNow is available Amazon will often deliver the items within two hours, Landry said.
“It’s kind of a delight factor that happens in the background,” she said, adding, “we are in early days of voice shopping but that it will be a huge area.”