Amazon in 2018: 7 things you should know about the e-commerce giant

“Divinely discontent…”

That’s how CEO Jeff Bezos describes Amazon customers in his April 18 letter to shareholders.

The annual note is widely seen by industry watchers as an indispensable read if you want to get a handle on where the self-described “Earth’s most customer-centric company” is headed next.

“People have a voracious appetite for a better way, and yesterday’s ‘wow’ quickly becomes today’s ‘ordinary.’ I see that cycle of improvement happening at a faster rate than ever before,” Bezos writes.

“You cannot rest on your laurels in this world. Customers won’t have it.”

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Here’s what’s new with Amazon

If you’re an Amazon Prime customer, Amazon wants to continue to woo you with that all-important ‘wow’ factor.

Here’s a look at where the business is today and what Bezos says is in store just around the corner…

Prime has more than 100 million subscribers

The guessing game is over! For the first time ever, Amazon has gone on record with an official declaration of the number of Prime subscribers it counts the world over.

That 100 million metric is nothing to sneeze at! It’s taken Amazon 13 years to build up to this level with its popular Prime service.

The company shipped more than 5 billion items to Prime customers in 2017 alone.

RELATED: 3 money-saving Amazon Prime perks you need to know about

The cost of your Prime membership will be going up

On April 26, Amazon announced that the annual cost of a Prime membership for U.S. customers will increase to $119, up from $99.

New Prime subscribers will pay the $119 starting May 11, while the new price won’t apply to renewals until June 16.

Steven Spielberg, Julia Roberts and Anthony Hopkins want to entertain you

Prime Video Direct, which helps content creators and visual storytellers reach those 100 million customers, has obtained the subscription video rights for more than 3,000 feature films.

Here’s what Bezos says you can expect coming in the Prime Original series pipeline:

  • “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” starring John Krasinski
  • “King Lear” starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson
  • “The Romanoffs,” which will be executive produced by Matt Weiner
  • “Carnival Row” starring Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne
  • “Good Omens” starring Jon Hamm
  • “Homecoming” starring Julia Roberts in her first TV series
  • A multi-season production of “The Lord of the Rings”
  • A new miniseries called “Cortés” from executive producer Steven Spielberg, which will star Javier Bardem

Whole Foods: More checkout developments coming soon 

If you’re a Prime member, more benefits will be coming your way soon each time you checkout at the organic supermarket now owned by Amazon.

Bezos notes that the company is making progress on “the technical work needed to recognize Prime members at the point of sale and [we] look forward to offering more Prime benefits to Whole Foods shoppers once that work is completed.”

Prime Wardrobe: Try before you buy with free returns

Amazon is moving ahead with an expansion of its new service for Prime members (currently in beta) that lets you try outfits on at home before you buy them and offers free returns.

It’s called Prime Wardrobe and you can read the latest on this freebie service here.

Recently, Prime Wardrobe introduced Nike and UGG on Amazon, alongside new celebrity collections by Drew Barrymore and Dwyane Wade.

You can also try out Amazon’s in-house brands like Goodthreads and Core10 through Wardrobe.

Amazon Marketplace is the new mecca for small business

More than half the items sold on Amazon worldwide were from third-party sellers in 2017. That’s the first time that’s ever happened.

The success of Amazon Marketplace was driven by an influx of more than 300,000 small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that started selling on the site last year.

In fact, more than 140,000 SMBs crossed the $100,000 threshold in sales on Amazon in 2017.

Hardware sales are growing

Wondering what the best-selling products across the entire breadth of Amazon are? Look no further than the Echo Dot and Fire TV Stick with Alexa.

They were the leaders and dominated across all categories and all manufacturers in 2017. Bezos says it was the best-ever year for hardware sales on Amazon.

Also of note while we’re on the topic of hardware: The new Kindle Oasis has been released to mark the 10th anniversary of the Kindle reader.

“It’s waterproof – take it in the bathtub – with a bigger 7” high-resolution 300 ppi display and has built-in audio so you can also listen to your books with Audible,” Bezos notes of the Oasis.

See all of the latest and greatest Amazon Deals at ClarkDeals.com!

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