retail news in context, analysis with attitude

CNet has a story saying that Amazon is looking to improve the benefits of its Prime membership program - which currently offers two-day shipping for a $99 annual fee as well as various streaming options - by "reaching out to some third-party merchants to explore letting them ship their goods directly to customers under the free-shipping program."

According to the story, "Currently, third-party merchants selling on Amazon need to send their products to Amazon's warehouses to be eligible for the free-shipping program. That requirement can increase costs to those merchants and cut down on the selection for customers. By allowing merchants to ship straight to customers, Amazon could allay both of those issues and also make its Prime membership more desirable."
KC's View:
When we talk about Amazon's robust offerings, it is critical to remember that its Marketplace relationships is a critical factor ... that it serves as a portal for an enormous number of retailers, with sales revenue that goes right to its bottom line. If it can fold prime benefits into its Marketplace offering, that will be a huge "get," making it even harder for the likes of Walmart and Jet to catch up.