retail news in context, analysis with attitude

•  Bloomberg reports that Amazon "is experimenting with a premium service that lets customers opt to have furniture or appliances assembled as soon they arrive at their homes, according to people familiar with the plan."  The new service would require "drivers to unpack and assemble the items, remove the packaging and take the item back on the spot if the customer isn’t satisfied."

According to the story, "The move, if adopted widely, would help the world’s largest online retailer compete more effectively with Wayfair, Best Buy, Home Depot and Lowe’s -- which all offer similar options."


•  Variety reports that Amazon's strategy of offering differentiated and proprietary services can be seen in its budget line for Prime Video content.

"Amazon spent a cool $11 billion on TV series, movies and music for its Prime services last year, an increase of 41% from $7.8 billion in 2019," the story says.  "The total content spending includes licensing and production costs associated with video and music offered to Amazon’s Prime members, as well as costs associated with digital subscriptions and content that the company sells or rents, the company said."

One dramatic example of what Amazon is willing to spend (and how deep its pockets are):  The Hollywood Reporter writes that Amazon will spend $465 million to produce the first season of a new "Lord of the Rings" TV series that will be shot in NewZealand.  "That's far above previous reported estimates that pegged the fantasy drama as costing an already record-breaking $500 million for multiple seasons of the show," the story says.

Additional seasons may not cost as much;  the first season of a series like this, which is labor intensive because of the costs of building Middle Earth from scratch, plus all the special effects, tends to be more expensive.