Amazon is the biggest giant in the retail landscape right now, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only contender out there. In fact, Amazon’s heavy success is encouraging other companies to sit up, take notice, and take action. Even indirect competitors are interested in competing with Amazon simply for the sake of advancement.
Who are Amazon’s biggest competitors in 2019, and how are they pushing e-commerce forward?
An unexpected direct competitor, Facebook is an online giant in its own right. Facebook dominates the social sphere while Amazon has retail on lock. So where do these two come into competition?
The Venn diagram of Facebook and Amazon is quickly becoming narrower and narrower. Amazon is adding more social aspects to its business, while Facebook has entered e-commerce at full force.
For example, Facebook Marketplace saw a lot of success in 2018. Although it’s more like Craigslist than Amazon, a lot of local sellers and small businesses have seen success by selling goods through Facebook’s marketplace. This is creating tighter competition for Amazon’s resale market, which is forcing Amazon to move into private labeling even more.
Facebook also owns Instagram, which has started dominating social selling. Learn more about Facebook and Instagram e-commerce integrations here.
Facebook Portal is quickly becoming one of the top comparable products to Amazon’s video Alexa. While Facebook Portal isn’t a home assistant like Alexa or Google Home, it’s using artificial intelligence to follow and track its video callers. Facebook’s ongoing uses of AI are proving to be endless—from video chatting to target marketing to collecting user data. The sheer usage of technology puts these major giants in competition.
It’s also interesting to note that Facebook and Amazon are marketing competitors. A small business owner has a few key options for digital marketing including Facebook sponsored ads, Amazon PPC campaigns, and Google Adwords. If a business owner has limited marketing funds, they’ll usually spend their money on Google Adwords and one other platform—either Facebook or Amazon. With digital marketing being such a heavy revenue stream, Amazon doesn’t want to lose their sellers’ promotional business to other advertisement platforms. Facebook has seen a lot of advertising success, so they’ve started attracting more business owners to use them—even if these businesses are Amazon-based.
Amazon isn’t as worried about Facebook taking over the product world itself. But the two are in a battle to leverage the technology that drives marketing and development.
One of Amazon’s biggest competitive advantages is innovation and expansion. Its growth-at-all-costs mindset is what has ferried Amazon from an online bookseller to a global retail powerhouse. But they’re not the only company with originality at its core. Apple is known for its inventive mission, constantly thinking outside the box in product development and customer service.
In fact, Amazon still lags behind Apple in a lot of customer service criteria. Apple’s omnichannel experience is unmatched, creating a seamless process both online and in-store. Amazon is heavily online, although they’re quickly expanding into physical storefronts. Amazon’s new storefronts are tech-driven, using facial recognition and checkout-less options. Still, customers are unsure of the Amazon experience, but the Apple experience is solidified and progressing.
This means Amazon could use Apple as “innovation inspiration” as they begin to create the experience within their own stores. Still, their overlapping mission statements create an innate competition to be the most inventive.
(We think this means positive things for the future. We want our companies competing to be the most innovative because then consumers end up with the best possible products and service.)
Amazon hopped on the movie and TV streaming bandwagon with Amazon Prime Video. This puts it in direct competition with Netflix and other media sites like Apple’s iTunes, Time Warner Cable, Hulu, and Google Play Store.
Interestingly, this is an area where Amazon doesn’t come in first. Netflix still has a pretty tight hold on the media streaming market, especially as they start to push out a high caliber of original shows and movies. Amazon Prime has started creating their own series as well, but they’re not as widely known or accepted as those on Netflix.
Most people don’t buy Amazon Prime for its video services. They get Prime for free, fast shipping options—and Video is a bonus. So, it’s not uncommon for customers to be both Prime users and Netflix lovers, paying for both without hesitation. If Amazon were to separate their Video services, they’d likely see a decline in viewers and have an even heftier competition with Netflix.
As television changes rapidly, we anticipate that Amazon Video will be looking to grow to new heights throughout 2019.
A classic Amazon competitor, Walmart has been a powerhouse for years—and it hasn’t faltered since Amazon has entered the stage. In fact, Amazon has made Walmart even stronger. Walmart’s e-commerce store has especially blossomed, both in design and functionality. They make it easy to find, browse, and purchase online, and they’ve even begun offering free two-day shipping if you meet the $35 threshold.
Walmart also has a leg-up on Amazon in that their sellers are screened much more thoroughly. Amazon has had some concerns with confusing sellers or counterfeit products, whereas Walmart has had a lot fewer of these complaints.
Both Amazon and Walmart are still working out their imperfections. They’ll cancel orders, misplace shipments, or mishandle customer service complaints. But all in all, the competition between the two is working to fix these problems quickly and swiftly. The greater the competition, the faster and better the service offered to customers.
Walmart knows that in order to stay in business, they need to meet Amazon toe-to-toe in product offerings, price, shipping, and service. And Amazon knows that in order to stay king, it constantly needs to be innovating and mending its seller legitimacy.
“Experts” are lining up to put in their two cents about who will come out as victor between Amazon and Walmart, but we don’t anticipate a shut-out. They’re expanding and changing at similar rates with similar growing pains, and both companies need one another in order to stay innovative in their offerings. And the customer is benefiting from this competition, so it’s not a winner-take-all situation.
Target isn’t the same size as Amazon or Walmart, but it’s quickly putting its foot in the door in a lot of areas. In 2019, we anticipate one of the largest competitive advantages for Target will be Shipt. Target recently acquired “Shipt,” an online same-day delivery platform. Shipt is allowing Target to offer same-day delivery on products, including groceries. This is putting them in direct competition with Amazon, simply based on their high-value shipping options that other businesses haven’t been able to offer or figure out just yet.
Target’s focus on the omnichannel experience also puts them at an advantage over Amazon, who is still figuring out their role in the brick and mortar sphere.
Image via Shutterstock.com
Amazon is quickly taking over the globe—but Alibaba is matching their moves with equal foreign expansion. This Chinese e-commerce company functions similarly to Amazon in its wholesale trade, offering a number of products and services at their one-stop platform.
The two are very similar in functionality, technology, and growth. Alibaba is also growing at an exponential rate, backed by some heavy investors worldwide. These two e-commerce giants are probably the fiercest competitors as they dip their toes in foreign pools.
It’s important to note that Alibaba has a hold on the Chinese e-commerce market—and China is the number one online retail market in the world (recently beating out America). This scares the “invincible” Amazon as they continue to look for new markets to occupy and saturate. They are struggling to see the Chinese market takeoff because of Alibaba’s hold.
Amazon is facing a lot of competition, and we anticipate more competitors popping up in 2019. From social networking sites to Google to Rakuten and others, there are endless competitors Amazon has to consider moving into the future. Even small businesses that are creating their own e-commerce stores and marketing on social media are circumventing the Amazon hold on the e-commerce market.
Every powerhouse sees its day, and Amazon is doing its best to cover its bases vertically and horizontally to stay as strong as possible for as long as possible. As the digital sphere is constantly changing, we’re curious to see where Amazon stands this time next year.