Timeline: A look back at Amazon’s big year
Amazon isn’t one to take a year off.
After reaching $22 trillion in global retail sales in 2016, the e-commerce giant flexed its tentacles and entrenched itself even deeper in a handful of industries this year, like physical and online retail, advertising, video streaming and payments. From the $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods that shook the grocery industry to the fast rise of its server-to-server solution, Amazon had an almost alarmingly action-packed year.
Feb. 2: Amazon announces its 2016 earnings
Amazon starts its financial year 2017 with a 27 percent revenue jump, from $107 billion to $136 billion. Analysts estimate that the company will reach $1 trillion in revenue within the decade.
Feb. 26: Amazon Studios’ ‘Manchester by the Sea’ wins two Oscars
Here’s a reminder that Amazon is everywhere: The film “Manchester by the Sea,” distributed by Amazon Studios, takes home two awards on Oscar night — best original screenplay and best actor for star Casey Affleck.
April 4: Amazon inks a deal with the NFL
Amazon gets the attention of network TV stations and football fans everywhere when it announces a $50 million deal with the NFL that would permit Amazon Video to livestream 10 “Thursday Night Football” games to the service’s estimated 80 million members.
April 24: Amazon launches digital subscription marketplace, Subscribe with Amazon
Amazon throws publishers a bone when it announces the launch of Subscribe with Amazon, which lets publishers sell subscriptions to Amazon members, who can then manage, search and read those subscriptions in one place.
April 27: The ‘elephant in the room’
WPP chief Martin Sorrell identifies Amazon as “the elephant in the room,” meaning it’s the next powerful force agencies must grapple with. Considering he predicted the rise of the Google-Facebook duopoly, it’s not a declaration to take lightly. In the months that followed, agencies ramp up their Amazon-specific services.
April 28: Echo Look debuts
Amazon establishes new territory in the bedroom with the launch of Echo Look, a $200 Alexa-powered gadget made to help users get dressed and build their own “personal lookbooks.” The fashion charge continues.
May 24: Amazon Channels lures more video
Adding to its Amazon Video Direct program, which lets publishers of any size upload video content for Prime subscribers, Amazon launches Amazon Channels internationally, a service that lets media companies sell their subscription services as add-on channels, in the U.K., Germany and Austria. Early participants of both say the revenue is already rolling in.
June 13: Prime perks branch out with Prime Reload
Amazon’s Prime Reload program offers incentive for Prime members to fund their balances with their debit cards by giving 2 percent of purchases back to users. If it offers perks like a bank …
June 20: Amazon raises the curtain on Echo Show
Echo Show, an Echo device that has a built-in screen for uses like baby monitoring and video streaming, is announced as the latest addition to Amazon’s hardware lineup. Things get ugly a few months later when Google, in the process of building a competitor product, pulls YouTube from the platform.
June 20: Prime Wardrobe becomes Amazon’s first personal stylist
Amazon boards the try-before-you-buy train of e-commerce purchasing incentives when it announces Prime Wardrobe. The service lets Prime members select a few pieces of clothing, try them on at home and decide what they want to keep before sending the rest back. Sound familiar? Amazon took a direct jab at Stitch Fix, the online styling service that filed for an IPO in October.
June 21: Nike gives in
Nike announces it will surrender and sell directly on Amazon in an effort to take the attention off the rampant resell market on the platform. Resistance feels futile if a brand with Nike’s heft can’t hold out.
July 14: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos gets jacked
Photos surface of a suddenly ripped Jeff Bezos attending the Sun Valley Conference in Idaho. Wearing an all-business vest and aviators to match, Bezos becomes a walking reminder that Amazon isn’t something to mess with.
July 18: Amazon Spark pokes a pin in Pinterest
Amazon, not known for its strengths as a discovery platform, launches Amazon Spark, an in-app Pinterest-Instagram hybrid that lets users post photos with product tags that are styled with influencer flair.
July 19: Amazon Pay goes brick-and-mortar
Amazon Pay celebrates 10 years as a mobile payment system by launching a physical retail service, Amazon Pay Places. Restaurant chain TGI Fridays is an early adopter.
Aug. 28: Amazon storms Whole Foods
Amazon becomes the official owner of Whole Foods. Immediately after, prices on certain products drop, and Amazon Echos dot the shelves. A new era for grocery begins.
Sept. 7: HQ2: Let the headquarter bidding wars begin
Bezos announces that Amazon will open a new headquarters in the U.S., location TBD. Suddenly, 50,000 jobs and a $5 billion economic boost are up for grabs, and cities start acting a little desperate. Stonecrest, Georgia, even promises to change its name to Amazon if it is chosen.
Sept. 11: Amazon cracks down on counterfeits
Amazon’s Transparency program extends to third-party sellers this year, after Amazon sellers got hit with a series of lawsuits from brands like Chanel for peddling fake goods. Amazon long wooed brands to its wholesale business by promising protection from counterfeiters; this move weakens that play.
Sept. 19: Kohl’s signs a deal with the devil
Kohl’s opens its doors to Amazon when it announces it will accept Amazon returns in stores, and the retailer also says it will start selling Amazon devices. Amazon is not one to quit while it’s ahead, so it’s likely the retailers’ tango will only escalate from here.
Sept. 21: Amazon brings bigger ad business to NYC
As the nation’s cities compete for a chance at a new Amazon headquarters, it’s said that New York City will soon be home to 2,000 new jobs at Amazon’s local offices, with most jobs being in the ad biz.
Sept. 22: Hungry? Head to Amazon
Even Seamless isn’t spared. In September, Amazon’s food delivery service, Amazon Restaurants, partners with food-ordering company Olo to bring its restaurant count to 200 chains with 40,000 total locations in the U.S.
Oct. 4: Bye-bye, header bidding
Amazon’s Transparent Ad Marketplace, a server-to-server solution launched in December of last year as a header-bidding competitor, officially becomes the most popular ad wrapper of its kind in the ad industry. Is Google sweating yet?
Oct. 13: Amazon gets into athleisure
The company announces that its next private-label play would be in — where else? — sportswear. Lululemon CEO Laurent Potdevin says he’s not scared, but we’re not so sure.
Oct. 17: Roy Price resigns; Amazon loses $40 million
Amid sexual assault allegations, Amazon Studios exec Roy Price steps down. As Harvey Weinstein allegations surface, Amazon also shuts down a David O. Russell-directed project produced by The Weinstein Company. Down the drain goes $40 million.
Oct. 25: Amazon Key unlocks new territory
Amazon announces a new offer that lets Prime members take the step they never could with their last significant other: handing over a key to their apartments. With Amazon Key, Amazon delivery drivers can enter customers’ homes while they’re out to leave packages. Delivery made easy or an invitation for murder? The internet is divided.
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