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Amazon.com has set the standard for e-commerce with fast delivery, invisible payments and many other perks that keep consumers coming back to its site. Increasingly, the e-tailer has been experimenting with ways to streamline the payment process outside of the trappings of its website.
amazon go store
Employees stand outside the new Amazon Go grocery store in Seattle, Washington, U.S., on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. Amazon.com Inc. unveiled technology that will let shoppers grab groceries without having to scan and pay for them -- in one stroke eliminating the checkout line. Photographer: David Ryder/Bloomberg
Invisible checkout
Amazon's latest innovation is its "Amazon Go" concept store, where people can pick up items without stopping to pay for them. Right now this system is available only to employees at a single location in Seattle, but it's conceivable that Amazon will expand its checkout-free process to its physical bookstores — or even offer it to partners who want to eliminate long lines at their own stores.
whirlpool laundry machine
A top loading washing machines moves down the assembly line at the Whirlpool Corp. manufacturing facility in Clyde, Ohio, U.S., on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015. The U.S. Census Bureau is scheduled to release business inventories figures on December 11. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg
Self-aware appliances
Amazon has begun partnering with appliance makers to embed its Dash technology throughout consumers' homes. Dash is Amazon's system for reordering dedicated products with the push of a button, but if the tech is built into a dishwasher or a washing machine, the appliance can sense when it is low on supplies and place an order with Amazon without having to wait for the customer to act. Companies such as GE, Samsung and Whirlpool are already working with this tech.
Amazon echo dot and alexa
The Amazon "Echo Dot" device sits during the U.K. launch event for the Amazon.com Inc. Echo voice-controlled home assistant speaker in London, U.K., on Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016. The Seattle-based company today announced that its Echo product line will be available in the U.K. and Germany starting in the fall, the first time the gadget will be available outside the U.S. Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg
Voice control
The expansion of Amazon's Alexa digital assistant into more products makes voice-controlled shopping a more practical option for consumers. Alexa is built into home speaker systems and tablets, so the shopper may already be interacting with it when he or she decides to order paper towels or DVDs. At that point, all it takes is a spoken command to access the user's Amazon account.
Amazon shipping box
An employee seals a delivery box with tape with Amazon Prime and Amazon Premium branding at an Amazon.com Inc. fulfillment center in Peterborough, U.K., on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016. The online retail giant needs smart engineers to help expand its cloud computing division, automate warehouses and develop new gadgets like the voice activated Echo speaker. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg
Pushing all the right buttons
Not every Dash product can be reordered through an appliance. Some items - such as bar soap, condoms, tissues and razor blades - would still be tracked by the humans who use them. Thus, Amazon has steadily expanded its array of products that support the WiFi-enabled Dash button to order a predetermined amount of a home product with a single press. And its marketing is appropriately aggressive; Amazon refunds the full cost of the Dash button after its first use.
flying drone near house
A SteadiDrone EI8GHT Octocopter flies near a house during a flight test in a field outside the headquarters of Mensuro Ltd., a distributor for SteadiDrone Ltd. products, in Pilsen, Czech Republic, on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013. Amazon expects to be ready for drone implementation by 2015, which is when the Federal Aviation Administration is due to finalize rules on domestic use of the technology by both government and commercial entities, according to statements made by Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos during a Dec. 1 broadcast of "60 Minutes." Photographer: Martin Divisek/Bloomberg
High-tech delivery
Amazon is doing everything it can to eliminate the wait time from order to delivery. Subscribers to its Prime program get two-day shipping on most orders, but even that may not be fast enough for many shoppers. Amazon has experimented with same-day and grocery delivery in certain markets, and has even floated the idea of using drones to deliver packages.
Amazon firefly on fire phone
The Amazon.com Inc. Fire Phone is displayed for a photograph during an event in Seattle, Washington, U.S., on Wednesday, June 18, 2018. Amazon.com Inc. jumped into the crowded smartphone market with its own handset called Fire Phone, ramping up competition with Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Photographer: Mike Kane/Bloomberg
Phone smarts
Amazon's Fire Phone was built around the shopping experience, but few consumers found it compelling as a phone. Still, many of the concepts Amazon built for its smartphone remain a part of its ecosystem. Its Firefly software, which allowed the phone to identify songs and TV shows based on sounds and images, is still a part of Amazon's Kindle tablet line. This allows Amazon customers to identify unknown products - and buy them - with little effort.
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