My favorite new story on our site yesterday has not all that much to do with business technology, but a lot more to do with simple business smarts.Check out our report on Amazom.comâ€™s alliance
purveyor of those coin counting machines that seem to be popping up everywhere. The machines perform an excellent service, but one I havenâ€™t chosen to avail myself of. I -- apparently like most people -- have lots of spare change lying around. It takes a bit of planning to pull it together, collect it in a bag or box, lug it to the supermarket and then deal with the output. Then, in my case, being a person that rarely has a buck or two in my pocket, Iâ€™d spend the loot from the Coinstar process in about 5 minutes, probably on the way home from the store, to put gas in the car (that $14.75 from Coinstar wouldnâ€™t get me five gallons today), or buy some nuts and bolts at the hardware store, or whatever. In other words, Iâ€™d experience more pain than the gain Iâ€™d realize.
Under this deal, the marketing whizzes at Amazon have given me a far more valuable outlet for that money. I can go to a Coinstar, dump all my loose change, and get a redemption code that I could use to buy myself or a family member a book, I could buy a gift certificate for someone, or even put the money toward a name-brand power tool at Amazonâ€™s superb Tool Crib site.
Amazon isnâ€™t the first to test or work with Coinstar in this way. Starbucks and one or two others have waded in as well, but Amazonâ€™s preeminent position on the Internet provides a unique opportunity for this concept to take off.
In a week dominated by news about CRM (by the way, don't miss Paul McDougallâ€™s analysis of Oracleâ€™s acquisition of Siebel and why customer relationship management systems are "fast becoming irrelevant"), Amazon has once again shown that itâ€™s about as savvy -- one might even say brilliant -- as they come at eliminating barriers between my disposable cash and them.