informa
/
Commentary

Amazon.com's Latest Move Is Simply Brilliant

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.
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.com’s alliance with Coinstar, purveyor of those coin counting machines that seem to be popping up everywhere. The machines perform an excellent service, but one I haven’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, I’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 wouldn’t get me five gallons today), or buy some nuts and bolts at the hardware store, or whatever. In other words, I’d experience more pain than the gain I’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 Amazon’s superb Tool Crib site.

Amazon isn’t the first to test or work with Coinstar in this way. Starbucks and one or two others have waded in as well, but Amazon’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 McDougall’s analysis of Oracle’s acquisition of Siebel and why customer relationship management systems are "fast becoming irrelevant"), Amazon has once again shown that it’s about as savvy -- one might even say brilliant -- as they come at eliminating barriers between my disposable cash and them.