The Business Problem and Opportunity Statement
Nowadays technology is deeply integrated into various spheres of society, especially in those that are associated with services. More and more customers prefer online purchases that are rather easy and convenient. However, the need to offer innovations and keep customers interested remains a business problem for many companies. Recently, Amazon launched a dash wand that allows customers to scan barcodes of packages and add the goods directly to their carts. The device presents a tube with a barcode scanner, Wi-Fi enabling component, and voice recognition sensor. Since this is a new product line, it is important to evaluate the product feasibility, focusing on industry, organizational issues, and financial aspect.
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The Feasibility Study Requirements
Before making a final decision on the implementation of a new product, it is essential to determine whether it is relevant to the existing market, customers, finances, etc. based on an analysis of feasibility. The following aspects are required: conditions existing in the market, the concept of the company that undertook a product, sales tools, customer-related issues, design, production conditions, production requirements, and aspects of financing. According to Babin and Zikmund (2015), the summary of the mentioned requirements will provide the overview of the product and affect the decision. This feasibility study results will be presented in a table format to create their visibility (see Appendix A). In such a table, for each analyzed indicator, value will be set depending on its potential – low, medium, or high. For each of the options analyzed, an assessment will be made based on the current literature in the field.
First, it is important to evaluate the strength of business idea. While other large companies of the market are trying to come up with something new that will amaze their customers, Amazon is trying to simplify everyday life for them. The first generation of Amazon Dash barcode scanners was not rather successful and did not become popular on the market. Therefore, it was decided to upgrade this device. The main function of barcode scanning and purchase in Amazon remained practically unchanged, but Alexa, the voice control element, brings the additional value to the product. This means that a customer looking, for example, at a food product can recognize recipes and nutrients of a certain dish. Amazon Dash Wand is a device with which one can order goods not from the computer, but directly from the kitchen, pantry, bedroom, bathroom, or garden. For example, a customer scans the barcode on a pack of favorite flakes, and the product is added to the Amazon Fresh basket.
The new Amazon Dash Wand with Alexa helps customers to find recipes, convert cups in ounces, buy and regroup essentials, find nearby restaurants, and access thousands of other Alexa skills. With the help of the new Dash Wand, one can not only scan bar codes for order items in the online store, but also manage lighting in the house or turn on TV. Thus, the product aims at simplifying and adding value to everyday life, focusing on food purchase but not limited to it. The idea of Amazon Dash Wand is quite timely and relevant to the customers’ needs and expectations. It does not require any change from customers and has no analogs. Even though Alexa voice services may be compared with Siri or some other voice assistants, pointing at a barcode resulting in buying is available only with Amazon product.
Second, industry related issues need to be analyzed. The number of Amazon Dash Wand competitors is few and consists of voice assistants. This industry currently passes through the growth stage and presents plenty of opportunities. It is expected that “by 2025 online food shopping could account for as much as 20 percent of the market” (Liberatore, 2017, par. 10). Strong growth in the industry may be noted based on the rapid development of technology in the field of customer service. The importance of the product may be identified as “would like to have” one: it is not necessary, yet is likely to contribute to comfort. The industry operating margins are high considering that such products belong to the broader field of products: smartphones, iPhones, etc. Amazon also thought about those who have already decided that the Dash Wand will be another device that will have to be constantly charged. Therefore, two AAA batteries along with a magnet inside power the new product, so that the Dash Wand can be attached to a metal surface, including a refrigerator.
Third, the analysis of the target market and customer related issues shows that adults of middle age, especially women, who are usually engaged in cooking more than men compose the target population. The product’s ability to create “barriers to entry” for competitors is high, since Amazon strives to continuously improve its customer service and technologies. For example, for the further development, the Dash Wand can be equipped with a fingerprint scanner, so that to create the image of a magic wand that functions only in its owner’s hands. The wand may be designed of plastic to reduce the product’s costs, though it is possible to consider making rub devices with the use of organic materials. The purchasing power of customers is also high, since Amazon Dash Wand price is adequate and almost returnable. Today barcode scanners are not nearly as popular as it might seem, yet promotional videos as well as other stimulating strategies of Amazon will help to advertise the Dash Wand. In other words, growth potential of the market is significant as there various opportunities to keep the target audience interested in the product and also attract new customers.
Speaking of founder related issues, it is critical to point out that Amazon is the founder and promoter of Amazon Dash Wand. It is one of the largest online stores, which sets the tone for the entire online trading sector worldwide. This is the store in which there were comments on the purchased goods for the first time and a unique sales system was created, which has not yet been surpassed. Since the very establishment of the company, it has gone through without any major crises and challenges. The capitalization of the resource and the assortment of the store increased, new representative offices were opened in different countries of the world, and the number of employees increased – all this happened naturally and effectively. It turns out that once taking the market under its control, Amazon has not left the leading position. Today it is a great corporation with a turnover of about $ 20 billion a year and a net profit of about $ 0.5 billion. The platform offers various technology services, powerful advertising departments, and products.
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The company’s priorities, including its goals and aspirations, are the customer’s requirements and the provision of the corresponding products. Amazon’s products are targeted to a specific customer as it focuses on buyers with medium and high income. The basic principle may be formulated as follows: all the best for the customer. As noted by Crist (2017), “The Dash Wand is easy to set up and easy to use, and Alexa makes it extra convenient. Access to Alexa’s third-party skills and smart home controls are both especially nice touches” (para. 1). The technology used by the company allows it to provide valuable information about customers to organizations engaged in ordinary and electronic business, since when making an order all information about the tastes and preferences of the buyer is recorded in the database. Thus, Amazon Dash Wand goals correspond with those of the company, and this is extremely necessary to be successful in the market.
As for the financial aspect of the product, Amazon Dash Wand costs $ 20, but customers can return this amount as a discount on purchases on Amazon, while Amazon Prime subscribers can get it for free. Namely, when purchasing an intelligent gadget, an account for Amazon is charged $ 20. This money can be spent on purchases, which will be carried out with the help of a new home-helper. In addition, the buyer will receive a free 90-day version of the Amazon Fresh grocery store. The initial capital investment was approximately 50 million (Hook, 2015). There is only one revenue driver of the company, namely, its website. The breakeven time, as identified by Amazon, is one to two years. The overview of the financial performance of similar companies shows that it is rather strong. In addition, Amazon’s ability to fund the product is high, too. The value this pricing method is directed to the product rather than particular costs and features and concentrates on such features as convenience and uniqueness as well as the possibility to make adult customers happy with their daily activities.
Conclusion / Decision
This feasibility study reveals that the new product of Amazon – Dash Wand – is Among the key advantages, there are convenience, adequate cost, appropriate structure of value network, and improved functionality. Amazon Dash Wand will provide products at a price available for all Amazon users, while the rapid delivery is another significant feature contributing to the product’s success. It is noteworthy that the target audience awareness becomes the most important stage of this product’s positioning activities. It is vital to make sure that potential customers understand the value of the product, in particular, that it can be used as a tool to simplify one’s life and make the process of food purchase full of fun. Amazon can maintain its leading position due to its resources and the well-established brand. In other words, the product has a strong potential to remain successful among other voice assistance devices.
Amazon Dash Wand With Alexa. (2017).
Babin, B. J., & Zikmund, W. G. (2015). Exploring marketing research. New York, NY: Cengage Learning.
Hook, L. (2015). Amazon makes a Dash to take lead in the internet of things.