Maybe Amazon Can Help Save The World?

Amazon is known for a number of amazing innovations, but at the top of the list are clearly two ideas that separate the company from the rest of the pack.  The first is the patent on one-click buying, and the other is Prime Day.

Prime Day is a fictitious holiday clearly created by an ecommerce company to get you and I and everyone else to separate ourselves from our hard-earned money solely for the purpose of purchasing “stuff.”  

The idea of a commerce-created holiday is not new.  The list is long and includes such hallmarks (pun intended) as Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and any other number of holidays created to sell specific products like cards, candy and flowers.  

Yet Prime Day is special.  There is no mask hiding its ulterior motive.  There is no pretend benefit.  This is simply a big commerce company convincing you to spend your money on products you probably didn’t need — but when they are heavily discounted, you decide clearly must have them.



Last year, Amazon said it sold over 100 million products and had more Prime sign-ups than on any other day in history.  If you’re paying attention, that means Amazon converted millions of people to subscribe to the opportunity to buy heavily discounted items.  That not only drives a healthy pop-in sales, but it also creates recurring revenue for Amazon.   That’s analogous to Walmart charging a cover charge for every time you enter the store.  Clearly it’s a brilliant concept.

It’s amazing to me that there is so much pent-up demand for spending money.  The cynic in all of us will certainly say it’s a sign of the materialistic nature of today’s environment — and it would be right.

The truth is, Amazon simply understands that fact and has harnessed its power for the company’s benefit.  

You might read this sentence and think I’m condemning Amazon.  I’m not.  I’m in awe of how well — and how clearly — it understands the motivations of today’s consumer.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Amazon eventually puts together a recycling center for the refurbishment and resale of the items you purchase on its site, or the pure recycling of the products that get thrown out, thereby having a more positive impact on the environment.

Amazon does understand its audience, and is in a unique position to shape the views of the national (and international) consumer.  I would hope Amazon takes a position of leadership in areas like sustainability and recycling to shape the future more positively.

Overall, I think media companies have a responsibility to lead, especially in the arena of positively affecting climate change and helping repair the environment. Print publishers (for the most part) have done so by doing things like printing on recycled paper.  Now it’s time for commerce and internet companies to do the same.

Amazon execs: If you’re reading this: please feel free to reach out.  I want to hear your story for the future and would love to help spread the word.  As a columnist, I can help influence people (maybe even you).  Let’s all work together and be brilliant for the future together.

2 comments about "Maybe Amazon Can Help Save The World?".
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  1. Stewart Wills from, July 3, 2019 at 2:39 p.m.

    Cory – interesting analysis. Unfortunately it ignores the amazing externalities and environmental problems that Amazon and the Prime model in particular are themselves responsible for.

    While recycling centers might make us feel good, fundamentally it is *consumption* that lies at the root of many environmental problems, and here the Amazon model is making things immeasurably worse. Prime in particular boosts small-volume shipments, leading to increases in air, auto and truck traffic (and associated pollution and congestion), increased waste, and just generally more stuff as the convenience lures people to buy things that they may not need. The company’s plans to start clogging up the sky to deliver things via drones can be expected to carry other externalities we can’t guess at.

    These effects aren’t small. You might be interested in this analysis that appeared last year (and that refers to “Prime Day” in particular):

    Further, while one might argue that cardboard boxes (for example) are recyclable, the collapse of recycling markets since China stopped accepting waste from other countries (early in 2018) shows that this is no solution. Recycling, indeed, has been vastly oversold as an environmental solution:

    It’s very common for people to focus on solutions like recycling, which do not have a large cost in convenience and make us feel good. But if Amazon were interested in doing something meaningful for climate change, it would rethink the Prime model and its impacts, not set up recycling centers.

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, July 3, 2019 at 2:43 p.m.

    Indentured servitude includes paying their workers unlivable wages in credits they can only spend in company stores. Amazon is paying their employees in part with debit cards that can on Amazon with the minimal of wages in hot warehouses. Amazon wants to take over you medical needs and maybe housing needs soon which will help round out indenturism. When Bozos dies, will someone worse take over ? Pevention is worth a pound of cure. People already sell themselves for a fifty cent coupon.

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