What type of initiatives could Amazon explore to grow?
Amazon is a fascinating company; it seems to want to invest in everything.
I have thought often about areas in which it can invest.
I will suggest some here. Maybe some of this is already happening or in development behind the scenes. Probably not on some of them, though, as you will see.
See what you think...
1. Amazon as a brokerage
I mentioned this once to someone and was told that it might be very difficult to impossible to get regulatory approval on it. Don't know if that is true or not, but it could be. Anyway, imagine you could buy and sell stocks on Amazon's great, user-friendly, familiar platform. However, maybe it could only be for Prime members since Amazon really couldn't charge any commissions in this environment, and the company probably doesn't want to get into this line of business for free.
There could be other synergies too. Imagine: You're a seller on Amazon. You rake in some profits. You then take those profits and buy some stocks. You trade out at a profit. Then, you buy stuff on Amazon with your new money. The proximity between a seller's profits and Amazon's sales platform would seem to create a nice ecosystem of value for the company. At least, maybe, and in my mind. And besides stocks, what if one could invest in startups? Amazon should look into this...
Amazon should get into the Kickstarter-type business model. Would seem to be reasonable. And the next idea is a branch-off of this...
3. Crowd-fund original content on Amazon's video service
What if Amazon made movies and series that were crowd-funded by its own members? Let's consider a thought experiment.
Amazon isn't sure whether or not it should make another season of Ms. Maisel. Maybe viewership has declined and the economics no longer work. Amazon could ask for contributions from fans/members. If you contribute a certain amount, maybe you get a free three-month extension of Prime as a reward. Stuff like that.
Amazon could also gauge popularity of ideas by putting up a synopsis of a proposed series by a star, say Chris Pratt or M. Night Shyamalan. Amazon could say, contribute to these series and see which one gets the most money and use the data to alter the business model of the series (e.g., make fewer-than-planned episodes, reduce the budget, etc.).
And another branch-off:
4. Allow people to invest in content
I don't know how far along this is in terms of legality (I believe there have been proposals), but Amazon could ask people to take a risk and invest in content via crowd-funding. Let's say Amazon wants to make a movie for theaters and needs $5 million for a lower-budget production. Sell shares/units in the film. If it makes a profit, great, distribute the surplus as a dividend; if not, you took the risk.
5. Allow people to buy hot items but then leave them at Amazon and resell them
Maybe this is already a thing (if so, please let me know in comments).
Suppose Nintendo releases another classic console as it did in the past, this time for the Nintendo 64. A small console with thirty built-in games. Someone buys it on Amazon, one of those shipped-by-Amazon deals. But, the buyer does not take delivery. She leaves it at Amazon's warehouse then lists the item to sell higher to someone else.
This is obviously a game of speculation and might run into legal challenges, perhaps. Still: although I do not know much about Amazon selling, I assume if you list something for sale and store it at Amazon itself you have to pay fees.
So, think about it: Amazon gets fees for the original listing and the fulfillment-by-Amazon option (again, I assume); then, a sale is made, and Amazon gets a cut; then, someone starts the process over. For a speculative item that increases in price, I assume this would make a lot of money given that the friction has been reduced (i.e., you are not forced to take delivery). Again...does this already exist?
Amazon's platform would be great for betting. Amazon could allow bets on all kinds of things...sports, Oscar awards, movie box-office results, and so on. It could also create its own casino.
7. Production of a person's screenplay
This would be something for the wealthy population, maybe even just the upper 3%/2%/1%/whatever.
Imagine someone writes a short screenplay, say twenty/thirty pages. You send it to Amazon along with a check for $30,000 (make up your own number under your own model; mine says Amazon uses half to make it and keeps the other half, with the assumption being it has developed a very cheap process of production).
The film is made, and it is available for people to see on Prime video (so long as it is at least a decent idea) as well as a Free-Vee channel (which is owned by Amazon) which shows this type of user-generated content and is, of course, advertising-supported; Amazon gives a cut of the advertising to the screenwriter. The person can also sell the film on Amazon as a digital download or a physical (printed-on-demand) copy, but Amazon must receive a percentage of sales since it made the movie.
Here's what I think the advantage is: hobbyist screenwriters who have the financial means can promote themselves with such content, and Amazon can perhaps make some good incremental revenue/profit via a cheaply-positioned production process that uses digital techniques and a repertory of actors/directors/producers straight out of film programs. Also, it would simply be a unique service to offer. And I would assume many friends and social-media followers would support the films (i.e., a built-in audience).