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They say never try and out Amazon Amazon. This might be an exception to that rule.
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I should start by saying that this basic idea is not mine, it comes from Scott Galloway, who is a futurist for all things Amazon. Scott has predicted pretty much all Amazon moves over the last couple of years. In a podcast interview Scott shared a brilliant Amazon prediction.
His idea was that 60% of U.S. households have Amazon Prime and Prime customers don’t use any other service. Why should they? They get two-day free shipping. He felt that Amazon could actually take this to the next level where instead of going to Amazon’s website, buying a product, and having it shipped, Amazon could just send stuff to your home.
Amazon already knows a lot about us. They know exactly what I’m looking at, what I’m thinking about, adjacent products that I might be interested in. His idea was that Amazon is going to start a service where they will essentially ship out a box to customers every month. In the box, there’s going to be a random bunch of items. Amazon is going to say, “Look at what’s here. Play with it, and if you like it, keep it. Whatever you don’t like, just return it. Someones going to pick up the box next week. Your next box comes next month.”
Amazon is going to completely remove the friction from the buying process. Because they know what people want, they will send different items to each person receiving it. I think this is a totally brilliant idea.
Couldn’t USPS beat Amazon?
They already send a truck to my home every single day and deliver spam, which I don’t even care about. But they have a built-in infrastructure. I know they’re struggling right now. USPS, which is dying right now, couldn’t they turn this around and make this a winning concept and completely upend Amazon?
The U.S. Postal Service should start this product. What they do is essentially skip Amazon and go to other retailers. There are tons of retailers. Toys R Us is dead, but there are other retailers that are really, really suffering, Nordstrom is suffering, Macy’s is suffering, all these retailers are suffering. USPS can go to them and they can say,
“Hey, look. You know what?” We’re going to create a service where we will select the retailers and the brands that we like and we will send it to customers.”
Once a week, we receive a box.
Not just me, every U.S. household. Of course, it only happens to people who sign up for the service. It’s a free service and that’s the best part. Here’s how it works. Now how does the U.S. Postal Service know what products I’ll be most interested in?
The idea is they create a website called USPS My Products. You go to the website, and it’s basically a questionnaire. They ask a bunch of questions. It’s basically like a product service matchmaking service. They’ll ask me, are you a technology geek? What’s your age? What’s your education level? What do you do for a living? They can ask like 10,000 questions. From that, they can build a consumer profile. As I said, this is opt-in, so not everybody has to participate. People who are scared and freak out about this stuff don’t have to participate.
What happens is at the end of that process, they essentially build a taste profile. Then once a week, maybe once a day, they send you stuff. It’s a totally free service.
Based on your profile, you get products. What I might receive would be completely different than what YOU will receive. For example, if I’m a technology geek they might send me a new webcam. They could send me a new cellphone. If they know I’m a big runner they can send me a brand new running shoe.
Like the product? Keep it. Don’t? Send it back. They essentially make an affiliated fee. So I keep the shoes, then, of course, they charge me. They have my credit card on file. So they charge me for anything that didn’t come back in their return box. They charge me an affiliated fee. They charge me the fee and the retailer pays the affiliated fee.
How retailers benefit
This will allow companies like Best Buy to actually reduce their store even more so they are essentially transferring their cost from their physical stores to U.S. Postal Service, which is a win-win. U.S. Postal Service needs the money as well. They already have trucks going out every single day. They already have hundreds of thousands of employees. The consumers win because now the consumer has a choice. They can really play this against Amazon because there’s a lot of negative PR around Amazon. Amazon is essentially a monopoly and a lot of people don’t like that and they can be the un-Amazon, right? They can come to us and say, “We’re USPS, the alternative to Amazon.”
Anyway, the point is that this is an idea I just had and I think this is an opportunity for USPS to out Amazon Amazon. If any of you knows anyone in U.S. Postal Service, I would love to pitch this idea to them.