Prediction 1: Amazon will start charging sales tax. More states are following suit in the bid to make Amazon charge sales tax, leveling the playing field for retail stores. California, Texas, and Pennsylvania are among the states to do so recently. Congress is considering passing “The Marketplace Equity Act,” which would require all online retailers with more than $1 million in annual sales to collect sales tax. As the tables turn on Amazon and their advantage of not charging customers sales tax fades, what will they do? They will offer same-day shipping.
Prediction 2: Amazon will introduce same-day delivery for auto parts. Amazon has been shifting its strategy to better compete with other online retailers, as well as local retail stores. With new warehouses opening across the country, Amazon aims to provide faster delivery to its customers, and will be providing same-day delivery.
If Amazon is able to pull of same-day shipping for auto parts, it will change the way we shop completely. All competitors will have to shift their strategy to keep customers from going to Amazon. Customer service efforts will have to be drastically heightened, better deals will have to be offered and availability will have to best Amazon’s. One thing that will help level the playing field for local retailers will be that Amazon will have to charge sales tax with this new initiative.
Prediction 3: Amazon will become more independent. Google Shopping switches to a paid listing model as of October 17 and Amazon so far is refusing to join. People searching on the largest search engine won’t find Amazon in the results as they look to compare prices for various products; however, Amazon does still appear to be buying ads in regular web searches. Amazon knows a significant amount of consumers start their shopping search on Amazon, not Google. A Forrester report shows 30% of all online shoppers start their product search at Amazon.com but automotive parts shoppers will need to see more products along with better search results for that trend to continue.
Tune in tomorrow for Trend 25: Retail Auto Parts Sales Outlook for 2012.