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How Prime has helped make Amazon into everyone's competitor

I find it hard to believe that Amazon's growing power will not create negative side effects for consumers. The purpose of "locking in" is to enable exploitation. First, the competitors are eliminated, then the customers are trapped. Government regulation is a normal, but not inevitable, response. 

Hacker Noon: A Map of Amazon and Modern Marketing, 2018-Sep-11 by David J. Carr

Perceptual Competition changes customer expectations. It means you set the bar regardless of whether your product or service competes in the category in question. Building on great customer experience it creates a meaningful and distinctive brand with cultural relevance, esteem and saliency. Occasionally it can involve the odd Super Bowl ad. The result is greater mental availability for your brand, driven by broad reach, emotions and associations — effectiveness not just efficiency. 

Amazon’s position as a dominant Perceptual Competitor is reflected in its $1,000,000,000,000 market value and a brand value of $207.6 billion. It is a result of selling not just low priced products with excellent customer service, but “the thing it has always sold the most — to investors, customers, the media — excitement.” Perceptual Competition means competing on brand experience rather than CX, and Touchpoints ROI Tracker studies show that this is increasingly a better indicator of market share success than spend or share of voice.... 

Prime’s ability to funnel new ideas to loyal customers drives growth and innovation.... By combining an aura of innovation and novelty with a simple subscription Amazon can generate more customer, investor and media excitement than a Costco membership.... The Whole Foods takeover offers Prime members better prices, more omnichannel opportunities to buy and pick-up, a stronger health assortment and a last mile delivery boost. It also offers non-Prime customers a very prominent real-world demonstration of what they are missing.... 

Ultimately the forces of experiential and perceptual competition that Amazon has unleashed on marketing and its value chain have helped create an “expectation economy” that brands and businesses must navigate to survive.