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EDITORIAL When will Amazon be a verb?

By Paul Skeldon October 1, 2018 - 12:10 am

News that Amazon is consumers’ favourite brand isn’t just a boon for the marketplace, but a watershed moment for retail – and many other industries in the digital economy.

While as many as a third of people claim no loyalty – also possibly an ‘Amazon effect’ – those that do say they have favourite brands are picking as the top dog a marketplace.

This is a proper wake-up call for retailers and brands: people increasingly don’t get swayed by brand marketing and where they are being swayed, it is by convenience and other factors, one could conduce.

This is a problem for retailers and brands. Many need Amazon to sell their goods – because that is where the shoppers increasingly are – but the one saving grace they have clung to when doing so has been in trying to have a ‘branded store’ presence there on.

Seems they needn’t bother – shoppers aren’t that swayed by who is selling them stuff, more that they are getting what they want.

As the DMA study that uncovered this cultural shift points out, it is about adding value to consumers that really counts and what they really now buy into. Lifestyle isn’t the key. Aspiration is breathing its last. Service is what wins the day.

And love it or hate it, Amazon is spot on with service, as far as its customers are concerned.

This Amazon effect also extends beyond the confines of retail. Now it features across several sectors as the preferred brand – first among retail brands, second among media and entertainment, fourth for technology companies.

This too is significant. When one considers ‘brand’, brands that can transcend a specific category are generally the Uber-brands that really do clean up.

Look at Apple. Is it a computer company? Is it a phone company? Is it an apps store? Is it a payments company? It is all these things and more. And look how entrenched it is in modern culture?

Amazon is seemingly on a similar trajectory, pushing into many facets of life and, with that ubiquity, comes trust, loyalty and ultimately it just becomes the default.

Look at Google and search: I bet in the past hour you have said out loud or at least thought “I’ll Google that” – so prevalent as a search engine has it become that it is now a verb.

Amazon would love to be a verb. It wants you ‘ to Amazon’ that new sweater. It also wants you ‘to Amazon’ that new TV show. It also wants ‘to Amazon’ to be a verb that you say, to a device, to get what you want.

And, judging by this lastest survey, it is well on its way to getting its wish.

  • james
    2 weeks ago

    amazon will never be a verb for a few reasons.

    1. the word itself simply doesn’t lend itself to being a verb. it doesnt roll off the tongue as catchy-sounding as you would want from a new verb.
    2. the word isn’t exclusive to the company, Amazon. they borrowed their name from another well-known Amazon.
    3. as you point out, amazon do several different things, “to amazon” could be to do any number of different things, “to google” just means to search online (yes google do other things too, but not as famously, and was verbed before branching out so widely).

    so using amazon as a verb would simply cause confusion and make you look like a twat in normal conversation.
    were someone to casually drop that line into a conversation with me today, i would envisage them attacking someone in the fashion of an ancient female warrior tribe, probably not what they meant when referencing their online shopping.

    Hoover works as a verb, Dyson doesn’t. Dyson just gets on with making vacuum cleaners rather than trying to fit his surname into common parlance.

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