Amazon has just launched a new “automotive community” called Amazon Vehicles, which aims to provide an all-in-one research platform for people looking to purchase a new car, parts or accessories. It will allow customers to make an informed buying decision by offering specifications, key features, videos, community reviews, and images for thousands of different car models and parts.
According to Adam Goetsch, Director of Automotive at Amazon, Amazon’s goal “is to support customers during one of the most important, research-intensive purchases in their lives by helping them make informed decisions every step of the way.”
This is a big move for Amazon and provides a way for them to expand their grasp into the huge multi-billion dollar auto industry. Although they aren’t selling cars directly (yet), they still have much to gain by offering this new platform to their customers.
Let’s take a look at a few of the possible reasons behind this decision by Amazon.
What’s in it for Amazon?
As of right now, Amazon’s main focus is help people make informed buying decisions when it comes to buying a car, not to sell the cars. Instead, they are trying to build a large and active community around the automobile market which will allow them to monetize this audience a few years down the road.
Below you can see what individual cars look like on Amazon. As you can, very similar to any other product on Amazon, however, one the difference? There’s no buy button.
The monetization methods they choose could be unlimited, but one thing is certain, it will be a lot easier to monetize an audience once it has been built up into an active and thriving community. This looks to be Amazon’s main goal with the new platform.
Although that may be their focus, there are still other angles which Amazon could benefit from as well.
Expansion of Amazon Automotive Store and Amazon Garage
Amazon has already dipped their toes in this market with their Automotive Store, which currently boasts millions of different parts and accessories that you can purchase for your car. However, at this point the automobile market isn’t something Amazon has actively pursued. This looks like it could be changing and Amazon could be bringing it to the forefront for their everyday users.
They also currently offer a little-known feature called Amazon Garage. With Amazon Garage, you input the make, model and year of your current vehicle and Amazon will display car parts and accessories that are compatible with your vehicle.
Although Amazon Garage hasn’t been well advertised or marketed by Amazon yet, you can expect this to change with the Amazon Vehicles. It looks like Amazon Garage will be pushed hard and could be an integral part to their new platform.
Create an Active Community and Become a Car Authority
One of the focal points of Amazon Vehicles is to create an active and thriving community of car enthusiasts. In doing so, Amazon will become the go-to resource when it comes to car research.
They hope to accomplish this by creating a community that leaves reviews and responds to all questions regarding the product, or vehicle. As their database of reviews, questions and answers grows, the more useful the platform will become as a whole. Look for Amazon to push this heavy at the beginning to get the ball rolling and try to offer as much value as possible from the get-go.
You can see an example what the review section looks like for a vehicle on Amazon:
As you can see, it’s very similar to any other review section on Amazon. However, what’s unique about this is that we haven’t traditionally associated vehicles with a rating of 1-5. This could be a new way that car shoppers use to gauge the quality of a car before making a purchase. The customer reviews on Amazon could be a major focus point for automobile makers in the future.
Amazon also looks to be gunning to take market share from similar car reviews sites such as AutoTrader, Cars.com and TrueCar. To get an idea of how large this market is, take a look at the monthly search traffic from these websites:
AutoTrader Monthly Traffic
Cars.com Monthly Traffic
TrueCar Monthly Traffic
As you can see, there are a lot of potential new customers here for Amazon to gobble up and Amazon Vehicles looks like their stab at this. With Amazon’s overall authority online and their canny marketing abilities, it should be fairly easy for them to get a chunk of this market. Give Amazon a few years and they could easily outpace the aforementioned sites and become the authority within the space.
If they are successful, it could prove to become a new channel of traffic and customers which they have yet to fully tap into at this point.
Is this Amazon’s Move into Autonomous Cars?
We are inching closer and closer to the day where our cars will drive themselves, and this could Amazon’s attempt at becoming a competitor within this huge market. By 2025, the autonomous vehicle market will be a $42 billion market, according to BCG. It looks like Amazon wants a piece of that pie!
If they are successful in building a large community around the car market, they could have a wide reach when it comes to promoting their own vehicles down the road. Not to mention, all of the data that they would have been able to collect on you and your car will make creating the perfect autonomous car much easier to accomplish.
This is a long-term play and could be something that Amazon is eyeing for the future. This is perhaps Amazon’s next big move if the cards play in their favor.
What Does this All Mean?
No matter what direction they take Amazon Vehicles, one thing is certain – Amazon is trying very hard to become the one-stop shop for everything. The automobile niche is one where Amazon hasn’t had a ton of success so far, but this looks like it could be changing. If they can get a foothold within this market, it could prove to be very profitable both in the short and long term.
How Can this be Capitalized on by Entrepreneurs?
As an entrepreneur, you are always looking for new opportunities where you can offer value and make money. Amazon Vehicles could be that opportunity for you.
Let’s take a look at a couple of ways that you can capitalize on this new opportunity that Amazon Vehicles has opened up.
Amazon Vehicles and Affiliate Sites
Affiliates for Amazon’s Associates Program have had success in just about every niche and product possible. However, the automotive niche is one that is yet to be tapped for its full potential. This has been mainly due to people not fully trusting Amazon, and online shopping as a whole, when it comes to making purchases for their car.
This looks like it could be changing and this is where the opportunity presents itself. As more and more become comfortable ordering car parts and accessories online, this could open up a whole new avenue for Amazon Affiliates to take advantage of.
This is good news for all of the car bloggers out there as this will allow for a new revenue stream that wasn’t previously lucrative due the above mentioned problems with ordering car parts and accessories online.
Now, it will be a lot easier to make sales because people will be more comfortable making purchases through Amazon due to Amazon Vehicles and the resurgence of Amazon Garage, which will make purchasing the correct parts for your car a breeze.
Even if you don’t currently have a site within the car niche, now’s the time to go out and make one. For example, if you are knowledgeable about exhaust pipes or brake pads then creating a review site surround those parts could be worth your time now. The demand for buying these types of car parts online will only increase as people become more familiar Amazon Vehicles and their Automotive Store.
New Amazon FBA Channels with Amazon Vehicles
Car accessories and parts haven’t had the same type of demand as other products on Amazon and wouldn’t have previously made sense to create a FBA brand surrounding this niche.
This could be changing.
Continuing with the common theme of people becoming more comfortable buying car parts online, this could be a great niche to get into as an FBA seller. Whether you already own a brick and mortar auto parts store and have thousands of parts you can sell online, or if you are looking to create a brand from scratch, Amazon FBA is now a real possibility for you.
If you are starting from scratch, Amazon FBA could provide you with launching pad that could help you gain recognition within the automotive industry. For example, if you are starting a new company that focuses in creating top-of-the-line brake pads, then Amazon FBA could be what you need to kick start your business. Having success and gaining a solid reputation for creating high quality products on Amazon is a great way to eventually get your brand, and products, into national automotive retail stores such as AutoZone or Advanced Auto Parts.
This wouldn’t have been possible in the past due to the low demand for buying car parts online, but this may not be the case in the very near future.
It’s worth noting that selling automotive parts on Amazon is a category which requires approval before you are allowed to sell.
What does the future hold?
As of right now, Amazon Vehicles is simply a brand new way for people to read car reviews and make informed buying decisions with the help of the community. However, this has the potential to be the start of something huge for both Amazon, and entrepreneurs within the automobile space.
Five years from now we could look back at the creation of Amazon Vehicles and realize it was the start of Amazon’s entry into the multi-billion-dollar market that is autonomous driving. Or it could be Amazon’s attempt at capturing market share away from other car review sites and getting as many buyers to their site as possible, regardless of the market.
It will be interesting to see how Amazon plays their cards and to watch how this all unfolds. Just remember, with every new change comes opportunity. Take advantage of it.