This week’s Amazon Prime Day clearly signals the scale and influence of Amazon’s operations – particularly with the recent news that more than two-thirds of US homes are now signed-up Prime members.

However, in contrast to traditional Christmas or Black Friday sales, Prime Day is generally recognised as a dedicated Amazon brand event. This gives the company significant leverage when it comes to promoting and incentivising its own technology initiatives. This year, for example, UK Prime members can order Amazon Echo voice assistants at 47% off, or stock up on discount Kindle E-Readers – effectively helping the company to seed the market with its own ecosystem devices.

For Amazon, though, Prime Day is about more than just devices. It’s estimated in the US that Prime customers already spend nearly twice as much annually as non-members, and that’s largely attributed to the seamless shopping experience from free delivery and one-click ordering. Even though Amazon doesn’t always offer the most competitive pricing, Prime customers keep coming back because of the sheer convenience and perceived low effort.

Amazon’s e-commerce business of course also provides a wealth of user and purchasing data that it can leverage for its other digital activities. And with UK Prime penetration currently only estimated at 1 in 5 households, we can certainly expect more Prime-style engagement initiatives over the coming months as Amazon looks to replicate its US success in Europe.

In this week’s SabioSense we features stories from Yahoo Finance, ZDNet, Gartner and VentureBeat:

  • Forrester ranks Nuance as No. 1 in Chatbots for Enterprise Customer Service – This new Forrester report describes how Nuance allows organisations to deploy multimodal chatbots across web, mobile and voice channels, and to ‘seamlessly connect those self-service tools to assisted service’.
  • Peak Disruption Storyline? – ZDNet article suggesting that while last year’s Prime Day saw retailers respond with promotions in kind, it’s going to get harder post the Whole Foods acquisition with the promise of free same-day delivery.
  • Why Chatbots are the 'apps' for voice and messaging platforms – Gartner blog highlighting four key enterprise use cases for chatbot platforms. It also looks at how they can be expanded beyond their current largely customer-facing scenarios.
  • China set to take a lead role in AI? – VentureBeat contrasts China’s massive investments in flagship AI projects with proposed US budget cuts for National Science Foundation AI development programmes. Is the US set to surrender its AI tech leadership?