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This Week In Amazon: Bedtime For Bezos, Christmas Comes Early

Amazon is going to the mattresses.

Bedtime For Bezos

Amazon is going to the mattresses. Less than two weeks after entering the major appliance business with its first private-label microwave oven, the king of e-tail is looking to cash in on the mattress-in-a-box craze with an AmazonBasics-branded memory foam model.

The product features three foam layers that provide an 8-, 10- or 12-inch profile, and uber-competitive price points that range from $130 for the 8-inch-thick twin to $350 for the foot-high king. The launch has likely sent shockwaves throughout the independent dealer community, which has found salvation from sinking CE margins in the warm embrace of bedding.

See the full story at This Just In.

Christmas Comes Early For Hourly Workers

Amazon has put its money where its critics’ mouths are. Amid reports of poor working conditions in warehouses and less than livable wages for the employees that run them, the company is raising its minimum hourly wage to $15 effective Nov. 1. The increase will affect more than 250,000 full- and part-time U.S. workers, plus an expected 100,000 seasonal employees.

CEO Jeff Bezos acknowledged the heat he’s taken over the issue, which included a very public feud with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who accused the company of passing the buck to government assistance programs. “We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead,” Bezos said, while also encouraging Congress and other retailers to follow suit.

See the full story at Amazon.

Big Data? Big Deal

One would think that with his two-decades-deep treasure trove of customer data, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos would eagerly play the numbers when it comes to making big decisions. And while that’s certainly an important part of the process, the company’s founder seems to place even greater faith in his inner voice.

“All of my best decisions … have been made with heart, intuition, guts … not analysis,” he told The Economic Club of Washington last month. “When you can make a decision with analysis, you should do so. But it turns out in life that your most important decisions are always made with instincts, intuition, taste [and] heart.” The same approach apparently informs his life decisions as well. “I live my life in such a way,” he told the crowd, “that when I look back on my life I have as few regrets as possible.”

See the full story at The Motley Fool.

More In Store For Amazon

Amazon continues to blur the lines between e-tailer and retailer. Once a diehard brick-and-mortar abolitionist, the company has since built distribution centers in nearly every state; bought a national supermarket chain; and is opening book- and convenience stores at an alarming pace.

The latest variation on the multichannel theme cropped up in Manhattan last month, where the e-commerce king opened Amazon 4-star, a physical showroom in SoHo that sells products rated 4 stars or higher on the site. The ultimate mix of online and in-store, the showroom features popular tech, toys, books, games and kitchen fare, all tagged at both list and Prime price points. Who said retail’s dead?

See the full story at TWICE.

Alexa Takes Some Time For Herself

Even digital assistants need some downtime. That’s what seemly happened in Europe last week, where widespread Alexa outages were reported in the U.K. and parts of the Continent.

Beginning at 8:00 a.m. local time, commands from Echo owners were answered with the dreaded red ring, followed by the apology “Sorry, I’m having trouble understanding right now. Please try again later.” Other Alexa-imbued devices didn’t work at all, forcing consumer to — OMG! — turn on their lights by hand and check the time by looking at a clock. But not to worry, Alexa returned to duty by 2 that afternoon, presumably after a reported AWS server issue was corrected in Ireland, and all was right again with the digital world.

See the full story at Engadget.

Rebel Without A Pause

Persistence bordering on annoyance are apparently qualities that Amazon seeks in its workers. In a live chat with Gen. John Raymond, commander of the Air Force Space Command, CEO Jeff Bezos said it values employees who don’t take no for an answer.

Their willingness to challenge the status quo and overcome resistance to new ideas has led to innovations that would not otherwise have seen the light of day, Bezos said. However, these pioneers and mavericks “are not always the easiest people to get along with,” he conceded. “But you want them at your organization.”

See the full story at CNBC.

Amazon Quote Of The Week

“You also have to be organized. You can’t just be a crazy person.” — Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on seeking non-conformist staffers