business news in context, analysis with attitude

TechCrunch reports that Amazon is innovating in the "affordable shopping" space, launching a consumer hub called Amazon Access, designed to allow shoppers "to explore the programs, discounts and features" that will help them find more economical options.

According to the story, "The new Amazon Access hub gives customers access to information on options like payment with SNAP EBT and Amazon Layaway, which lets users reserve selected items for 20% of the total cost and pay the rest over time. The hub also lets customers clip coupons and find deals on everyday essentials. It also includes information about paying with Amazon Cash, which lets you shop on the marketplace without a debit or credit card.

"In addition to surfacing information about Amazon’s affordable shopping options, the hub will also display accessibility options. Customers will see an option to change their shopping language, learn about accessibility features and contact accessibility customer support."

Amazon has renamed its discount Prime membership program Prime Access; it "gives eligible customers access to a Prime membership for just $6.99 per month, which is normally priced at $14.99 per month. The membership option is available for EBT and select government assistance recipients. Amazon says the launch of the new name will make more users aware of the affordable option."

KC's View:

I don't know if this is political posturing - after all, as Amazon faces regulatory and legislative questions about its business model, being able to point to a program like this has the advantage of effectively sanding off some of the company's hard edges.

Also … Amazon's goal is to be intertwined inextricably in every part of our lives … not just the lives of people with lots of money.  Which means offering a variety of products and services than can appeal to different folks at different economic levels.