Why Amazon wants to sell vacuum cleaners

It was recently announced that Amazon.com would acquire iRobot, the maker of the Roomba vacuum cleaner. There are still a few “hoops” to jump through, such as shareholder and regulatory approvals, but the deal looks promising. So why does Amazon want to get into the vacuum business?

This is not the case !

At least not for the purpose of simply selling vacuum cleaners. What it wants to do is integrate more into the daily lives of its customers, and Amazon has done a great job of doing that. There are over 200 million Amazon Prime members, and 157.4 million of them are in the United States. According to an article by USA today, written by David Chang of the Motley Fool, Amazon Prime members spend an average of $1,400 per year. Non-Amazon Prime members spend around $600 per year.

Want more numbers? According to a 2022 Feedvisor According to a survey of more than 2,000 US consumers, 56% visit Amazon daily or at least a few times a week, up from 47% in 2019. But visiting isn’t enough. Forty-seven percent of consumers make a purchase on Amazon at least once a week. Eight percent make purchases almost every day.

Amazon has become an important part of our lives. And does a vacuum cleaner company do that? Not really, unless it’s iRobot’s vacuum cleaner. A little history on iRobot might shed some light on why Amazon is interested in this acquisition.

iRobot was founded in 1990 by three members of MIT’s Artificial Intelligence Lab. Originally, their robots were used for space exploration and military defense. About ten years later, they entered the world of consumption with Roomba vacuum cleaners. In 2016, they spun off from the defense business and focused on consumer products.

The iRobot Roomba is a smart vacuum that cleans while the customer is away. The robotic vacuum cleaner moves around the house, bypassing obstacles such as sofas, chairs, tables, etc. Over time, the Roomba, which has a computer with memory powered by AI (artificial intelligence), gets to know your home. And that means Amazon has the ability to learn about your home.

It’s not that different from how Alexa, Amazon’s smart device, learns customers’ wants and needs. Just as Alexa remembers birthdays, shopping habits, favorite toppings on pizza, when to take medicine, what time to wake up and more, the “smart vacuum” learns about a person’s home. customer. It’s a natural extension of the capabilities found in Alexa, giving Amazon the ability to deliver better and more relevant services to its customers.

For this to work, Amazon will have access to customers’ homes. No doubt some customers may be uncomfortable with Amazon having this kind of information, but let’s look at it realistically. If you are (or have been) one of Amazon’s hundreds of millions of customers, Amazon already has a lot of information about you. And if privacy is an issue, there will certainly be regulations that Amazon will have to comply with. They already understand their customers almost better than anyone. It’s just a small addition to what they already know and provides a greater ability to deliver a very personalized experience.

And that’s exactly what Amazon plans to do. Just as it has integrated Alexa, Ring and eero Wi-Fi routers, the Roomba will join Amazon’s suite of connected features that makes life easier and more convenient for its customers.

If you take a look at how Amazon grew from selling books to virtually everything else in the retail world, and you recognize its strategy to become part of the fabric of its customers’ lives , you’ll see why vacuum cleaners, especially those from iRobot machines, make sense.

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