Online Shopping for Environmental Products

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There was been a great deal written about the growth of environmentally-friendly and organic products. Consumers are becoming more environmentally-aware and are concerned with the impact on their health as well as the Earth. Companies are responding to these needs by disclosing information about their sustainability programs, product ingredients, and carbon footprints. And, jumping feet-first into the environmental market for consumers who want to buy green products is Amazon’s recent entry via its new Web site – www.vine.com.

Vine represents another targeted foray for Amazon as the company continues to expand into specific market segments. The company bought Quidsi several years ago to run Web sites focused on separate target markets including Diapers.com for baby items, Wag.com for pets, YoYo.com for toys, Soap.com for household cleaning products, Casa.com for home products, and more. (To help shoppers quickly view and relate these specific topics, viewing one of the sites brings up a top-level tab for the sister sites.)

Vine sells products ranging from cleaning supplies, beauty products, clothing, baby products, groceries, pet supplies, and more. In order for products to be included on Vine, they must fit into one of these categories: remove toxins, energy-efficient, natural, organic, renewable energy, reusable, made of sustainable materials, or water-efficient. Vine also has sections of the site stocked with fair-trade products that are made within 100 miles of the consumer’s home.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Bring up the site – www.vine.com. Note the listings at top of site for the sister sites owned by Amazon.
  2. Also bring up Amazon’s primary Web site and scroll to the bottom of the page. Note the various other sites such as fabric, audible, MyHabit, and more.
  3. Discuss how Amazon is expanding from its primary one-size-fits-all site (www.amazon.com) into sites targeted at specific markets.
  4. What are the synergies for Amazon? What are the concerns and risks?

Source:  New York Times, 9/26/12

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