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E-books, music... and diapers?

Kimberly-Clark-brand Huggies diapers sit in a shopping cart

TEXT OF STORY

Kai Ryssdal: As long as we're on technology of a sort, let's take a turn to retail. It wasn't so long ago that Amazon.com was just a really big bookstore on the web. Then came the gadgets and the toys, the shoes and the jewelry. Today, the online retail colossus announced it's going to pay half a billion dollars -- $500 million -- for the parent company of Diapers.com. Yes, diapers. So what next, toothpaste next, maybe? Actually, it could be.

Marketplace's Jennifer Collins reports that for Amazon the distance between diapers and books really isn't all that far.


Jennifer Collins: Gabrielle Blair has six kids. Her house in Denver is just a few minutes from the nearest store. But in that store, her little bundles of joy become major battles.

Garbielle Blair: You have to fight with them at the check out about "no, don't touch the candy bars, don't touch the gum. No, we're not getting the Buzz Lightyear shoes." You know, that whole scene. So if you can just take care of it online and its done, it's so helpful.

Blair buys diapers online as often as she can. And she's not alone. The online market for household products has more than doubled in the last decade. And Amazon is hoping to expand its grasp on that market with its purchase of Quidsi -- a company that's made a name for itself selling diapers and every day products -- with cheap shipping.

Diapers.com ad: At Diapers.com, we deliver everything but the baby. Get free shipping in two days or less.

Amazon is hoping Quidsi's Diapers.com and sister site Soap.com will keep you buying regular household items regularly. And of course, the company tracks your clicking habits.

Roger Kay is with Endpoint Technologies.

Roger Kay: For Amazon, perhaps the most valuable part of it is the information it gets about consumers' buying behavior. It knows about these specific types of consumers, mothers of newborn infants at a moment in their lives when they're likely to buy a lot of merchandise.

Kay says Amazon can use that data to figure out the best way to get parents to buy more stuff now, and in the future, when those bundles of joy are getting ready to start kindergarten.

I'm Jennifer Collins for Marketplace.

About the author

Jennifer Collins is a reporter for the Marketplace portfolio of programs. She is based in Los Angeles, where she covers media, retail, the entertainment industry and the West Coast.
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