Online retail pioneer Amazon has a commanding lead on rivals, and it aims to hold onto that with features such as Amazon Prime, which spurs customers to spend more, and AmazonFresh, which is part of an effort to expand fulfillment and provide consumers with even faster gratification. "If we can be smart enough -- and when I say 'smart enough,' I mean have the right technology, the right software systems, machine-learning tools -- to position inventory in all the right places, over time, your items never get on an airplane," founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said.

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