Since its founding in 1994, Amazon has scaled up from an online bookstore to the largest Internet-based retailer . Amazon’s tremendous rise was achieved not only due to its innovative sales and commerce strategies, but also to the outstanding vision of Mr Jeff Bezos, the company’s founder, president, and CEO.
Amazon.com started as an online bookstore , later diversified to sell CD , DVD, video games, apparel, consumer electronics, cloud infrastructure services ,beauty products , Kindle e- book readers ,furniture, food, toys and jewelry etc
Jeff Bezos selected the name Amazon to produce a large scale phenomenon in the industry like the Amazon river . Employing a multi-level e-commerce strategy , Amazon first started off by focusing on Business to Consumer relationships between itself and its customers, and than graduated to Business to Business relationships between itself and its suppliers and then moved to incorporate Customer to Business transactions as it realized the value of customer reviews as part of the product descriptions .
Strategy / Approach
Their strategy was to relentlessly focus on customer experience by offering them low prices, convenience, and a wide selection of merchandise. In the first two months of business, Amazon sold to 50 states in USA and over 45 countries. Within two months, Amazon’s sales were up to $20,000/week. While the largest brick and mortar bookstores and catalogs offer approximately 200,000 titles, an online bookstore could maintain several times more, since it had an almost unlimited virtual warehouse . Besides Amazon.com also operates retail websites for other MNC’s like Sears, Bebe, Marks & spencer, Mothercare, and Lacoste and is in partnership with DC comics for exclusive digital rights , also owns other e-commerce sites like Shopbop.com ,Woot.com, and Zappos.com
In 2012, Amazon announced the launch of Vine.com for buying green products, including groceries, household items, and apparels .In 2013, Amazon launched its site in India, amazon.in. which began with electronic goods and further into fashion apparel, beauty, home essentials, and healthcare categories. In 2014, Amazon sold 63% of all books bought online and 40% of all books sold overall. In 2014 Amazon announced Prime Music, a service whose members can get unlimited, ad-free streaming of over a million songs and access to curated playlists. Later added Prime Photos, which allows unlimited photo storage in the users’ Amazon cloud drive. In March 2015, Amazon expanded their service as a paid offering to cover other kinds of content, and to users outside of its loyalty program.
Key features of their websites include editorial and customer reviews , product information , Web pages tailored to individual preferences, recommendations and notifications , 1-Click technology; secure payment systems; image uploads, ability to view selected pages and citations, and search the entire contents of many of the books .Free shipping offers are used to encourage increase in basket size since customers have to spend over a certain amount to receive free shipping . Amazon have created their own internal experimentation platform called “Weblab” that they use to evaluate improvements to our websites and products. In 2013, they ran 1,976 Weblabs worldwide, up from 1,092 in 2012, and 546 in 2011. One recent example of how these are applied is a new feature called “Ask an owner”. From a product page, customers can ask any question related to the product, Amazon then route these questions to owners of the product who answer the same Few e-commerce sellers use Amazon to sell their products in addition to selling them through their own websites. Amazon Fulfillment centers also provide warehousing and order-fulfillment for third-party sellers for an extra fee
Amazon’s initial business objective was to establish a market base and not to expect to make a profit for four to five years. When the unfortunate dot com bubble burst at the start of the 21st century, it destroyed many e-companies in the process, Amazon survived, and grew on past the bubble burst to become a huge player in online sales. It finally turned its first profit in the fourth quarter of 2001 . Within 8 years of inception , Amazon passed the $5 billion sales mark which took Wal-Mart 20 years to achieve this. By 2008 Amazon was a global brand with other 76 million active customer accounts and order fulfillment to more than 200 countries . Amazon today has a commendable market capitalization of over $247 billion
Amazon initially had big problems with fulfilling orders properly because it did not own most of the warehouses from which it shipped the products people ordered online. So over many years, Amazon started investing billions of dollars in warehouses and systems to boost the quality and efficiency of its order fulfillment process. They directed customers to the website primarily through a number of targeted online marketing channels, such as sponsored search, portal advertising, email marketing campaigns, paid search marketing, interactive ads on portals, e-mail campaigns and search engine optimization and other initiatives including outdoor and TV advertising
Amazon’s success can truly be attributed to Jeff Bezos’ vision and four pillars of success namely : Customer Centric approach ,Continuous diversification , Innovative strategies and Corporate Agility .
Image Credits: amazon.in