Amazon.com is named after the River, one of the largest rivers in the world, possibly as a goal to be one of the largest ecommerce stores in the world. The website started out in 1994 by Jeff Bezos as an online bookstore and within 2 months, saw sales rocketing up to $20,000 per week with markets throughout the US and overseas.
Operating on the 4 Pillars of Success: Customer Centricity, Continuous Optimization, Culture of Innovation, & Corporate Agility, I’d say their pillars are quite strong. Choosing a name that represents strength and brevity and also starts with the letter “A” for when search results were listed alphabetically like in phone books.
As a way to understand what the service desk experiences, every employee gets to work 2 days every 2 years answering calls. As a way to branch out on products, Amazon developed their own private label brands: Pike Street, Pinzon, and Strathwood. With innovation and forward-thinking at their side, let’s take a look at some of Amazon’s successes and future plans to continue world domination of ecommerce.
Kindle Over Traditional Books
As a seller of books, Amazon leapt ahead of anybody else trying to phase out paper books in 2007 and presented the world with the Kindle, an electronic tablet for reading books, magazines, newspapers, etc. Seen as a way to be environmentally friendly through instant downloads, convenient and instant access, and a movement towards owning less stuff, the Kindle resonated among book lovers who couldn’t fit another bookshelf in their homes.
It’s also fueled more creativity and opportunities among writers since they could self-publish and gain an audience for a relatively cheap price. Not wanting to restrict themselves to the Kindle tablet alone, Kindle apps are available for smartphones and other tablets too.
As a result, Barnes & Noble, the United States’ largest bookstore, had to put out a Nook to rival the Kindle, which on both ends reduced paper book sales and unfortunately, cut down on some jobs, and even some may blame this on the closing of Borders book stores in 2011.
Amazon Prime Air is a service in which Amazon seeks to deliver goods within 30 minutes of being ordered…by drones. Drones draw up images of warfare, scouting through natural disasters, surveillance, and spying. Amazon sees this as an opportunity for package delivery.
These drones won’t be able to deliver everything yet as they are only less than half a meter long and a delicate 5 lbs. As an octocopter, it looks quite different than a helicopter but works in the same manner by pushing air down to move up. They will launch from various distribution centers that are within 30 minutes of delivery areas.
Their biggest obstacle is dancing around the legal restrictions of the Federal Aviation Administration. If everything works out, they’re set to start these insta-orders by 2015.
Amazon Predictive Shipping
Predictive shipping, a.k.a. “anticipatory shipping,” is a patent that Amazon has that allows them to send you packages before you click “Buy.” This is based on your previous purchase history and a tactic to prevent customers from purchasing in a brick-and-mortar store, staying two steps ahead, even ahead of your own consciousness. This manner cuts delivery times down and shoots for overnight or same-day deliveries.
Don’t worry, the possibility of a customer turning away a pre-emptive delivery may actually turn into a free gift from Amazon in order to cut down on return costs but don’t plan on waiting around for it as an attempt for a passive aggressive freebie.
Location of Distribution Centers
There are lots of Amazon distribution centers everywhere and many people are excited to hear about one opening up near them as it attracts lots of potential employees. However, it’s not all fun and games at the distribution centers.
They have come under fire often for poor work conditions, some places with no air conditioning, ok benefits, and being pushed to the physical limits to get orders out the door. At one point, Amazon had ambulances waiting outside of distribution centers in case anybody suffered a heat-related injury.
On the plus side, anybody who is interested in losing weight can plan on hustling 10 miles per day retrieving and packing orders whereas many people in the US walk less than a mile in a week.
Many Amazon customers aren’t aware of this and probably delight in the speed of package arrivals. Despite the innovative ways that Amazon is stepping ahead, it would behoove them to take a step back and look at the quality of the workplace that their employees take on as greed will catch up sooner or later.