When the Internet was made public in the late 80s, many companies had seen it as an opportunity to do something big and make money fast. There were numbers of promising success stories, but shedload of them was never told due to the burst of the dot-com bubble. Only the ones that played smarter, managed to survive. The most successful story that came out of this turmoil belongs to Amazon.
Let’s be real, who haven’t heard of Amazon? The company that started out as an online bookstore, moved to selling everything that you can imagine. Just look at the logo. An arrow pointing from A to Z, representing that you can find anything there. But, they didn’t just stop with the e-commerce platform. They have expanded to many industries with huge number of products and services.
So, how did Amazon manage to do this? What makes them so different?
First, they aren’t afraid of failure. CEO and founder, Jeff Bezos, knows that without risk there is no chance for success. In one of his letters to shareholders he said that “To invent you have to experiment, and if you know in advance that it’s going to work, it’s not an experiment. Most large organizations embrace the idea of invention, but are not willing to suffer the string of failed experiments necessary to get there”. This healthy mindset allows them to continue going after a failure, because not succeeding at first doesn’t mean you won’t eventually. Just imagine if the company gave up after the first time something went wrong. It isn’t like they didn’t have dead ducks. One of them was Fire Phone, Amazon’s version of smartphone. It was a miss. They accepted it and moved on to the other things. Some will fail, but some will change our lives.
Next, products. They have one for each customers’ need. Amazon started with books, slowly moving to music, video, toys… diversifying its business so much. As seen in the picture below, one category has many subcategories. And each of those will have thousands, even hundreds of thousands of products. If you try to calculate how many that is, you’ll get your head spinning. And you would probably be wrong. Today, it is totally normal for your competitors to sell their products on Amazon. Naturally, you want to keep an eye on their prices. Some of them will change their prices daily, some even more frequently. There is no efficient and easy way to do this manually. If you’d like to learn how to automate this process, you are welcome to read details here.
Amazon was one of the first companies that offered free returns and overnight shipping. The company doesn’t want to just offer you any possible products, but all rounded services, that will make your life easier. In 2005, Amazon introduced a paid membership named Amazon Prime. It only offered free two-day shipping, but very soon more features were added, such as; a video steaming service, shopping deals and many more. For example, Prime Now offers one hour delivery for eligible zip codes. This membership made them even more popular among online shopping lovers. People love good deals. And for sure, Amazon knows how to offer them.
One more way that shows how much Amazon cares about customers, is their customer services. This is a crucial part of every e-commerce business, as it is the bridge between the company and the customers. They need to be fast and informative in order to resolve all of your problems. If they don’t, they will seem unreliable and will lose customers. A company as huge as Amazon, focuses on this very much, because it doesn’t just operate in one vertical, but many others. Threat for every e-commerce business are bad reviews. Nowadays, it isn’t just word of mouth, it is thousands of websites where you can leave your review publicly. And when you work in so many different verticals, a bad review from one can reflect on others. That is why Amazon takes such a good care of their customers.
Whether it is an individual selling used books or a big brand offering its products to a large number of customers, millions of people do business every day using Amazon. They have one of the best e-commerce practices. Always one step ahead of others. Everybody is eager to see what they will do next. And as we await for their next move, we should take couple of lesson from Amazon and apply it to our online businesses.
What are the biggest lessons that we can learn from Amazon:
1. Don’t be afraid of failure. Remember; there are no failures – just experiences and your reactions to them.
2. Sell the products that your customers want and anticipate what they will want next.
3. Take care of your customers; they are what makes you or breaks you.
What do you think Amazon is working on next? Please feel free to share your ideas in the comment section below.