Amazon.com was started by Jeff Bezos in a garage in Seattle, Washington. Now it’s a $430 billion global e-commerce and technology juggernaut. This transition occurred because of a series of consumer-centric decisions.
When Jeff Bezos was working at DE Shaw, he stumbled upon a statistic: Internet usage grew 2300% per year.
He decided to open in Seattle as that would tax-free shopping. This was the first of the many consumer-centric decisions. This approach resulted in a lot of risky decisions. Amazon invested into creating technical infrastructure and hiring a great literary team for transforming Amazon.com from an online catalogue for books to the world’s largest website to have information about books. This paid off.
Amazon.com was growing at a frenetic pace of 30%-40% per month. However, Amazon was not making any profits. Amazon claimed that it wouldn’t be profitable for 4-5 years. This was because of Amazon’s consumer-centric decision to keep the lowest prices. Eventually, in 2001, Amazon reported a profit of $5 million for $1 billion in revenue. This gave investors’ confidence that Amazon’s unique business model would succeed.
From that moment onwards Amazon invested in multiple innovations. One-click pay allowed consumers to store their credit card details on their Amazon account. This reduced the friction in the shopping experience. Amazon also hired a Google engineer to create a company, A9.com that specialised in search and marketing technology built for optimally searching Amazon products. Amazon also began selling music, movies, household goods and electronics.
But Amazon’s next product killed its initial business model of selling physical books. Amazon launched the Kindle, an electronic reading device that had had an E-ink display and was always connected to the internet through GSM internet sim. Despite criticism, the Kindle was a hit, and it sold out within a few hours.
Amazon’s need to generate consumer delight led to another service, Amazon Prime. is a subscription service for Amazon customers to get benefits such as cheaper (and in some cases free) and faster delivery. It evolved to have benefits such as being able to get free/discounted Kindle books and audiobooks. Furthermore, Amazon introduced Prime Video, a video streaming service that produced original content.
Amazon cemented its dominance as a tech giant when it launched Amazon Echo and Amazon Web Services. It is a speaker that is equipped with an A.I voice assistant called Alexa. Despite being accused of breaching privacy by many users, sold out and, Alexa was recognised as a superior voice assistant in comparison to Microsoft’s Cortana and Apple’s Siri.
Amazon Web Services is another such consumer-oriented experiment. It started as an effort to create infrastructure for its merchants, now it’s a pioneer in cloud infrastructure for startups. Its next project, Prime Drone Delivery services is also a result of an obsession with making better experiences for its consumers. Amazon’s focus on consumer obsession will always keep it ahead of the curve in technological progress and economic prowess. That’s what makes Amazon unstoppable.