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Amazon – The Online Marketplace Giant

by Sherine Mariam

As many of you might be aware of, Amazon began as an online marketplace to sell books and has grown over the years to become an online marketplace covering all the essentials for a household. From books, electronic gadgets, household appliances, apparels, furniture, gardening essentials, medical products to gourmet and groceries, Amazon covers almost everything an individual needs.

When you get better deals and need not wait in lines for billing, online shopping is the best shopping alternative. And to not forget, you can relax at home, order your required items online and there you get it delivered the very next day!

The Story of Amazon.com

Amazon's first business logo

Amazon was founded on July 5, 1994, by the then technology enthusiast, Jeff Bezos in Washington. The company was initially named as Cadabra, and just as you would have guessed is an inspired version from the magician’s trademark word ‘abracadabra’. The name was meant to portray how magical and versatile online shopping experience was. renamed to ‘Amazon’ in 1995 during its website launch. The company’s name is inspired by one of the world’s largest river, the Amazon river. This reflects the size of the company with its exotic and different concept of business. The initial logo of the company also represented a river-like structure depicted the same.

The current Amazon logo which is even familiar to the tiny tots was launched in 2000. The logo represents that it sells everything from A to Z. This is depicted with the yellow arrow connecting the A and Z of the brand name. The yellow arrow is also considered as a smile that represents customer satisfaction. This is also a representation of the company’s smile program which is a charitable initiative for the financial upliftment of different organizations.

Amazon's current business logo

The company had its first base at Seattle with targeting the technical talents of Microsoft which was also located in the same city. The company began with selling books online and later in 1998 also began selling music and videos. Its technology division, Amazon Web Services (AWS) for marketers and developers opened its services in 2002 and extended its portfolio with cloud computing services in 2006. Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Simple Storage Service (S3) form the backbone of the company’s web and technology services. Amazon now owns over 40 subsidiary businesses including Kiva Systems (Amazon Robotics), Goodreads, IMDb, and Zappos.

The Amazon Marketplace

As quoted by the company’s head, the vision of Amazon is “to be earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online”.

One of the key points that differentiate Amazon from other online e-commerce webshops is fast delivery systems. Amazon has provided its customers to have their orders to be delivered on the same day becoming a great competition for the other online businesses to cope up. For such fast deliveries, Amazon uses independent third-party last-mile delivery services.

Another factor that has led the company to become the top e-commerce website, is its transparency in the products, orders, and deliveries. The company encourages users to add reviews that can include photos and videos for other customers to purchase efficiently. Users can also easily keep track of their orders through the order and delivery tracking section inbuilt in the website and mobile applications. The 24-hour customer support service via calls, emails, and chats also form a base for Amazon’s branding success.

Ecommerce website working

Amazon has also been considered one of the toughest environments for employees with its requirement of speed and accuracy in each of its work. This visionary company follows an internal slogan that says, “Work hard. Have fun. Make history.” Making it the best inspiration for its workers to bring out the best in themselves.

The business model and strategies incorporated by Amazon has been on the top list of researchers and marketers to improve their businesses. With a strong focus on customer experience or ‘Customer Obsession’ as the people at Amazon calls it, is one of the major factors that has always been a win-win for the company.

Introducing AI technologies in most applications of the company has also greatly helped in boosting sales and revenue. Remembering its roots, the Kindle by Amazon, it one the first applications introduced by Amazon for online reading. This experience just got easier with the introduction of the echo dot, Alexa. The easy and automatic home and office experience providing, Alexa AI assistant, the no lines and no checkout shopping experience application, the Amazon Go, the easy checkout and payment facility by Amazon pay are all a few of the best versions of the company’s growth.

The supply chain network of Amazon works in five basic stages.

  • The incoming goods from vendors, returns and Amazon brand products are unpacked and inspected.
  • The ordered items are stored as per their locations are recorded on a warehouse management platform. 
  • The goods are picked from their dedicated locations as entered in the computer system.
  • The products are sorted and packed for delivery according to the destination hub locations and shipments.
  • The packages are shipped to the destination hubs by third-party independent freight services.

Amazon Prime

Among the four main Pillars of Amazon: the retail online marketplace, Amazon Web Services, and Alexa, Amazon Prime is the most trending subscription campaigns online. The prime membership is the paid membership service of Amazon that offers customers with a plethora of benefits. Launched in 2005, Amazon Prime initially focused on free and fast deliveries and discounts for customers. By 2006, the video streaming service, Prime Video was introduced. There is an overwhelming number of more than 100 million Prime members worldwide. Among the several benefits of Amazon Prime membership, a few are listed below.

  • Fast delivery: Same day or two-day window deliveries are done for customers at free of cost.
  • Free Unlimited Streaming: Members have unlimited access to Amazon Prime Video and Amazon Music streaming.
  • Student packages: two or four-year college students with valid .edu or school email address will receive a six-month free trial of Amazon Prime Student.
  • Discounts on Purchases: Prime members receive a minimum flat 10 percent off on Whole Food purchases.
  • Prime Day and Early Lightning Deal Access: Prime members get exclusive access to purchase goodies on great discounts and offer on Prime Days. Prime days mark the heaviest and biggest sale days on Amazon’s online marketplace. They also get early access to products that are listed on lightning deals before the standard customers.
  • Amazon Family: Amazon Family is another customer-centric approach of Amazon where families get coupons and discounts on baby products with baby registration.
  • Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card: Customers receive discounts and cashback on purchases using the Amazon Prime Visa signature cards.
  • Amazon Fresh and Prime Pantry: Order groceries and household items at competitive prices and get them delivered at your door the same day.

Shopping on Amazon.com

The first time a user logs into the website, the user is asked to create an account for a personalized shopping experience. The customer reviews and ratings are an important factor that lets the new user to efficiently select products from the different products listed for the product search. The Search bar and categorized product views help customers to easily find products and add them to their cart and checkout. The customer will be asked to add their personal and payment information to order the products. The details are saved for faster checkouts the next time the user shops online. Secure payment gateways and options for mobile wallets, online payment wallets, credit/ debit card, net banking, and cash-on-delivery options is another attraction.

Each time a product is viewed or purchased, the website completely changes according to the shopping preferences of the customers providing a unique shopping experience each time. This is one factor that stays out of the crowd, that makes Amazon have a high rate of customer retention with most of the customers only using Amazon for their online shopping. Daily quizzes, prizes, coupons, and discounts is another factor that makes Amazon the favorite e-commerce website worldwide. The fast deliveries and return policies is another major factor in the success of Amazon.

The largest Internet company in the world - Amazon

The brand has grown over expectations and still is in the upfront of providing the best e-commerce facilities across the globe. This has led, Amazon to be one of the Big Four technology companies in the world sharing the position with the technology giants, Google, Apple, and Facebook. As mentioned earlier, Amazon has been topping charts in various financial areas of which a few are listed below.

  • Amazon, based on revenue and market cap, is the world’s largest e-commerce marketplace, Artificial Intelligence assistant provider, and cloud computing platform.
  • Amazon, by revenue, is the largest Internet company in the world.
  • Amazon has also reached to become the second-largest private-sector employer in the United States.
  • Amazon, by revenue, is the second-largest technology company.

If you also have the vision to create such a competitive and customer-centric online marketplace website there are several eCommerce website building software available online. Including well-maintained warehouse management and order and the delivery tracking script will enhance your business’s potential to the next level.

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