Amazon has undergone constant digital transformation, from its beginnings as a small mail-order bookstore in 1994, to a global organization boasting $1.7 trillion in revenue in 2020.
Last quarter, Amazon blew past Wall Street's expectations, reporting $5.2 billion in net profit, even after warning investors it would spend all of the $4 billion it had expected to make for the quarter on COVID-related initiatives.
So, how does it continue to stay ahead of the pack and harness the latest digital technologies to improve its own business processes?
Listed below are the reasons why it is a cut above the rest:
As a company continuously ranked 1st for several customer satisfaction indexes, Amazon is incredibly customer-centric in both its technology and in the way it handles customer feedback.
The team at Amazon puts itself in the customer’s shoes, puts the customer-centric business goals first, and delivers a seamless customer service. This is how they do it:
● Technology for the customer-Features such as ‘One-Click Checkout’, the option to save multiple credit cards and addresses, and powerful search functionality accelerate shopping time. These have all been developed overtime through listening and responding to information on customer behaviour gained through behaviour analytics and feedback.
● Service for the customer: The infamous ‘question mark’ email is a culture example. Dissatisfied customers can directly email company founder, Jeff Bezos, and when they do, it’s reported that Jeff forwards these on to the appropriate person with a simple ‘?’; this means they’ve got 24 hours to rectify the issue for the customer.
Driven by digital technology
Amazon’s entire business structure bypassed traditional retail distribution channels and went straight to suppliers–all using ‘digital technology’, AKA the internet. This has given customers cheaper prices and the convenience of online shopping while opening up suppliers to international markets.
If that’s not technological disruption, then we don’t know what is.
Further, Amazon has always been at the forefront of digital technologies to either expand its business offerings (like Kindle or Amazon Web Services) or improve its core business functions. For example, through its acquisition of warehouse robotics company Kiva, Amazon was able to optimize its warehousing systems to cut costs and increase its capability. In 2014, Amazon installed more than 15,000 robots in its US warehouses to prepare for the holiday season.
An agile business that can execute change
Amazon has always experimented with new services to dominate new markets and displace other industry giants. Although it survived the dot-com crash in 2000, Amazon’s business model needed diversifying. In 2000, it launched Amazon Marketplace, the world’s first third-party reseller platform.
But it didn’t stop there; in 2005, Amazon Prime was born. The membership offered free two-day shipping within the USA for an annual flat fee, and was so successful that it spread to France, Italy, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, and Canada, over the next eight years.
More recently, Amazon has established itself as a main player in web software and database management for businesses, with Amazon Web Services and DynamoDB, which has IoT capabilities.
Workplace culture that fosters innovation and change
From being a bookstore to providing grocery delivery, Amazon has continued to break into, and create new markets. No company can execute this amount of change without being responsive and keeping its employees willing to move at the same speed.
Amazon boasts that its standards for employees are “unreasonably high”. Meanwhile, the previous employees have described experiences of having the power to truly innovate, but within a highly competitive, punishing culture. “A lot of people who work there feel this tension: It’s the greatest place I hate to work,” says John Rossman, a former Amazon employee.
Failure is just a step towards success
Amazon clearly isn’t deterred by failures, as shown by one of their latest ventures, the employee-less supermarket, Amazon Go, which is a chain of convenience stores in the United States. The stores are partially automated, with customers being able to purchase products without being checked out by a cashier or using a self-checkout station.
From here on, things only seem to get better for Amazon as it has already experienced a surge in online sales during these unprecedented times as people are turning more and more to online shopping, sending the company's market capitalization through the roof.
Today, organizations must step up and implement digitization in their processes if they want to stay in the game. This enables firms to set new standards and build more capabilities.
New entrants and established brands who have been under our wing, have demonstrated direct savings, waste reduction and a direct increase in their sales.
Contact us to learn more about our cloud-first, data-centric approach to maximise returns on investments.