Every e-commerce business gets inspired by Amazon sooner rather than later. Such is the appeal of the brand name on a global scale; that it finishes first time and time again and everyone else comes later.
Amazon has well and truly captivated audiences for over a decade now so much so that it has become a household term. What started in the United States has now enveloped almost the entire world. No wonder Jeff Bezos (Amazon co-founder) is amongst the top 3 richest individuals in the world.
Irrespective of the domain, form, size, or longevity, Amazon has and always will continue to inspire every online business owner. Do you know the biggest advantage of being first? You’re forever etched in history as Number 1 and no one will ever forget you. This is what Amazon has done.
Whether you consider the best eCommerce website design, timely deliveries, range of offers, variety of sellers, or user experience of the website; not many can provide customers with such a well-balanced package.
Let’s Cite Some Business Lessons Worth Taking From The Legend That is Amazon:
1. The Essence of a Long-Term Vision
Have you ever heard a successful business manager claim that he/she likes to run after increasing the overall turnover rather than fighting tooth and nail over per-product margins? This is what the norm is if you want to establish your brand and stay in the business in the long run.
This is exactly what Amazon did. What started as a mere online bookstore has now grown exponentially to become arguably the biggest online brand in the international market. Jeff Bezos claims that even from the start, Amazon always wanted to become a repository of unlimited offerings and not just books.
Amazon went public in 1997 whilst still suffering through losses; after which its stocks skyrocketed by no less than 5600%. Imagine the change!
Any company that wants to focus on customers and put customers first, any company that wants to invent on behalf of customers has to be willing to think long term and it’s much rarer than you might think. I find most of the initiatives, we undertake, may take five to seven years before they pay any dividends for the company. They may start paying dividends to customers right away but they often take a long time to pan out for shareholders in the company.
2. Patience is the Key
Amazon reached the first stage of profit in the year 2001 seven years after it was founded. Can you imagine the patience levels of the team and the founder himself – Jeff Bezos? And look how things have turned around now.
Ergo, patience is the keyword here. The more, the merrier. Instead of running after quantity and making bucks in the short run; the matters of customers and quality should be on the top of your priority list.
Amazon back in the day made some long-term bets on then-nascent services like Kindle Fire, Amazon Web Services, and Amazon Prime without the guarantee of instant profitability. The only aim was to innovate and to give the customers something new; that they will benefit from.
And don’t we all drool over Amazon Prime now? Not just that, Kindle has become a household name. And Jeff often proclaims that the company has had 3 massive ideas over 18 years and they’ve stuck with them. Those are – putting the customer ahead of everything else – Inventing new things regularly and being patient.
3. Making the Right Acquisitions
If you’re a digital marketing company that is doing well in its domain. Suddenly you find a new Magento eCommerce development company that is raising a lot of eyebrows on account of high-quality standards at reasonable prices. What do you do? You don’t wait for them to get bigger.
You acquire them instantly; not only will you diminish your competition but also expand your portfolio and get a team of Woocommerce specialists as well in the deal. That’s a win-win situation, isn’t it?
And in this current startup frenzy market today; acquisitions are happening daily. Even the biggest brands have now realized that this is the way to go; to kill competition and spread services to a wider range of consumers. Examples of Facebook acquiring WhatsApp and Instagram; Apple acquiring Shazam or Flipkart acquiring Myntra – are all substantial proofs.
You wouldn’t believe that Amazon has bought no less than 30 other brands in its 20 years of operation. Some noteworthy additions include the likes of IMDB, Goodreads, Exchange.com, Zappos, Twitch.tv and more.
4. Focus Only on What Your Customers Want
Amazon is a prime example of why this works; pun intended. When Amazon released its Prime service back in the year 2005; it was met with rave reviews and many online pundits had foreseen it failing badly.
Yes, Prime had started so long ago. Doesn’t seem like that now, does it? This unproven concept was then transformed into something essential as the brand started to not only listen to what the customers had to say but make necessary policy changes as well. Seeing the fruits of ‘Super Saver Shipping’ in the past; the staff realized that super quick and reliable shipping will become a difference maker in the future.
This will put the so-called big retail stores almost out of business. This policy of instant gratification simply works is what the brand thought. And they were proven right as today, Amazon Prime is one of the most widely used membership programs across the globe.
5. Constantly Innovate or Die
Jeff Bezos takes this very very seriously. He and his team aim to build products and services which work irrespective of the tastes of the consumers.
Companies these days that are one-dimensional in their approach don’t make profits in the long run. Of course, temporarily, they might make good enough money to sustain themselves; however, in the long run, a brand that innovates and adapts according to the changing demographics and whatnot, is the one that is a long-term successful player.
If Amazon is doing something, other brands will have to follow suit. This is why Amazon has spread its wings in domains that are separate from what its forte is true. It has also resulted in the brand owning a range of products and services like one-click buying, Goodreads, and Kindle, to name a few.
Not just that, from the year 1996, Amazon introduced an affiliate program wherein other brands with their exclusive websites could place ads concerning the books of interest to them on their websites; allowing them to increase their follower base, generate sales, and get a commission.
Imagine affiliate marketing existing in the year 1996; all due to Amazon and its brilliance.
Also, Amazon is always quick to recognize new international trends and players who bring in a snazzy creative and business direction. The biggest example would be AmazonFresh which allows users to order a whole new range of products like household goods, groceries, fruits and vegetables, electronics, and a whole lot more.
This was done as a response to the rise of grocery delivery brands across the country which the consumers were getting positively accustomed to.
6. Don’t Let Failure Come in the Way of Regular Experimentation
This is not just the cardinal rule of life but very well applies to online businesses across the world as well. Amazon is one of the biggest inspirations here.
With constant experimentation and innovation on the top of Jeff’s list; failure rates were bound to go up. Not every new idea can be a market trendsetter, can it? Back in 1999, Amazon launched its auction service and tons of money was shelled out to make users adept with this new service.
However, the decision backfired as no one liked the idea and users weren’t too bothered with it, which led to a massive loss of resources and monetary lapses.
However, this wasn’t the chink in the armor it was seeming to be. Jeff Bezos and his team transformed ‘Auctions’ into zShops which was ultimately superimposed by the Amazon Marketplace idea; a third-party seller business regime that is active even today and it accounts for no less than 40% of the total business being conducted by Amazon.
Another instant was when Amazon decided to rule out products under its own ‘Fire’ brand name trying to compete with Apple, Google, and whatnot. Some of these products included tablets, OS, and phones; an idea which wasn’t well received by the general folk.
However, this inspired Amazon to forge partnerships with smartphone makers and brands across the world to indirectly achieve what it set out for. The deal was that all these phones will now come with pre-installed Amazon applications.
7. Risk Identification and Removal
There’s a common myth that entrepreneurs love taking risks. It might be true in some cases but mostly, all successful entrepreneurs have one thing in common – identifying what is risky and what is too risky and eliminating the far-fetched possibilities.
Jeff Bezos believes – “Good entrepreneurs don’t like risk; they seek to reduce risk…Starting a company is already risky, and then you systematically eliminate risk step by step in those early days….you kind of need to systematically identify risk, and then as the company gets bigger and more robust, you can start taking risks again but in those early days a lot of it is about ‘okay I have a good idea, how do we reduce risk?’
This minimization of risks is what sets the truly successful business owners from the good ones. Now there might be a million good businessmen out there; however, the number of bigshots is well and truly numbered. Get what I mean now?
8. Investing Big in Fostering Relationships
Amazon’s FBA policy i.e. Fulfilment by Amazon has taken the marketplace industry by storm. This is an affordable program for sellers who have to do nothing but sit back and count the money they’re making. This way, Amazon does all the hard work well and truly. Products are stored by Amazon, packaged by Amazon, and even shipped by Amazon directly to the customers. This has proven to be a boon for small and medium-sized business owners across the globe. Can you imagine the numbers behind such an innovative deal?
Not just that; these sellers get access to benefits such as Amazon Prime, free shipping, international deliveries, seamless returns, and much more.
This has enabled Amazon to shake hands with limitless businesses internationally having empowered them and made them self-sufficient to an extent; whilst improving their overall marketplace, range of products, and whatnot.
9. Deliver ‘More’
Always deliver more than what your customers tend to expect. How can you do that?
Once, an Amazon customer got his PlayStation console stolen from his porch as he couldn’t make it home on time. Then he contacted Amazon to see what can be done.
What followed left him startled to bits. Amazon wasn’t only courteous enough to consider his case but they had their representative drop off a brand new PlayStation console the same day itself. The best thing about it – they didn’t charge him a penny!
Not only did it arrive just in time for Christmas but it gave Amazon a lifelong fan and a long-time customer. Isn’t this magical? This is what helps transforms an ordinary customer into someone who will act as a marketer for your brand without him/her realizing it.
After all that has been said and done, one thing’s for sure; even if your brand sticks around or it doesn’t, Amazon will continue to serve customers with the utmost quality. Hence, it would pay good dividends for your brand if you follow suit sooner rather than later keeping your business ego aside.
Not every day do you come up with a brand that works successfully with an international audience without compromising on the core values. Good luck to you!