Amazon – a company that has changed e-commerce23 January 2015, Małgorzata Traczyk
When you innovate, you’ve got to be prepared for everyone telling you – you’re nuts. – Larry Ellison
20 years on the market have caused that Amazon is, on many levels, unrivalled by any competition. Maybe it is because of Jeff Bozos’ brilliant ideas and his perfect market timing, or perhaps it is his approach to the customer that has made his company the “bestseller” it is today. So how did this ex IT expert manage to attract millions of people?
The best customer service is if the customer doesn’t need to call you, doesn’t need to talk to you. It just works.
During one of the lectures Richard Howorth, the owner of Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi told a story that has fallen deep into the Bezos’ memory. One day, an angry customer came into his book shop. She complained that some potting compost from the flowers in the second floor windows fell on the bonnet of her car. The owner not only promised to pay for the car wash, but when it proved to be closed that day, he decided to wash the car on his own. The customer was so delighted that on the same day she bought a handful of books.
One click away from buying
And, as Bezos said, so he did. From the very beginnings of his company, he explained to his employees that the customer service is the top priority. The result of his action is the 1-Click program that has revolutionized the e-commerce.. Bezos realized that the customer service in times when the Internet was still a new thing was still too complicated for many people. People overwhelmed with the new technology preferred visiting traditional shops. They needed to be convinced that shopping in Amazon can be as simple as going to a bookshop.
In 1999 this e-commerce giant introduced the 1-Click service which limited the buying formalities to the minimum. Thanks to it, the customer could place an order with one click and “have it done”. It was enough, during one’s first visit in the e-shop, register and choose the method of payment. This method was so innovative and brilliant that Bezos decided to have it patented which made his competition wail in despair.
A review with its weight in gold
Next step was to allow customers to post their reviews of books – both positive and those not so favorable. Critics said that this was crazy. What sane person would allow posting negative opinions concerning their products? Still, as time would tell, this proved to be a brilliant move. Customers, given the option to view the opinions of other people, started to treat Amazon as a source of information about books that were worthy of a recommendation. Obviously, soon enough, the families and friends of authors started to use reviews to enhance their sales. On the other hand, the competition was often responsible for the negative reviews.
In time, Bezos would go even further – he created a system of recommendations.
A simplified definition – based on one’s previous buys, current contents of the checkout, product reviews and the other customers’ choices it displays the books that may interest the customer. And again, this brave move proved to be the jackpot. The introduction of recommendation system has increased the sales by the 75 percent.
The mine of ideas
In spite of the fact that, in time, Amazon has become the world’s largest internet shop, Jeff Bezos constantly surprises with his new and brilliant ideas. Kindle reader may be an example. Thanks to it reading has been moved into an entirely new dimension. Truth be told, there have been attempts to introduce such readers earlier, but they all have ended in a failure. Still, failure is not in Bezos dictionary which he has proved once again. When in 2007 he stood in front of a crowd of journalists and presented his new device the lovers of technological novelties went crazy. It is not known how many of these devices have been released – but they all have been sold – in five and a half hours.
We may expect Amazon to surprise us again in the future. In 2013 it has been announced that the company will use drones to deliver its merchandise. Everyone, who has bought anything in the internet, knows that waiting for your product is the greatest pain. Consequently, owing to the “Amazon Prime Air” service customers wait for their products only … half an hour. This service will probably stay a tempting dream for some time. Federal Aviation Administration in the USA has prohibited using drones for commercial purposes. Amazon decided to start their tests in India, until a similar prohibition has been introduced there. We may only look forward to next moves of the king of customers’ hearts. We certainly won’t be disappointed.
One man band
Jeff Bezos ambitions reach far beyond the e-commerce. After the Amazon’s success, the businessman decided to develop his passions in other fields. Not long ago he decided to spend 24 million dollars on building in the mountains of Sierra Diablo, Texas, a clock that will work for the next 10 thousand years. Not many people know that in 2013 he has also bought the “Washington Post” newspaper. He also invests in planning space tourism and wishes to make a travel to the Earth’s orbit as challenging as a trip to another city. But, above all, besides his incredible skills and aspirations, Bezos is a normal person, which he proved not long ago, by taking part in the Ice Bucket Challenge, where we can see him pouring ice-cold water all over his head while standing knee-deep in the children’s swimming pool.