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Amazon Origin and Success Story

Created on 07 Jul 2022

Wraps up in 5 Min

Read by 939 people

Updated on 22 Jul 2022

“Alexa! When will my next order arrive?” Are you feeling restless while waiting for your order to arrive?

Today, customers are found more often on a website than in a retail store. From the smallest of the daily needed items like a hairbrush to large electronic appliances, from food items to books we are ordering something online every day or the other. Amazon is the first place around 66% of the customers go to when they need something.

It has become a synonym for online shopping today. But, it wasn’t always like this. It was Jeff Bezos’ vision and ambition because of which you can enjoy items delivered right at your door today. Let’s dig deeper into his story of building the most popular e-commerce behemoth.

Initial Days of Amazon In a Garage

The Jeff Bezos story or Amazon success story began with amazon.com in 1994. Before that, he used to work as a Wall Street hedge fund executive. He set up Amazon’s first workplace at his garage in Bellevue, Washington. He, along with a few team members started developing the software for the site. Then they launched the website in 1995.

The idea was to deliver any book to any reader anywhere. Bezos conducted deep research and considered books as the best product to sell online initially as the logistics would be easy and they can get a high ticket size of orders with books. 

Amazon wasn’t the only player in the market. Long before Bezos, in 1991, a Silicon Valley bookstore called Computer Literacy began selling books from its inventory to its tech-friendly customers.

Jeff Bezos named the website Amazon because the search results were displayed alphabetically when the website was launched. So a website whose name started with the letter “A” would be beneficial. The name Amazon was also chosen because Jeff Bezos wanted the website to be as big as the world’s largest river.

The Race to Becoming The World’s Largest

The website moved from a Garage to a two-room office. After 6 years of operating day and night, Amazon was still not profitable by 2001. Many people started considering it a failure. However, Bezos stood strong with his idea and dismissed the naysayers as they did not have the vision for the massive growth potential of the Internet.

Profit in the initial years for a fast-growing business really doesn’t matter. He even gave his employees a t-shirt with “Get Big Fast” printed on it. The revenues were jumping, and customer acquisition was exploding. What else could have mattered? 

The company went public on May 15, 1997, with its stock priced at $18 a share and a market capitalization of roughly $438 million.

What After Books?

As soon as Amazon started international operations in 1998, it also started selling music and videos. They were also acquiring small international online book stores in the UK and Germany at this time. 

In 1999  the product range expanded to consumer electronics, video games, software, home-improvement items, toys and games, and much more. Amazon became an all-purpose online store.

Hitting Milestones in Amazon Success Story

1995: The launch of amazon.com

1999: Amazon became the biggest online sales platform in the world.

2005: Launch of Prime Membership

2007: The first Amazon consumer product - Kindle was introduced.

2017: Amazon reportedly bought Whole Foods Market, Inc. Which is a grocery store.

2018: Amazon became the largest bookseller in the US.

2018: Amazon became the third largest smart devices seller in the US.

Expansion and Acquisition

The massive growth of Amazon would not have been possible without acquiring small competitors and expanding at the same time. It is now offering services in cloud computing, tech gadgets, and the entertainment world as well. 

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

In the late 2000s, Amazon realized that the computing technology that it was using could be used by other small companies who wanted to sell online but could not afford to get into the complexities of the internet and data. Amazon has the most powerful systems to do that. And thus, they started their web services called Amazon Web Services (AWS). Soon after this, Apple launched the app store and encouraged developers to put their apps on it. Most apps on the app store like Candy Crush or Tinder were operating through AWS. 

Amazon today is a world leader in computing services despite the tough competition from the big players like Google and Microsoft. They are allowing developers to build upon Alexa or machine learning tools. There is a huge requirement for AWS developers in almost every company.

Tech Devices 

Kindle, an Amazon device on which you could access books online, was launched in 2007. It is today one of the most popular e-readers in the world. In 2007, they sold around 10 Million kindles in the first year of its launch. Around 20-90 Million Kindles have been sold to date.

In 2012 they launched a tablet called Amazon Fire HD and a TV called Amazon Fire TV. Both received moderate success.

Amazon also launched its smartphone called the Fire phone in 2014. They aimed to compete with the iPhone. But, unfortunately, it couldn’t succeed and they stopped producing it just a year later. 

Then, in 2015 they came up with Alexa, a smart assistant that almost everyone is aware of today. Many data analysts refer to Alexa as a Trojan Horse because once you get used to asking Alexa to do stuff for you, you will buy all the other items that it could be connected to plus they get access to your data. 

Entertainment 

In 2010, Amazon launched Prime Video - a streaming platform and Amazon Studios - their production house. Growing slowly into the market, they are the world’s second-largest online streaming platform.

Amazon became the world’s first streaming platform to have a movie nominated for the Oscars with Casey Affleck's drama “Manchester by the Sea.”  

Till 2014, Twitch was the undisputed champion of video game online streaming. Amazon acquired Twitch in 2014; they are releasing slate games like the team brawler “Breakaway.” 

Besides this, Amazon Music is also competing with Spotify constantly to make its place in the market.

Grocery Services 

Amazon has had a huge interest in online grocery stores since 1999. They invested millions in the first-of-its-kind online grocery store called HomeGrocer.com. 

Then in 2007, they launched their grocery service in Seattle called Amazon Fresh. Slowly this grew to the other parts of the world as well. In 2017, Amazon acquired Whole Foods, a grocery store chain known for its organic merchandise and, at times, its sky-high prices.

The Bottom Line

There hasn’t been anything big in the market that Amazon hasn’t touched yet. The main focus, for now, is to get completely into grocery delivery services and disrupt the market. The only concern of market experts with the growth of this behemoth is that once Amazon will get everywhere, we will be going through inflexibilities in the pricing of products which might become more and more expensive with the time. 

What do you think? What is Amazon’s next plan?

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Moniq Sharma

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Moniq is a writer, designer, and strategist with a deep understanding of creative marketing. Her curiosity inspires her to learn, write and explain complicated things to people in the most simplified manner. The amount of knowledge present in her surroundings is what drives her the most. She is also building her own content production company, present across major social media platforms

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