Amazon is one of the most recognisable brands in the world, and with net sales revenue of $88.99 billion in 2014, it is by far and away the largest online retailer in the world. Its current position is a remarkable contrast to its origins. In 1994 the company’s aim was to become the leading online bookstore. They achieved this humble aim relatively quickly, and now have one of the widest product ranges you will see anywhere. If you can imagine it, it’s likely Amazon stocks it.
Amazon started out at a time when the potential for online shopping was huge. In spring of that year, web usage was growing by an amazing 2,300% per year. The growing number of people online meant a huge untapped audience was just waiting for a company to reach out to them. Amazon did just that and created a new business model in the process. The end result was to change the whole retail sector.
In 2015 it is difficult to imagine a service you can’t get online. You can buy all kinds of products from retailers all around the world, book a holiday, order concert or theatre tickets and have food delivered to your door. This list is endless and constantly being added to as people innovate and come up with new things that can be done via the internet. Just look at taxi booking service Uber. They have grown substantially in a short space of time and are now estimated to be worth $50 billion.
Success with e-commerce depends on a number of factors, but the one underlying quality all companies have in common is that they identify a gap in the market and deliver value to their customers. Once you have an idea you need to decide how you can maximise value and get people to work with you. Having an in-depth understanding of your niche is crucial to achieving this.
Amazon’s original aim seems modest in hindsight, but it helped them to achieve exactly what they set out to. Businesses need these kinds of aims to have something to focus on, especially when it comes to e-commerce. Once they achieve a goal they should re-evaluate and set another one so they always have something to work towards. Remember if you aren’t innovating it’s highly likely someone else will be and your position could be under threat.