Links to a half-dozen articles about one of the great American businesses of our time. (Full disclosure: I've been an Amazon customer since 1995.)
A big part of Amazon’s success has come from not being taken seriously by its competition. Amazon was able to create a huge lead in Amazon web services (AWS) because the competition (Alphabet and Microsoft) did not give Amazon enough respect.
But those mournful of the rise of internet shopping are actually mourning the proliferation of consumer choice and convenience. They are lamenting the very purpose of a market economy – to satisfy consumer needs and desires. In trying to protect certain kinds of businesses and certain kinds of jobs, they are actually trying to impede the creation of new ones that empower consumers and serve them in the way they wish to be served.
Of course, all these fears are terribly dramatic and overblown, falling into the classic error that confuses corporate power with government power. While governments can use police and military forces to compel people to behave in a certain way, the only power corporations have in a free market is to offer to buy and sell goods. No one is obliged to do business with them, and they depend entirely on keeping their customers happy.
Amazon is taking over the world, and it has one secret weapon making its conquest possible.
The online retailer blows its competition out of the water when it comes to customer loyalty. In a recent survey from RBC Capital Markets, 93% of the 2,200 Americans surveyed said they use Amazon more than any other online retailer over the past year. That's quite the market penetration.
Unlike Apple, Google, and Microsoft, Amazon is not fixated on a tightly designed ecosystem of interlocking apps and services. Bezos instead emphasizes platforms that each serves its own customers in the best and fastest possible way.
Is there anything Amazon can't sell you? If so, I haven't found it yet. The day our cleaning lady told me we needed a new filter for the vacuum cleaner was the day I became a convert. Normally, procuring such an item is a tedious and time-consuming chore that requires a special trip to the vacuum-cleaner store halfway across town. This time, I just ordered it from Amazon.