Bloomberg Businessweek recently published an uber insightful article on Amazon that was expertly reported by Devin Leonard and is chockful of interesting tidbits about the eCom giant’s strategic direction—then, now and into the future.
Here are 7 insights that struck me the most:
Amazon Has Been Growing Leaps & Bounds
Since 2010, its annual revenue has more than tripled from $34 billion to $107 billion.
And its workforce has multiplied from 33,700 workers to 268,900.
It’s Been On a 20+ Year Mission to Instantly Gratify
“Bezos has been consumed with delivery since he founded Amazon in 1994. After all, if he couldn’t get orders to people fast enough, they’d just buy stuff in stores.”
John Rossman, a former Amazon executive “says Bezos and his team also saw delivery as a way to fend off competitors who might have wanted to get into e-commerce—in particular Google, and later Facebook.”
Amazon Prime Members are BIG Spenders
Prime members spend nearly 3 times as much as non-members.
Consumer Intelligence Research Partners estimates Amazon has 63 million Prime members—19 million more than last year.
In Cities With Amazon’s 2-Hour Delivery Service, the Most Popular Orders Are…
Bottled water and toilet paper!
(The popularity of bottled water is definitely a sobering and disappointing stat, seeing how using water filters would create less plastic waste. Wither sustainability, anyone?)
Plus, Amazon is all too happy to divulge that 300,000 condoms have been ordered and delivered since its Prime Now service launched in December 2014.
(The service is now available in over 40 cities).
To Feed the Beast, Amazon Has Been Beefing Up Its Delivery Infrastructure
Amazon has been on a spree of late… buying or leasing planes, ships, trucks and warehouses at an astounding rate—all to keep up with demand, especially during the holiday season when last-minute Prime orders outpace UPS, FedEx and USPS’s capacity to fulfill them all.
Amazon has also begun building and opening brick-and-mortar bookstores (yep, you read that right, bookstores) in Seattle, San Diego, Chicago and other select cities, which experts believe will play a significant role in the tech giant’s delivery infrastructure.
It also recently introduced a new Flex service wherein “people with transportation and some time on their hands [can] log in to an app, indicate their availability, and then pick up and deliver Prime Now packages, much as Uber drivers do with people.
Flex deliveries come in handy when there’s an unexpected surge in Prime Now orders, such as before a blizzard on the East Coast when the entire island of Manhattan is stocking up on canned soup.”
Or in the early hours of July 31, when Flex couriers transported copies of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child to Prime Now customers.
Amazon’s Ever-Expanding Delivery Infrastructure May Go Enterprise
Experts believe “Amazon will make a business out of its delivery network, as it did with Amazon Web Services [which had sales of $7.9 billion last year], thereby challenging the world’s leading shipping companies.”
The eCom Giant Is Developing Technology to Have Your Next Order Packaged n’ Ready to Go… Before You’ve Even Ordered It
According to a recent Deutsche Bank report, Amazon has a patent for ‘anticipatory package shipping’ technology, “which is just what it sounds like: When some Prime subscriber buys more deodorant, Amazon already has the box standing by, ready to label and ship.
‘It’s just one giant math exercise,’ Deutsche Bank wrote, adding that Amazon has ‘hundreds of Ph.D. mathematicians’ who spend their days optimizing logistics.”