While businesses and entire industries tremble and fall amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Amazon is still poised to take even more e-commerce market share in the last quarter of 2020. The mega company’s market share rose a few points to 38% from last year’s 37.3%, showing that it is still a powerhouse in the retail sector despite massive job cuts and a significant decline in consumer spending since the start of the lockdown. In 2018, the firm dominantly held 48% of the entire e-commerce market.
To get a picture of how successful Jeff Bezos’s company is, imagine that every single month at least 197 million from around the world go to Amazon and buy all sorts of stuff. In 2019, the global online retailer made a net income of $11.59 Billion.
What makes Amazon so amazing? How do they keep competitors at bay? Why do customers prefer them over other online retailers on the internet? Let’s read about five ways used by Amazon to remain so dominant.
Excellent Customer Service
Amazon knows how to take care of its customers, beginning with a very high-quality website that is not hard to navigate even by those who are not “techies.” Their system of Return Merchandise Authorization or RMA application is also very responsive, unlike other platforms that only confuse and frustrate customers or buyers that demand corrective action on a product or an actual replacement.
The company also requires its managers and employees to attend a two-day call center training, which provides everyone the same set of knowledge about products and how to handle customers. They get to develop soft skills such as listening, empathy, and a solution-focused approach to doing things.
Bezos also started an “Empty Chair” practice during company meetings. This concept involves always leaving one chair empty in a room of executives or managers who are having a planning session or conference. With the empty chair, the participants are supposed to think of it as being occupied by their customers. That means that in everything they plan or execute, the company’s leaders need to think of what the customer wants and needs.
Another thing that Bezos taught his executives and employees is the need to respect the customer. He says that if they make a customer unhappy onsite, live and in person, that unhappy customer might tell six of his friends. He added that if they make one customer miserable online, that customer might tell 600 of his friends about it. He recognizes the new nature of the market and how the internet has genuinely empowered customers in making their own choices and purchases.
Vast Product Line-Up
Another great advantage of Amazon that makes it very popular and profitable is the sheer size and variety of its product line-up. The company has at least 12 Million different products being sold at its website at any given time.
Overall, Amazon still has the most competitively priced items online. For example, it sells appliances that are 13% cheaper than what major competitors sell. When it comes to electronics, it rates its goods at least 15% lower than the closest rivals in online retailing.
Free or Low Shipping Cost
In the US, Amazon ships items for free based on a minimum required purchase. At one point, in 2017, the company spend $21.7 Billion in shipping costs. These days, it has minimized this operational expense by increasing its Amazon Prime membership rate to cover the cost. Other items are ineligible for free shipping, but the standards for sending the items State-side or to other countries are marked at industry-standard rates.
Strong Paid Subscriber Base
The latest data available showed that the company has at least 150 million Amazon Prime members. The annual membership is $199, while the monthly subscription is $12.99, but both options come with a 30-day free trial. This strong paying subscriber base already provides a good income stream for the company apart from its substantial retail sales.
Amazon is involved in other businesses such as publishing, cloud computing technology, and it produces its own gadgets such as the Kindle e-book reader, other tablets, and t .v.’s. It also ventured into TV and film production and distribution with Amazon Studios, which distributes content via Prime Video, its very own video streaming service and a close rival of Netflix. Prime Video is now nearing the record number of subscribers held by market leader Netflix, at 160 million. The studio also distributes content directly to many theaters around the US.
Indeed, Bezos’s vision for Amazon had come to pass, so it seems. But the company’s journey is not over yet. It is still innovating and remains as strong as the leader in the e-commerce industry. Like the Brazilian jungle that it was named after, customers will continue to explore the online world and relish the sheer volume and variety of products and services that they can purchase from this retail universe for many years to come.