#ThrowbackThursday: An Amazon Story – 19 Years Down The Memory Lane

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Photo Credit: iStock.com/Artist's JurgaR

Talk about the unique and out of the box ideas business community has ever seen in the IT industry, Amazon would definitely surpass all other ideas because of the sheer simplicity of the concept and brilliance of execution. In 1995, the world of bibliophiles was majorly transformed for good by a man named Jeff Bezos. But he didn’t just stop there. The online retailing business he started in his tiny garage in Bellevue, Washington, quickly expanded as an international e-commerce company with its headquarters based in Seattle, Washington.

A Not-So-Humble Beginning:

Jeff Bezos started off his company as cadabra.com in July, 1994. However, it did not sound as nice as he had initially expected. Cadaver came to mind more quickly than anything else and it needed to be replaced with something trendier and search engine friendly. Hence, Amazon.com is how the site was officially launched a year later. In the beginning, it was mainly an online bookstore with a virtually unlimited availability of books and their world-wide demand. John Ingram of Ingram Content Group along with Keyur Patel are also considered key players in the conception of this idea.

But, Bezos did not just decide for the books. On his list of top 20 online market worthy products, he had decided to start with five that were most promising such as, computer hardware, CDs, videos, PC software, and of course, the books. Just within the first couple of months, Amazon business expanded to 45 countries and in all fifty states of the United States. Bezos’ vision was nothing short of building an Amazonian empire for his business. It was named after something exotic and unique so the inspiration was evident from the beginning.

Now after 20 years since the idea was conceived, Amazon.com is world’s top selling online retailer. When Bezos was asked by a reporter to comment on placing the premium of his brand name, he said, “There’s nothing about our model that can’t be copied over time. But you know, McDonald’s got copied. And it still built a huge, multibillion-dollar company. A lot of it comes down to the brand name. Brand names are more important online than they are in the physical world.”

Time has proven that the 400 square feet garage of 1995 turned into a workplace of two 300K square feet ware houses in 1997, which finally transformed into 25M square feet of 50 ware houses in 2011.

Serving A to Z with a Smile:

The best survey practices in keeping customers satisfaction indicate that the more products and services you provide to your customers the better. Take example of a super market, where you find pretty much everything under one roof, be it grocery or electronic items. Bezos had a similar vision for his online business venture where he could be useful to the whole world in one way or another. There should be something for everyone. For this reason alone, he chose a logo identity that reflected the entire philosophy of his brand since the 2000’s. Its logo design is composed of a curved arrow between A and Z, reflecting the thought that they would be happy to provide every product from A to Z.

However, just creating a well-meaning logo is never enough for a business and the word needs to be kept and valued by the company. Amazon did the same and soon diversified to a long list of products and services to its international clientele. What started as an online bookstore, expanded almost immediately in selling electronics, groceries, clothing, musical instruments, house decoration items, jewelry, health care items, etc. The company also started producing consumer electronics such as, Amazon Kindle e-book reader, Kindle Fire Tablet computer – and is now ready to go places as a smart phone, i.e. the Amazon Fire Phone. Moreover, it is a leading contributor of cloud computing services.

The products and services in consumer electronics, especially, have seen a rare boost in customers and the device ownership rate since they were introduced. Amazon launched its e-book reader in November of 2007 and named it as Amazon Kindle. The screen technology it uses is E Ink for a clearer and more efficient display. According to data, the stated library numbers reached over 850,000 titles in early 2011. By the end of that year, they announced an upcoming tablet called Kindle Fire with a customized version. The next year, in September 2012, Amazon introduced Kindle Fire HD which was a second generation tablet. In September 2013, the world got introduced to the next big thing, which was third generation tablet known as Kindle Fire HDX. Surprisingly, only a month had passed when they announced their sixth generation Kindle.

At this rate, what would you expect Amazon to announce next other than an Amazon Fire TV? This device is basically a set-top box which works pretty much like an Apple TV. Its most noteworthy features are gaming and voice search for movies which turned out to be the coolest thing you could wish for.

On June 18, 2014, they announce the release of Amazon Fire Phone and with that, the giant corporation entered the smartphone hardware market. It will be available at every retail store from July 25, 2014, but was out in the market for pre-order on the same date. It is an AT&T phone which runs on Amazon’s mobile operation system Fire OS. For a limited time period, Bezos offered customers a thousand Amazon coins and a year of Amazon Prime on the purchase of Fire Phone.

To summarize the whole story, we have created an interesting short infographic that will explain the progress of this brand over the passage of time.

It’s Fun to Know!

You might be surprised at the pure genius of this guy Bezos who started such a unique business from a small garage and had the guts to reach this level of success. Here are some fun facts that will further blow your mind and inspire you to take your own small business to the next level:

  • A retail survey on futuristic shopping reveals that about seventy per cent retailers of those surveyed consider technology to be the backbone for their business. For a business that runs solely over the internet and encompasses all necessities of our lives, Amazon is doing just the way it should. The growth of Amazon brand value was unveiled by Statista.com and it shows how between the years of 2000 and 2012, it had taken its worth to almost $20K million.
  • The net sales revenue of Amazon that was $6.92 billion in 2004, reached a mind-boggling $74.45 billion in 2013.
  • The estimated revenue of Amazon Web Services was $99 million in 2006. It has now reached a staggering $2,537.26 in 2014.
  • According to FrugalDad, Amazon’s $34 billion Annual revenues are now larger than the GDPs of half the countries in the world. For example, Honduras which has a $15.3 billion annual GDP of the country, Sierra Leone which has a $1.9 billion, and Rwanda which has a $5.5 billion GDP.
  • Amazon’s S3 Cloud Platform can store 82 books for every person on earth. This is great news because that is enough e-books to save a forest double the size of Alaska’s Tongass National Park, which is the United States’ largest forest.

This huge Amazonian empire that Jeff Bezos built in 1994 has made the accessibility of things faster and cheaper than anywhere else. Those who are too slow to catch up, the brick and mortar retailers and other e-tailers, risk perishing in the midst of online shopping business frenzy. To gauge the current Fire Phone purchase intent, we have created a short poll we would like you to participate in:

About The Author

Kelvin Stiles is a tech enthusiast and works as a marketing consultant at SurveyCrest – FREE online survey software and publishing tools for academic and business use. He is also an avid blogger and a comic book fanatic.