Amazon’s CEO Focused on Customer

Discussion
Oct 01, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson


Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com’s chief executive is focused on the customer.


In a recent interview, he told BusinessWeek, “The vast majority of my time goes into customer-experience issues, because that’s what drives this business. At the beginning
of this year, we stopped doing broad-scale TV advertising, so we’ve basically gone away from things that aren’t customer-experience drivers. What has always driven our business
has been the focus on making that experience better in all the ways that matter to customers.”


What is the most important element of the customer experience? Mr. Bezos says it is price.


“It’s easy to lower prices,” he said. “The hard part is figuring out how to afford to do so. So we do a lot of work on cost structure. We’ve tested over the course of a year
[ideas that] culminated in free shipping on orders over $25. That has been very successful. Customers love it. At the beginning of this year, we made that permanent. It’s a very
expensive thing to do. But by working on cost structure, by not spending money on things like TV advertising, we can afford to do that, and the money goes into the hands of the
customers. We’re going to continue to do that. I’m an absolute zealot about that.”


Moderator’s Comment: What do you think are the most important lessons for other retailers trying to learn from the Amazon experience?


Mr. Bezos sounds almost as if he could be with Wal-Mart when he talks about driving costs out of the Amazon system to deliver lower priced goods to consumers.
[George
Anderson – Moderator
]

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