Is Amazon the most innovative company in retailing?
When it comes to Amazon.com, some people see a retailer driven to test new approaches and cut its losses quickly if those attempts don’t pan out. Others see a company that just throws things against the wall because it doesn’t have to worry about turning a profit. (That comes from its non-retail AWS business.) So, is Amazon an innovative retail juggernaut or a charlatan hiding behind world-class marketing and public relations? Fast Company thinks it is the former and has just named Amazon the most innovative company in the world.
Among Amazon’s most innovative qualities, according to the publication, is its emphasis on developing platforms that allow customers to fulfill their needs on their own terms.
“Our customers are loyal to us right up until the second somebody offers them a better service,” Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, told Fast Company. “And I love that. It’s super-motivating for us.”
Among the company’s innovations are its Prime subscription program, which has gone beyond free two-day deliveries to offer an array of perks that are both valuable to members and difficult for rivals to match. Bain Capital estimates that up to 60 million households in the U.S. have Prime members.
Superior execution in order fulfillment has also been key to Amazon’s success. The company’s huge automated fulfillment centers, which run using tech picked up in the acquisition of Kiva Systems in 2012, are essential to that performance.
Other innovations include Amazon’s voice-activated Echo devices, which have reportedly sold in the millions while becoming fixtures in many connected homes.
The company has also ventured into physical retail with Amazon Books and its Go convenience store pilot as well as a host of pop-ups around the country that feature its own-brand consumer electronics including Echo, Fire TV, Fire Tablets and Kindle devices. The company is also reported to be getting ready to open three pick-up grocery stores in Seattle and Northern California that are designed to build on its AmazonFresh service in those markets.
- Why Amazon Is The World’s Most Innovative Company Of 2017 – Fast Company
- Amazon offers yet more perks for Prime members with a cash-back card – RetailWire
- Will the tech behind Amazon Go redefine convenience at retail? – RetailWire
- At Amazon Books, only Prime members get the best price – RetailWire
- Has Amazon fundamentally changed the way Americans shop? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you agree or disagree that Amazon.com is the most innovative company in U.S. retailing today? What are the true benchmarks for innovation in retailing? What other retailers that you think of when it comes to innovation?