Image Source: CNBC
E-commerce came from being a trendy way to shop to an absolute necessity. Especially amid the trying times of the pandemic, the demand for online shopping platforms ballooned even more. Leading the industry is e-commerce giant Amazon. Twenty-six years since its founding in 1994, Amazon has completely dominated the industry, thanks to Jeff Bezos’ “Get Big Fast” strategy.
Today, Amazon is seen as a one-stop-shop for anything and everything from books, electronics, fashion, automotive parts and accessories, home and kitchen supplies, and more, catering to customers in virtually every part of the world. Amazon reports an annual revenue of $61.09 billion, employs over 97,000 employees, with a surge of workers hired seasonally. Holding the title as “The world’s largest online retailer,” Amazon has successfully skyrocketed its market value to $1 trillion. Besides direct retail, Amazon has also created its own line of products such as Amazon Prime Video, Amazon Music, Twitch, Kindle, and Amazon Echo.
Amazon traced back its beginning in 1994. At 30 years old, founder and CEO Jeff Bezos realized the fast-paced progress in the digital space and how it can change people’s purchasing culture. Leveraging on his experience as an executive in Wall Street, Bezos aimed to create a revolutionary platform that would ride the internet revolution. Originally called Cadabra, Bezos and his small team converted his garage into the company’s primary base of operation. Bezos decided on selling books because of their low cost and vast international demand.
A former employee shared that they used to ring a bell every time they received a purchase. Only a month later, Bezos and his team had to remove the bell because it had to ring more frequently than expected. Eventually, Cadabra was changed to Amazon because it sounded like “Cadaver.” At first, Bezos decided on Relentless.com, which the company retained as a domain until today. Eventually, the founder named the platform Amazon, appealing to him as it bore the same name as the greatest river of South America.
In 1999, Amazon welcomed more products to its platform, selling other goods than books. Bezos soon grew his empire to include electronics, toys, and kitchen materials. In the same year, Bezos caught the public’s eye as he was chosen to be Time Magazine’s 1999 Person of the Year. Despite its growth, Bezos had his apprehensions about the company’s success. “When we first started selling books four years ago, everybody said, ‘Look, you’re just computer guys, and you don’t know anything about selling books.’ And that was true,” said the young CEO in a 1999 statement.
Zooming into 2018, Amazon had the largest market share in the online retailing industry, boasting 45% shares amounting to over $524 billion in sales. Twenty-six years later, Amazon has acquired companies from various industries. LoveFilm, The Book Depository, GoodReads, Zappos, Audible.com, China’s Joyo.com, Box Office Mojo, and Toby Press, to name a few.
In an interview, Jeff Bezos shared a piece of advice for startup entrepreneurs. “We are stubborn on vision. We are flexible on details…. We don’t give up on things easily. Our third-party seller business is an example of that. It took us three tries to get the third-party seller business to work. We didn’t give up. If you’re not stubborn, you’ll give up on experiments too soon. And if you’re not flexible, you’ll pound your head against the wall, and you won’t see a different solution to a problem you’re trying to solve.”