They say that the high street is dying. In some towns more than 30% of stores lie empty, as shoppers head to out-of-town shopping centres for many purchases, and rely on mail order for things that can wait.
Amazon is doing particularly well at the moment. It started life as a small, American online bookstore, and went on to become a multi-national concern. Today, the site has branches all over the world, and it doesn’t just sell books. You can buy games, toys, and even groceries via Amazon today, and they even have their own electronic device – the Kindle – an e-reader that will presumably secure Amazon’s future even if books go out of style.
Why is Amazon So Successful?
Part of Amazon’s success can be attributed to the fact that they got in ahead of the rush. Amazon was founded in 1995, during the height of the dot com boom. Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, started small, and while many of his competitors shot for rapid growth and mega-bucks, he was happy with slow but sustainable growth. Amazon survived when the dot-com bubble burst, and by then it was firmly entrenched in the minds of the public as the go-to place for hard to find books.
Amazon Make Things Easy
The challenge for any online retailer is persuading people to click for their products, rather than walk into the store. This is one thing that Amazon does really well. Once you’ve bought something from Amazon, buying again is easy thanks to their one-click purchasing tool. You pick the product you want, select the speed of delivery you prefer, and then sit back and relax.
Postage and Packing
Amazon has shipping down to a fine art. Where consumers may be nervous about buying from other online retailers that squeeze books into Jiffy bags that are the wrong size, Amazon has carefully designed cardboard sleeves which will protect most books, and uses cardboard boxes that are lovingly packed for larger orders.
While there will always be a demand for some form of physical product – whether that’s clothes, toys, or food, there’s a growing demand for digital distribution too. Amazon identified this, and has already got a strong digital distribution system for subscribing to premium blogs, downloading MP3s, and downloading ebooks. This ensures that even if we do end up in a future where cardboard boxes and jiffy bags are looked upon as being as quaint as the LP and analogue radio, Amazon will still be relevant.
It’s this forward thinking attitude that has made the company so strong, and so popular. Other retailers sell just one thing, and don’t even do that well. When you see cardboard boxes with the Amazon logo on them, the chances are good that they’ll contain a book – but that’s not the only thing they sell. That box could contain a DVD, a video game, or something completely different.
To the consumer, it doesn’t matter – all that matters is that they paid an acceptable price, and that the product got their safely on time. That is what Amazon does well, and that’s what makes them the future of shopping.