Abstract The objective of this case study is to outline and provide a brief overview of Amazon. com’s (Amazon) mission, strategic direction, core competencies, relied technologies and their future impact of new technologies, and how management and use of consumer data will impact future business. In addition, we have analyzed Amazon’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in a SWOT analysis. Based on this analysis, and research, we have recommend a course of action as to how Amazon should respond to their weaknesses and threats and how best to leverage strengths to take advantage of available opportunities. Amazon’s Mission and Strategic Direction Amazon. com, Inc.
is an internet retailer headquartered in Seattle, Washington founded by CEO Jeff Bez os. Their mission and strategy is quite simply “to offer Earth’s Biggest Selection and to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they may want to buy online and [we] endeavor to offer our customers the lowest possible price.” 1 And, if they can’t help they will point the customer to a site that can. The company accomplishes this by operating six global internet sites: web web web web web and web Through their z Shops, auctions, affiliate program, Merchants@ and Amazon Marketplace programs, Amazon, and their sellers and partners, offer new and used collectibles and products in categories such as apparel and accessories, DVDs, electronics, computers, books, music, videos, cell phones, tools and hardware, the list is almost endless. In order to maintain quality, the company packages and ships all of its merchandise.
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They also continue to negotiate volume deals with suppliers to meet their goal of lowering prices. Additionally, Amazon has formed partnerships and alliances with publishers, other on-line retailers, technology providers, either handling their web site operations or linking brick-and-mortar entities to its virtual storefront. As part of their diversification strategy, Amazon recently acquired Internet Movie Database web (IMDb), which is an authoritative source of information on movie and entertainment. This acquisition is one of many Amazon is making expand its product and service offerings. The company is also preparing to sell internet domain names and already has received the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) approval. In order to improve customer service the company is investing in operational facilities, like its multi-lingual customer service support center in the Netherlands, to meet its rapid growth, increase selection and meet future operational needs while building efficiencies.
This strategy will help Amazon increase its low profit margin, decrease its operational cost, increase customer response and order processing services and pass that savings on to the customer. Amazon’s Core Competencies Amazon’s core competencies are in its ability to effectively use and develop technology to drive site traffic and enhance the customer experience. Their distinctive use of website real estate coupled with their ability to leverage their brand and effectively use that leverage to deliver low prices and high quality products, makes them a leader in online retailing. Their partner brands and their ability to adapt and recognize deficiencies enable them to effectively cut out the middle man, or at the very least, partner with them. Relied Technologies and Their Impact on Future Business Amazon strives to provide customers with the best possible online shopping experience by leveraging their powerful and innovative technologies. Part of the company’s competitiveness lies in their proprietary technology, which is licensed to companies like Target to run their e-commerce site.
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Its patented portal technology allows the customer to customize their on-line experience with personalized home page, product recommendations, email notifications on orders and new products, the ability to post reviews, 1-click ordering, search functions, up selling, and secure shopping cart functions, to name a few. Furthermore, they use technology to drive customer relationships. As an example, the company uses pop up daughter windows to quiz customers about Amazon. These pop up windows survey the customer about Amazon related facts and in return the customer can get up to. 25 cents a day put in their account for answering questions.
Building on this use of technology the company recently received patent approval and plans to add a chat function to enhance the customer experience and help consumers find products through each other. Through its Web Services development and affiliate program it encourages web site owners and developers to create applications capable of interacting with Amazon’s catalog, search engine, shopping cart and merchandising tools. In an effort to remain competitive and preempt new technology Amazon has an ongoing program to develop, update and add software and hardware including partnerships like it’s recently inked deal with Google. com. This will allow them to avoid service disruptions; slow response times, poor levels of customer service, and delays in information delivery.
When all is said and done, Amazon wouldn’t stay ahead of the game without their ability to create and use innovative technologies. How Amazon’s Website Image Supports Its Mission Amazon uses its proprietary technology to transform the online purchasing experience into the easiest and most enjoyable shopping experience online. The site communicates to the customer a visual feel of being in a one stop shop where they can find and purchase virtually anything they want. The site loads quickly, is easily navigated, allows the customer to instantly see an array of products, and provides a host of other customer driven enhancements designed to drive customer satisfaction.
... in quality and impact. Current technology makes the Web limited in format, which constrains the quality of Web advertising, and the ads are ... source for news. Yahoo's customers use dozens of their other services like free email and online maps, things the dominant media ... today as a branding tool cannot be achieved by Web ubiquity either. Amazon. com and Priceline. com seem to be everywhere on ...
Amazon’s site conveys to the customers they can have it their way, all day. And by placing its image on everything it touches Amazon continually reinforces its brand, making it one of the most recognized customer-centric brands in the world. Amazon’s Management & Use of Consumer Data Part of Amazon’s asset is their data warehousing capabilities and its effective use of that data. Their data warehouse contains information on people who shop at Amazon. com and its sister and affiliate sites and is driven on internally developed software. Amazon uses this information to continue their building of customer relationships, evaluate market trends and to conduct business transactions.
Amazon’s main concern will be making sure it has the computer systems to house the massive amounts of data it collects from customers. With the recent change in its warehousing software and hardware (switching from Sun servers to the cheaper Unix servers) to keep up with growth, Amazon has made management and security of consumer data an important part of their overall business plan. SWOT Analysis & Recommended Courses of ActionStrengthso Largest e-trailer with lion’s share of the e-commerce market. o Strong brand position and brand associations.
o Large and loyal customer base. o Highly effective advertising and marketing. o Effective use of technology and partnerships. o Ability to quickly adapt to changes. o Strong entry into international markets.
o Smart, motivated and trained employees with compensation tied to performance goals. o Recent positive cash flow. o Low overhead and on hand stock levels. Weaknesses o Loss of focus on core products. o Customer service deficiencies. o Weak economy which could lead to low sales.
o High advertising and marketing costs due to no brick-and-mortar presence. Threats Unexpected changes in regulatory requirements both in the U. S. and abroad. o International issues – Export and import restrictions, tariffs and other trade barriers, fluctuations in currency rates, political instability, longer payment cycles, adverse tax consequences, seasonal reductions of business activity in parts of the world, and difficulties in staffing and managing foreign operations. o Buy.
... additional and diversified hosting capabilities, ensuring e Bay users of continued site access.' (Regan, K. , (2002) "EBay Turns to Intel To ... April 2002 from MSN Money, web ground for fraud. ) One of the concepts that the online auctions were started with was the ... one site, have been eliminated. The total does not include Amazon. com Auctions. Source: Jupiter Media Metrix (Mulrean, J. , 5 steps ...
com (promising 10% lower prices), BarnesandNoble. com (especially with new owner and media giant Bertelsmann AG’s deep pockets) and an increase migration of other brick and mortar retailers to the internet. Opportunities Selling of developed technologies o Extension of brands into new areas. o International expansion.
o Opportunities with non-competitive businesses for mutual benefit. 1. Recommendation Amazon is on-track and despite nay-sayers has become the retail giant of the internet. In order to keep and maintain its competitive edge, I would recommend Amazon continue to enhance and improve their responsiveness, features and functionality of their website. Effectively continue its international expansion while paying close attention to international threats. Continue improvements in its customer service functions with facility additions / upgrades .
In addition, Amazon should apply more focus on its core products – books, DVDs, and music CD’s while continuing its development of relevant and high quality partnerships that will pass on discounts to its customers. Possible future partnerships could involve companies like AT&T who is currently developing a “web cents” card for online shopping. This partnership could also lead to technology developments which Amazon already uses to leverage its position. All in all Amazon should do well if it continues to stay true to its mission – the customer. References: Amazon.
com, “Investor Relations,”About Amazon. com,”Annual Report,”Privacy Notice,” , “Web Services,” web Online, May 2003, web Simon, “The Right Fit,” web Online, May 2003 web content. htmlDignan, Larry, “The Day Ahead: Dot-come grow up, chief execs step out,” web Online, May 2003, Fool. com, “Amazon’s CEO Letters,” web Online, May 2003, web Karen J.
, “Book Battle,” Media Week,” EBSCOhost, Online, May 2003, Vol. 10 Issue 9, P 72, 2 p, 5 c Hoovers. com, “Profile,” web Online, May 2003, web 51493, 00. html Fortune. com, “Amazon: Can Amazon Be Saved? ,” web Online, May 2003, web.
... . By 1998, Amazon started expanding into international markets and new products categories, turning into an online superstore and providing ... and enhance the online shopping experience continued and, in 1999, Amazon.com was one of the first online retailers to enable ... Amazon’s business model had expanded from offering a simple internet marketplace for books to providing web services to online ...