Was there life before Amazon?

Can Anyone Remember A World Without Amazon?

This year Amazon will turn 25. Even for those of us well outside of the Millennials bracket, it’s difficult to remember a time when the global giant wasn’t around to pander to our every need in super-fast time.

Not your average book seller

So, what really is the secret behind the success of Amazon and its founder Jeff Bezos (now the world’s richest man)? Taking a whistle-stop tour through the history of the company and the decisions it has taken, it’s fairly safe to say the success has mostly been down to excellent decision making and a deep and true understanding of what people want.

Amazon started out as an on-line book retailer in 1994 and, even after a very impressive first 5 years of trading and early diversification successes, Jeff Bezos famously remarked in 1999 that;

“There’s no guarantee that Amazon.com can be a successful company. What we’re trying to do is very complicated,”

This may have been somewhat humble of Mr. Bezos, who most probably knew that his business was already well embedded in our lives (in US culture at least) and was on a trajectory to mega success.

Stocks and market shares

From a very early stage, Amazon realised that the world did not need just another company coming to sell the same items which were already available elsewhere. In fact they concentrated on the limitations of the competitors which, in the case of books, was the lack of space to stock a wide and diverse range. Enter the first of the mega warehouse spaces where even the most niche titles could be made available to those who had in the past been let down by the high street book sellers and their ‘storage averse’ expensive square footage.

Change prediction

The demise of the traditional shopping environment was one which was identified early by Mr. Bezos and co. much earlier than others who now simply form a long list of advisors trying to ‘fix’ the changing landscape we all recognise in our own hometowns and cities. Amazon predicted the fade in popularity of the shopping mall which had long-since been the leisure choice of many a US citizen and ‘hang-out’ for socialising teens. Ironic in some sense, as the fast growth and dominance of this on-line retailer is now often identified as the sole cause of the high street retail sector. Whilst it is true to say that the convenience of Amazon does little to ‘stop the rot’, it appears that the move away from physically visiting retail spaces was already underway prior to its arrival on the scene.

Focussing on what matters

At RDZ we often speak of the modification in needs of current and future generations; a shift change from material possessions to more experience-based choices. Now, this may at first glance to go against the very idea of Amazon (in that the platform offers us a gazillion material purchase options) but, in truth, Jeff Bezos was one of the very first leaders to express his belief that a business needed to focus on entertainment and convenience to survive. This belief recognised that leisure would play a much more important role than it had done in the past and that the desire to spend more time on self, family and friends demanded that mundane tasks (i.e. buying stuff we need) would have to be done much faster. Very early in the Amazon journey came the understanding that the click would be King, for everything from pet food to luxury, high-value items.

The smooth which comes with the rough

Whilst this on-line goliath has experienced majorly negative criticism for some of its practices, there are a number of actions for which Mr. Bezos and his associates must be applauded. In our opinion, the areas where Amazon have illustrated their strength of character are:

  • Their ‘Heads Down’ focus on the customer – never forgetting that their customer base is in fact their business
  • Their recognition of the need to predict and consider the longer term – even when facing short term challenges
  • Spending and investing for the future strategy – cutting prices, offering free delivery and developing technology and in doing so, foregoing annual profit for 10 years

A case study for success

Love them or loathe them, Amazon have provided many an aspiring business with a living and breathing case study, a tutorial in believing and achieving. The numbers might be bigger – after all the chances of having a trillion dollar business with 575,000 employees might be more than some could ever wish for – but there is much in the way of focus and strategy which one has to look upon with true admiration. We will watch with much interest as the next Amazon chapter begins with the launch of its aerospace division, Blue Origin, into space – a literal launch indeed!

Posted in

Rachel Hargrave

Rachel has over 30 years of local, regional, national and international communications experience and expertise across a wide variety of clients including FTSE 100 companies, SMEs, micro businesses and start-ups. She also has extensive charity, Not-For-Profit and Community Interest Company experience and happily offers clients working in these areas a 50% discount on all RDZ PR rates.

No risk with a FREE initial 45 minute consultation

To find out exactly how we can help you achieve your ambitious goals get in touch with us today. Our initial meeting is completely FREE and we promise you’ll leave with three brand new ideas that you can take away and implement immediately.

For your FREE consultation simply pick up the phone and call us today on:

What Our Clients Say...

Sangeeta Patel, Joint CEO, Reaching People

Rachel provided us with a day of free support in association with the LLEP programme. Despite it being ‘free’ Rachels support was professional and dedicated. We received a full day of practical support including a discussion to fully understand our organisation, an assessment of our need, the production of a communications and marketing plan that was realistic, manageable and practical aimed at helping us move ahead on the communications front and, ultimately, with our organisational objectives. Rachel achieved so much in the time she had including writing and issuing a press release that appeared in the Leicester Mercury, wording for our website homepage and a letter to go with our membership pack. She also shared her hints and tips about social media, her press contacts and she connected me with a potential Reaching People member! In all it was an invaluable experience. Thank you, Rachel for giving up your time to help us.

Heather Johnson, Botanical Artist & Stationery Designer

I went on one of Rachel’s introduction to PR workshops and it was fantastic. She covered absolutely everything, explained it all in an understandable way and didn’t try to sell anything. She gave as much information as possible, answered all questions and she was just lovely. I would highly recommend Rachel for anything to do with PR and won’t hesitate to use her services in the future.

Ravi Summan

I was introduced to Rachel by an executive coach. My requirements were to provide quality, simple to understand content to engage with my target market and generate new customer enquiries in health and wellbeing. From my first discussion with Rachel, it was clear that she had the skills and empathy to provide a service to support the growth of my business. Rachel’s content writing and editing is very effective and her diligence ensures the right message is articulated. It is no surprise to me she has a strong track record of helping entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes support their growth. Aside from her professional competencies, Rachel genuinely cares about people and working with her allows you to focus on your core business. For those who are new to building their own business or employed by a large corporate, you will get value and authenticity from Rachel’s content and PR services.

Jayne McIntosh, Director, Air Aesthetics Health & Wellness Clinics

I met with Rachel and was instantly impressed with her warmth, enthusiasm and ability to understand the key issues being faced. She took time to clarity objectives and the key tasks required. A quick study she was able to pinpoint the brand tone of voice accurately. Rachel’s’ copy writing skills have been excellent. She has written for my business website, advertorial pages in lifestyle magazine and has also written first class responses to awards entries which are curtailed in length. Rachel is just really, really good!

Victoria Curtis, Company Secretary, Mono Roofing Ltd

Rachel came to provide our company with an appraisal for the company PR, and we learnt an awful lot! Rachel taught us how to make the most of our marketing and advertising and how to make it work for us, to get the client’s we really want. Rachel has provided our company with a plan to follow, and we are gradually implementing these procedures, and we know that in doing so, it will really raise the profile of our company and get us the work we want. I would definitely recommend Rachel to manage your company’s PR.

Trusha Lakhani, MD, Great Business Matters t/a Trusha Lakhani

Rachel Hargrave is one of the best PR experts that I have met. She not only understands the best awards for her clients but also how to make the most of the opportunity for the client’s personality. Put simply Rachel gets people. She understands her clients and their goals and is with you all the way. I highly recommend Rachel Hargrave and The Awards people and RDZ PR.

Paul Gerrard, MD, Gerrard Cranes

Rachel and I met yesterday to discuss my existing marketing and options for how we can improve and develop the strategy for my business. It’s very clear that Rachel has vast amounts of experience, knowledge, ability and some great contacts to achieve some amazing results. If you need some professional guidance with PR/awards/marketing then I’d highly recommend you get in touch with Rachel and see how she can help you out.

Victoria Beale, CEO, Business Live Global

I’ve worked with Rachel for the past ten years on a variety of client projects and for my business also and the service we have received has been second to none, consistent and most importantly delivers RESULTS. I would have no hesitation recommending RDZ PR to my customers and Business Live Network. Thanks Rach! Here’s to another ten years and more!

Mark Esho MBE, Easy Internet Services, Easy Internet Solutions, Dreme, Access Rating CIC

Thanks for all the hard work you put into the PR work for our companies and subsequently the business award submissions. You made the whole process stress-free, and the quality of the submissions have resulted in the receipt of multiple business awards. Great work, Rachel.