This podcast focuses on lessons from Amazon.com’s success based on its recent performance results and a few lessons and takeaways that can be beneficial to others. Now a lot has been talked about over the years on how Amazon has excelled in both customer experience as well as operational excellence. But as the company continues to improve and excel year after year, we are compelled to revisit the topic and its performance. Just recently, Amazon and Jeff Bezos released the annual shareholder letter describing the organization’s performance. That’s what we will discuss today.
We can learn a number of things from this report especially about how an organization like Amazon has achieved its current stature and position in the industry. In general, reports like these can be very useful in understanding the psyche of the organizations, what drives them to do better and excel, and then see the impact of that in the results and outcomes.
So, in this podcast, I will go over some of those points that Jeff Bezos has highlighted in that report and what others – both businesses as well as individuals – can learn from Amazon.
First, I would like to highlight some important facts that Jeff Bezos mentions in the opening of his letter. And that has to do with Amazon being ranked as number one in various customer surveys. Amazon it seems was ranked as number one in the American Customer Satisfaction Index for the 8th year in a row – it was also ranked number one for the 5th year in a row in the U.K. Customer Satisfaction Index, which is put out by the Institute of Customer Service – it was also ranked as the #1 business on LinkedIn’s 2018 Top Companies list – and it was number one for 3rd year in a row on the Reputation Quotient, which is released annually by the Harris Poll. For those who don’t know, Reputation Quotient issued by the Harris Poll quantifies the reputation ratings for the 100 most visible companies and they have been doing this for the last 19 years or so. Additionally, Amazons’ India site – Amazon.in – has become the fastest growing marketplace in India, and the most visited site on both desktop and mobile, and also boasts the most downloaded shopping app in India in 2017.
Jeff Bezos then goes on to highlight three elements that in his view drives this level of performance. He highlights them as unrelenting customer obsession, ingenuity, and commitment to operational excellence.
So, let’s look at Amazon’s performance on various fronts.
Before we get into the potential reasons for Amazon’s success, let’s briefly review its performance over the last year.
First, its prime membership has grown to exceed 100 million subscribers. That means 100 million subscribers consider it worthwhile and of value to pay the $99 annual membership fees. More than that, this membership has now expanded to include more countries outside the USA.
Second, Amazon’s cloud platform called AWS or Amazon Web Services has grown to provide thousands of cloud based services making it easier for cloud developers to build digital systems and applications. Also, the fact that it’s annual conference on cloud computing services exceeds 100,000 attendees and participants, says a lot about the popularity of its cloud computing services.
Third, Amazon marketplace that enables third party sellers to sell on Amazon has grown substantially. Although the actual number is not known but it is in the millions and just in 2017, 300,000 businesses started selling on the Amazon platform. That’s a staggering number of businesses and shows the power of the platform. If the sellers on the platform has reached such a high number, this naturally would attract even larger number of shoppers.
Fourth, Amazon has also started to venture in the brick and mortar business, something that is new for the organization. For ex