The Amazon Effect: Part Two

Amazon Effect 02
In this two-part series, The Amazon Effect, we explore five strategies Amazon employs to succeed in ecommerce. Read Part One here, then continue with this post for two more keys to the ecommerce giant’s success.

Competing with Amazon: is it even possible? Sure, the ecommerce giant boasts wide selection, consistent users, and a global presence to make good on those 600 purchases per second. But that doesn’t mean the E-Giant, known for the bar-raising standard The Amazon Effect, is unstoppable.

“There is a way for you to beat the giant if you use your expertise in your market and combine it with technology to do things that weren’t achievable before.” Rick Wilson, President, Miva, Inc.

In Part One of The Amazon Effect series, we explored how a customer-centric approach, free shipping, and personalization have contributed to the company’s growth.

The following are two more factors to Amazon’s success in ecommerce:

Amazon Innovates—Relentlessly

As if Amazon couldn’t rise any higher, Fast Company named the E-Giant the Most Innovative Company of 2017. The key?

“Our job is to invent new options that nobody’s ever thought of before and see if customers like them.” -Jeff Bezos, CEO, Amazon

In the past year alone, Amazon introduced a number of new ways to meet customers where they’re at, including:

  • Amazon Locker: a service for users in New York, London, and Seattle who don’t want packages shipped to work and can’t get to the post office before it closes
  • Amazon Flow: an app which lets users snap pictures of products to add them automatically to their Amazon shopping list
  • Amazon Dash: a button which enables Prime members to reorder home goods with the click of a button
  • Amazon Go: A convenience store allowing shoppers to walk in and out without ever interacting with a clerk
  • Amazon Prime Air: Package delivery under five pounds in thirty minutes or less using drones

Calling on drones to deliver product in just thirty minutes? It’s certainly a risk—one journalists and consumers were quick to pick apart. But it’s a risk they’re willing to take. The Amazon CEO refuses to let fear stop him from venturing into murky waters. He even swallowed a future of failure, knowing that success would follow the fall.

In the eyes of Jeff Bezos, inventing new ways to connect to customers and enable a more seamless, intuitive shopping experience is what the Amazon Effect is all about.

Related: Futureproofing Your Business: Industry Insights From MivaCon 2017

Amazon: It Just Works

Remember when fulfilling an order required several pieces of software? You, or someone who worked for you, would have to log in to every system and update the data—by hand.

Perhaps you still run business this way: a disjointed process resulting in redundancy, errors, and an unnecessary amount of time and labor.

Sure, Amazon experienced growing pains, too. But today their workflow is so seamless, customers can expect to log into one site to place, track, or return an order with ease. 

So how does Amazon effectively fulfill orders for a widespread customer base?

  • A massive technology core with the three largest Linux databases in the world, and a data warehouse made of 28 servers running large-scale database software. (HowStuffWorks)
  • A bevy of distribution centers, allowing customers near high-traffic areas to receive product in two days or less.
  • A mix of machine and human magic. While Amazon’s computer system calculates the order size, a real person packs the items in a box. A machine then weighs the order and if anything seems off, an associate will verify it.
  • Vendor relationships across the world promising discounts, even at the compromise of fast shipping.
  • Investing in physical storefronts. As many retailers have closed up shop to move online, Amazon is working to implement brick-and-mortar shops for even faster delivery.

Related: How to Make Free Shipping Work for You

You may not have the luxury of working from warehouses across the globe. But with the technology available today, you have the opportunity to optimize process for a seamless, unified experience—for your end user, and your backend.


Stay tuned for the follow-up series, Competing with E-Giants, for tangible tips to dominate your category. With your market expertise and the technology at hand, beating your E-Giant is within reach.