Amazon is one of the few web sites that really and totally has their act together. In the Fall of 1995, I made a presentation in Atlanta to a group of CEOs about the Internet. I showed them various web sites that I was fascinated with at the time, mostly related to engineering, scientific, government and academic projects. The word e-business had not yet been coined by IBM and there were not many exciting business web sites. One that seemed quite novel though was a small site called Amazon.com. I asked for a show of hands from those who had heard of Amazon. Not a single hand went up.
Amazon opened its virtual doors in July 1995 with a mission to “use the Internet to transform book buying into the fastest, easiest, and most enjoyable shopping experience possible” . During the next few years Amazon became very popular and it was hailed as not only the best web site, but also as the new model of how businesses of all kinds would operate. The stock climbed from obscurity to a market capitalization of nearly $50 billion. When the Internet bubble burst that value went down tremendously and skeptics said it would never get to that level again. It finished today at $55 billion.
Amazon customer service is second to none. In all these years I have never once heard of a disgruntled customer. The company continues to innovate. The Kindle has been a joy. Many of us have talked about wrap rage when it comes to packaging. Amazon is actually doing something about it. Fortunately, Jeff Bezos has small children and has experienced the impossibility of opening toys so he has pressured manufacturers to stop their bad packaging habits and has introduced Amazon Frustration-Free Packaging.
Some years ago I enabled an Amazon Store page here on patrickWeb and writing this story motivated me to spruce it up a bit. Feel free to try it out and please give me any feedback you want. If someone buys from the patrickWeb store, a small commission is generated from Amazon. Over the years it has amounted to roughly $25 per year and more than all of it goes to charity. Not likely I will be a threat to local retailers. I just like the idea of providing a link to an e-business that I think does a really great job for customers.
The newest Amazon innovation is their introduction of AmazonWireless – a new website by Amazon specializing in cell phones and wireless service plans and offering more than 140 bestselling phones from AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless. As only Amazon can do they will offer truly easy shopping without rebate hassles, and free two-day shipping. They will also make it easy for customers to upgrade their phone if they already have a plan, or if they want to establish new cell phone service, has tried to make it simple to find the right phone, service plan, and options. (Compared to the ineptitude of the carriers this should be easy). With all the familiar Amazon features like bestseller lists, detailed product descriptions, and customer reviews, I have no doubt this new part of Amazon will be a big success.