Amazon – An eCommerce Study

You need to set up and organize so that you can do as many experiments per unit of time as possible. If doing an experiment costs $100 million and takes three years, well, you’re not going to be able to do very much innovation.
Jeff Bezos –

Amazon’s behavioral segmentation/targeting procedure’s are an excellent sales promotion campaign. I have recently become a customer of Amazon, purchasing music in MP3 format (interestingly, Amazon’s client side software, Amazon MP3 Downloader, is adept at recognizing the preferential music playback format and automatically loads the content to my Window’s Media Player). After the first purchase, the landing page became “Recommendations for Gregory.”

After a series of purchases, the recommendations became amazingly on point. Older albums that I had owned in the past were listed, and newer releases that I was unfamiliar with I found to be intriguiging, much in line with my tastes. I would surmise that Amazon does a tremendous amount of data mining to achieve such behavioral segmentation results. One can only wonder at the investment in software programming that Amazon expended, yet their efforts, at least in my case, have paid off handsomely; intially I had only planned to purchase a single album, and to date have bought over $100.00 in product. Given that I am an informed insider to such upsell techniques, I presume that the typical customer must also be induced to repeat purchase. Thus, Amazon’s behavioral segmentation/targeting has to be considered as a prime example.

  • Is the marketing strategy of focusing on long-term rather than short-term goals a wise one?
    I would have to say yes. Long-term goals are an investment. I have in the past been employed in many sales positions, including marketing my own services as a professional performer (magic illusions). At one point in the mid-’70’s, I sold new and used cars. That was truly an educational experience. I discovered two distinct types of salesmen: those focused on the long-term, and those focused on the short-term. The former tended to be established professionals, and after time developed many repeat customers. The latter were known as “road runners”; these were rather unscrupulous characters that would hire on to an agency and sell to family, friends, etc., and after exhausting their client base, would move to another dealership and restart the process with a different brand. Those focused on short-term goals rarely lasted in the business, while those focused on long-term goals found lasting success. In a broader sense, I believe the same applies to eCommerce concerns, and for the same reasons.
  • What factors do you think helped eventually yield a profit?
    Several factors assisted Amazon in their search for monetization. Primarily was Bezo’s early awareness of what many are trying to learn in today’s market, that of successful Social Media Marketing campaigns. By creating a “community minded” business model, he developed and nurtured a client base that became fiercely loyal. Rule #1 is that everyone wants a part in the decision-making process, however small that role may be. Additionally, Amazon focused on growth rather than immediate profitability. Here again we witness the wisdom of long-term vs. short-term goals.
  • When do current monetary losses start to negatively affect future profitability?
    When the losses out-distance the ability to recover them. A prime example seen in the past has been that of online grocery delivery services; invariably, each failed due to an inability to successfully stock and sell perishable items, particularly those with a short shelf life. Inflexibility can be another problem; refusal to change business practices in the face of obvious failure. Nature has historically taught that those species unable to evolve with changing conditions tend to go extinct.
  • Can a business have a large customer base and still fail financially?
    In the event that said customer base is failing to generate profit via adequate sales, either new or repeat business, then yes, without question. Many niche markets can adequately keep a business afloat when properly engaged, where mass markets offer no guarantee of success when improperly managed.
  • Would you adopt for yourself, or recommend to others, this marketing strategy?
    Given that Amazon’s tenaciousness and long-term outlook, as well as their willingness toward community engagement, by all means. One of the most important considerations that must be made when establishing an eCommerce concern is the understanding that there is no magic bullet. One must be prepared for the long haul, willing to change with current market conditions, and posess solid business and revenue models to achieve profitability. The dot-com boom proved that there are no quick fixes.

About Grannelle

eMarketing Scholar
This entry was posted in e-Commerce, Education, Online Marketing, Social Media and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Amazon – An eCommerce Study

  1. Mike10613 says:

    Hi Greg,

    Interesting blog. I’m confused by Amazon because I check out products for friends! They haven’t got it quite right, they still try to sell you things after you have bought them. They always try to sell me Chopin CD’s and cartridges for my printer! I’m such a Luddite. I think you might be better using the ‘more’ tag to get more posts on you home page and maybe add a ‘follow me’ on Twitter button. I use windows Live writer and I can edit the source code now to add the Twitter button. I write a blog a day and like the function to publish on a certain date at a certain time. I messed that up yesterday, was just finishing the blog when the doorbell rang. It was 2 hours later when I finished it and I clicked publish without setting a date and time. It was supposed to be published at 9 o’clock this morning! I’m doing OK though and my page views should be a personal best for this month. I’m over 4,000 and still a week to go! I get more at weekends if I build up to it by posting regularly through the week. People have more time at the weekend and regular posting helps my SEO. I’m trying to think of a cool name for a self hosted WordPress blog now, every one I think of doesn’t seem quite right. I want a name that is associated with being creative so it covers writing, art, photography and anything else I want to do! My most popular blog this week is about investing and everything to do with money seems in demand. It’s rained for a while here but the sun is shining now and so I hope to have an afternoon of photography. I have a list of things to photograph in my mind. A lake, a Victorian bridge and old railway station and maybe a Victorian hospital.

    Glad you’re back online. 🙂


    • Grannelle says:

      You never seem to have much to say, Mike. So laconic…

      Cool name for your self-hosted blog? The one that springs to mind – Renaissance Man! 😉


      • Grannelle says:

        By the way, dude, at the end of each post is a series of links, Share This, incl. Twitter. Simply access them and the article is posted to the chosen site!


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