Business the Way: Secrets of the World's Most Astonishing Web Business

Work Study

ISSN: 0043-8022

Article publication date: 1 April 2000




(2000), "Business the Way: Secrets of the World's Most Astonishing Web Business", Work Study, Vol. 49 No. 2.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

Business the Way: Secrets of the World's Most Astonishing Web Business

Rebecca SaundersCapstoneISBN 1841120545£9.99

Keywords Business development, Internet, World Wide Web

There must be few people who are not aware of the tremendous success of Amazon - the prime example of the Web-based business and the pinnacle of e-commerce. The rest of the world (and especially the book trade) went to sleep, and when they woke up, Amazon was taking their business. How does someone (in this case Jeff Bezos) start a business on a shoestring with only a vision to sustain them and end up dominating their market (amassing a vast personal fortune on the way)? Remember, it is largely the success of Amazon that has fuelled the interest in the stock of high-tech and especially Web-based start-up companies.

First, success is based on understanding the technology and the people who use it. Bezos had studied computer science at Princeton and had used the Web extensively. He studied potential markets (he went into investment banking) and identified 20 products that he thought could be sold successfully over the Web. He investigated each and narrowed his short-list to five items. He decided, finally, on the book, because of the low sums involved in each transaction - a low risk for potential buyers who might be wary of buying over the Internet. He built a team, and cemented it in place by giving them healthy stock options. This has proved a masterstroke since the success of Amazon has made members of this team highly attractive to organisations wanting to emulate the success. The final part of the jigsaw of success was to build a highly effective distribution channel and to lock in the wholesalers - indeed, Amazon often does not stock rarer and hard-to-find titles, leaving them with the wholesalers and independent suppliers who can still meet the short turnaround times demanded by Amazon - and its customers.

Amazon has continues to innovate and pioneer. For example, the concept of syndicated selling by linking Amazon through to so many other Web sites where book sales can be originated.

Comment is often made that Amazon has yet to show a profit. This is true, but only because it has constantly re-invested its income to make the business bigger and better, through strategic acquisitions and alliances, and by improving its customer service. This book charts not just a successful e-commerce company, but a successful company under any breakdown or analysis. Highly recommended!

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