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50 amazing Amazon.com facts to inspire any company

Posted on June 26, 2017 by Rob Petersen

amazon.com facts

Amazon.com facts are especially relevant now. With Amazon making some of the most expensive company acquisitions in the most unlikely industries, there is lots of speculation as to why and what is really going on.

Often, the best way to predict what a company will do in the future is to examine what they’ve done in the past.

The largest retailers on the planet are WalMart and CVS. Amazon.com is third and closing. But unlike numbers one and two, Amazon has never manufactured a single, physical product; nor does it have a brick and mortar storefront.

Instead, Amazon focuses on selection, price and convenience to make customers’ lives easier and better. And every transaction occurs through a website. It’s been an incredible journey; one that still feels like it’s just getting started.

Here are 50 amazing Amazon.com facts to inspire any company.

HUMBLE BEGINNINGS

  1. CEO Jeff Bezos chose Amazon.com as the company name for two reasons: 1) Back then, website listing were often in alphabetical order and 2) to suggest scale (Amazon.com launched with the tagline, “Earth’s biggest book store), (Business Insider)
  2. The first book Amazon.com ever sold was from Bezos’ garage in July 1995. The book was Fluid Concepts & Creative Analogies: Computer Models of Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought. (Business Insider)
  3. Amazon’s logo shows a smile from A to Z in the name signifying “the company is willing to deliver everything to everyone, anywhere in the world.” (Business Insider)
  4. Bezos originally wanted to call his company Cadabra (as in ‘Abracadabra,’) but scrapped the idea after someone misheard the moniker as ‘cadaver.’  (Entrepreneur)
  5. Another early contender was Relentless.com, a web address that still redirects users to Amazon today. (Entrepreneur)
  6. As a cost-savings measure in its early days, Amazon constructed desks from cheap doors and sawed-off two-by-fours. The company still reportedly hands out a “Door Desk Award” to employees who help implement any particularly thrifty ideas. (Business Insider)
  7. In Amazon’s early days, when it sold only books, a bell would ring in the office every time someone made a purchase. (BuzzFeed)
  8. During Amazon’s first month in business, it received orders from customers in 50 US states and 45 countries across the world. (MSN)
  9. In the company’s first year, Bezos hired mobile billboards to drive by Barnes & Noble stores displaying the question ‘Can’t find that book you wanted?’ along with Amazon’s website address. (MSN)
  10. In 1997, Barnes & Noble sued Amazon, alleging that ‘Earth’s Largest Bookstore’ was a false claim. They eventually settled out of court with Amazon continuing to use their slogan. (MSN)
  11. Biographer Brad Stone describes Bezos’ laugh as “a cross between a mating elephant seal and a power tool.” (See here.)  (Entrepreneur)
  12. Bezos met his wife, MacKenzie, when he was working at a hedge fund in the nineties. “My office was next door to his, and all day long I listened to that fabulous laugh,” she told Vogue in 2013. “How could you not fall in love with that laugh?” (Entrepreneur)

COMPANY CULTURE

  1. Amazon.com employees spend two days every two years working at the customer service desk, even the CEO. This practice is to help all workers understand the customer service process. (Business Insider)
  2. PowerPoint presentations, for instance, are banned by the company. Instead, all meetings begin with a silent, 30-minute reading session about the topic at hand. This is to emphasize critical thinking over oversimplified stats. (Entrepreneur)
  3. Amazon encourages teamwork, but suggests that teams on each project are limited to the number of people who could theoretically be fed by two pizzas. (Entrepreneur)
  4. In 1998 the company was dramatically under-staffed for the Christmas holiday season rush. Amazon.com facts reported that every employee had to take a graveyard shift in the fulfillment centers to meet demand with many bringing their friends and family in to help too. (MSN)
  5. To ensure that doesn’t happen again, Amazon now hires a record amount of staff over the holiday season. This year it’s creating 100,000 seasonal positions across its US network of fulfillment and sorting centers. (MSN)
  6. Amazon launched a Pay to Quit program in 2014. If a worker hands in their resignation, they’ll get $3,000. By 2017, the amount is expected to be $5,000 (£3,320.42; $AU6,897.36). Less than 10% of the first wave of staffers offered the deal took them up on it. (MSN)
  7. A handful of former Amazon employees have gone on to found blockbuster companies of their own, including Jason Kilar, the founder of Hulu and Vessel, and Charlie Cheever, the creator of Quora. (Entrepreneur)

CUSTOMER VALUE

  1. Amazon serves 137 customers a week (Vault)
  2. Amazon’s unique users are 5X more valuable than eBay’s. Amazon’s average unique user brings in about $189 while eBay’s bring in just $39. (Business Insider)
  3. Amazon Kindle owners spend approximately $1,233 per year buying stuff from Amazon. (BarnRaisers)
  4. Amazon Prime members spend $1,340 annually. (BarnRaisers)
  5. One in every 10 Americans — 10.7% of the population, to be exact — has an Amazon Prime membership. (Motley Fool)
  6. When the same-day Prime service was launched in Manhattan, New York, the company claims one customer got their item – an Easy-Bake Oven – in a record 23 minutes. (MSN)
  7. Amazon’s fastest order delivered to date was a four-pack of Starbucks Vanilla Frappuccino to a customer in Miami. The delivery was made in under 10 minutes. (Motley Fool)
  8. Pause for one second. Amazon just shipped 35 items in that time frame. (Motley Fool)

CURRENT SIZE AND SCALE

  1. Amazon.com facts show it took almost seven years for Amazon to start making any real money. It was January 2002 before it reported its first profitable quarter, making a modest $5 million. (MSN)
  2. In late 2015 Amazon reported that it had more than 270 million active customer accounts worldwide, and was shipping to more than 75 countries. (MSN)
  3. Amazon is ranked #3 in Fortune Magazine’s World’s Most Admired Companies (Fortune)
  4. Amazon.com is the 10th most visited website in the world
  5. Amazon.com once went down for 49 minutes and the company missed nearly $5.7 million in sales. (Business Insider)
  6. Amazon owns the patent on any 1-Click online checkout process. Other companies wanting to offer one-click checkout must license the patent from Amazon. However, Amazon’s patent on the technology will disappear in 2017. (Motley Fool)
  7. Amazon licenses its 1-Click patent to Apple. (BuzzFeed)
  8. Amazon has more than 117,000 employees worldwide. (BuzzFeed)
  9. Amazon’s fulfillment center is Phoenix, Arizona, is 1.2 million square feet. It’s the equivalent of 28 football fields. (BuzzFeed)
  10. To ease the burden in retrieving products for warehouse workers, Amazon uses robots. (BuzzFeed)
  11. Amazon counts the CIA as one of its customers, after it secured a $600 million deal with the agency in 2013 for cloud computing storage, which is part of Amazon Web Services. (MSN)
  12. Google went on record claiming that Amazon is its biggest competitor in search advertising. (Motley Fool)
  13. On Cyber Monday 2014, Amazon.com facts show the company sold more than 300 items per second. (MSN)
  14. Forbes estimates the company’s net worth sits at $175.1 billion, (MSN)
  15. Amazon’s founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is now worth $59.4 billion, (MSN)

ACQUISITIONS

  1. In 2009, Amazon acquired Zappos for $1.2 billion. (Mashable)
  2. Amazon.com fact show the company owns 10% of North American E-Commerce, Office Depot, Staples, Apple, Dell and WalMart. (Business Insiders)
  3. In 2013, in an unexpected move, Bezos purchased The Washington Post for $250 million. (Entrepreneur)
  4. Though Amazon has recently posted eye-popping profits, the company has been mostly unprofitable throughout its seismic rise. While investors have grumbled about this fact for years, others continue to be encouraged by the company’s explosive sales and growing investments. (Entrepreneur)
  5. Amazon is so reliant on robots for order fulfillment that it purchased robotics and automation provider Kiva Systems for $775 million in 2012. As of early 2015, Amazon employed a fleet of 15,000 robots. (Motley Fool)
  6. Amazon is offering $13.7 billion for Whole Foods but other companies including WalMart, Target and Krogers are likely to make bids (CNN)
  7. Amazon is focused on providing more of the services that make customer’s lives easier and better. It focuses on selection, price and convenience (Forbes)
  8. Amazon didn’t invent many of the services it offers today, it simply makes services easier and better. (Forbes)

When a company is able to make its customers’ lives easier and better by focusing on selection, price and convenience, there is no end to what it can accomplish. Only the next big thing that will delight them.

Do these Amazon.com facts help you to see where Amazon is going? Do these Amazon.com facts inspire you about innovations possible for your company?

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