When Jeff Bezos first started an online book shop in his garage in 1994, even he would have struggled to envision the sheer size and impact of Amazon today. With the internet still in its infancy, Bezos' foresight on all things digital, combined with his passion for retail, enabled him to devise a revolutionary model for how consumers would one day purchase their goods.

Fast forward ten years, and Amazon has the infrastructure and the know-how to capitalise on an eCommerce market that was skyrocketing in popularity.

Skip ahead another fifteen years to the modern day, and 52% of consumers now look to Amazon for inspiration for their products, which begs the question: how did Jeff Bezos create a brand in the 90s that still resonates with millions of consumers today?

The creation of the service-led brand

Amazon has stood the test of time thanks to Bezos' focus on being service-led. In fact, in 1999, he famously wrote to his shareholders: "we consider customers to be loyal to us - right up until the second that someone else offers them a better service." This mantra certainly still resonates with his customers, with 75% wishing that all retailers offered the same level of services as Amazon.

Not only that, but his development of a service-led brand spearheaded Amazon's ability to address all of its customers' potential pain-points; offering variety, competitive pricing and next-day delivery - making Amazon synonymous with seamless customer experience. The company's sales over lockdown certainly testify to this, as its share in the eCommerce market swelled as over a third (35%) of all online shopping was conducted through the marketplace. Furthermore, Amazon Web Services was a significant revenue generator over lockdown, particularly as it provided businesses with the infrastructure to operate online during periods of prolonged store closures.

The frictionless customer experience Jeff Bezos created is now the benchmark for all eCommerce platforms, and many have tried to emulate it through their own offerings. But Amazon still holds all the cards thanks to its initial investment in its extensive infrastructure.

Amazon's ability to innovate

But the man can rightly be classed as a visionary. While many CEOs become fixated on the now, he constantly looked to the future; with an innovative culture embedded in the company.

He has always had an acute understanding of marketing trends, and, when asked in 1997 why he chose to sell books over other commodities, he simply replied that books and music were the most traded commodities online at the time. However, less than a decade later, Bezos saw a shift in the market towards streaming services and, instead of sticking to the status quo by trading physical products, Amazon Prime was launched in 2005. Prime Video is now the second biggest streaming service in the UK after Netflix. The adoption of streaming services was certainly a key move by Amazon, with our Future Shopper report finding that 28% of consumers' annual spend is on digital services such as Spotify or Netflix, with the figure rising to 34% among millennials (those aged between 25 and 34).

Arguably, his intuitive nature regarding customers' needs and market trends has enabled Amazon to create innovative solutions, causing the brand to stand the test of time. Their aggressive horizontality approach from retail outwards to streaming, live experiences and innovative delivery are just a few examples of an incessant desire to adapt to the now.

The future of Amazon

With Jeff Bezos handing the reins to Andy Jassy in the third quarter of 2021, he certainly leaves behind a phenomenal legacy. Despite his departure as the CEO, Amazon shows no sign of slowing down, with the opening of the first 'Amazon Fresh' store in London giving the eCommerce marketplace a platform to have a physical presence and expand even further into the UK market.

Fresh has tapped into the consumer psyche as well - customers want convenience and that means less cash, fewer cards and no queues. The standard they are setting will no doubt leave other supermarkets peering over their shoulders.

So, if past successes are anything to go by, this will be yet another brave and exciting new venture for the company. But more than Amazon's future, what does Jeff has up his sleeve next?

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