As an ecommerce entrepreneur, Jeff Bezos has transformed a website -- which started out as a virtual bookstore -- into the top online platform to buy products ranging from movie rentals to clothing. And the website also allows others to sell their products in its marketplace as well so that Amazon can simply profit from connecting consumers with third-party products. The ecommerce giant even adds complementary options, like delivery fulfillment to help small businesses efficiently serve their clients.
Amazon's profitable moves have sparked a business arms race, and this is due to the company's combined strength in ecommerce, home delivery and ability to adapt to the peer-to-peer economy.
Amazon's Effect on E-Commerce
Amazon's vertically integrated, supercharged growth in ecommerce caused stores like Walmart to increase their focus on ecommerce sales. The company's successful online tactics led to a change in consumer habits, which in turn led to brick-and-mortar stores losing money from reduced foot traffic. Evidence of this can be see with Sam's Club recently shutting down more than 50 stores. Afterwards, Sam's Club created a "Plus" membership to offer free shipping to certain members in an attempt to mimic Amazon Prime. In another copycat move, Sam's Club has even mentioned converting some of its closed stores into fulfillment centers in order to speed up last-mile deliveries. The moves by Walmart seem to be more strategic compared to Sam's Club, as Walmart has not followed mass store closures with new ecommerce strategies. Walmart has added new online strategies to its offline processes and maintained a steady number of employees.
Big Companies Come Home
Now, Amazon's success in online-to-offline shipping has attracted Walmart to team up with other companies to allow for direct deliveries to consumers' homes that actually leapfrog over delivery services such as FedEx and UPS. And going a step further, the ecommerce behemoth has used its own delivery service -- Amazon Flex -- to deliver online orders directly into its customers' homes. The action has raised some eyebrows, but Walmart also offers in-home deliveries. However, Walmart specifically focuses on groceries at the moment, but seems to be close behind Amazon's every move. More recently, Walmart has shown more of a startup mentality that is typically only associated with Silicon Valley-type companies such as the aforementioned e-tail giant.
The ecommerce leader has taken note of the peer-to-peer economy and has used contractors to fulfill last-mile deliveries via Amazon Flex. To date, most peer-to-peer companies like Uber and Postmates have used their platform to either deliver food or people. Flex focuses on delivering packages, and has only recently opened up to food via its customer-facing restaurants service. It allows normal people to load their cars with packages from Prime and deliver them just like someone working for UPS or FedEx.
With this move, it seems like Flex has taken advantage of the slow economy to help supercharge its delivery system and cut out the potential risk of USPS or its peers delivering packages too slowly to customers. Now, Amazon can control every part of an online order, while boosting local economies.
There is little doubt that Amazon has changed the game. The company makes moves that force other companies to change their business models or risk failure. Their innovative services have affected ecommerce, logistics and peer-to-peer economies. The online monster satisfies customers and supplements incomes, and any company acting to compete against them must remain on its toes.
Onestop Internet brings all the above mentioned services together, putting the tools that power great commerce into the hands of retailers. Economies of scale make the difference between struggling to keep up and confident, sustainable growth in ecommerce. With a vertically integrated partner on their side, organizations can focus on the products and services they know best while reaping all the rewards that come with advanced, international operations.