The History of Amazon


Every person that browses the internet knows Amazon and every marketer out there should learn from the history of Amazon. The story behind one of the largest online companies in the world is interesting and an inspiration for all people that want to launch an online business. Amazon debuted in 197, went public in 1997, expanded to a huge level in 1998, started selling even more in 1999 and the first net profit in the fourth quarter was reported in 2001.

The Basics Of Amazon

Amazon is definitely a pioneer when it comes to online retailing. The expansion the company had during the late nineties in order to offer the largest selection of the world of videos, CDs, books, tools, toys, electronics, apparel, kitchen gadgets and home furnishings. Amazon now sells products from some of the largest companies in the world like Target, ToysRUs, Circuit City Stores, Expedia, Virgin and more.

What is interesting is that Amazon was mainly focused on market share and expansion. This was not great for the investors as they did not like the approach but it was proven that this way of doing business was good since profits were recorded starting 2001.

The Beginnings Of Amazon

During the nineties the popularity of the WWW quickly grew and web browsing software was finally good enough. Internet use started to be prevalent and various companies were looking at the internet as a way to do some commerce. Jeff Bezos, founder, realized this and basically became the pioneer of ecommerce work.

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In the year 1994 Bezos left his job and started to work on the plan for what would eventually turn into Amazon. Everything started with a report that predicted a 2,300 percent web growth and Bezos making a list of 20 products that can easily be sold online. He identified 5 as being promising: computer software, books, videos, computer hardware and CDs. Eventually, he started with books and the company headquarters were placed in Seattle. The debut of came on July 1995. After only 4 months the popularity of the store was larger than anyone anticipated.

The big difference in the start for was that as opposed to large stores like Borders, this ecommerce site worked with publishers and wholesalers. There was no need for warehouses as only what was bought would be brought in. Because of the online world, Amazon managed to sell products in 50 US states and 45 countries, which was huge at that point in time.

1997 – Going Public

Amazon only operated for 2 years but in 1997 it did go public because of how fast the evolution of the company was. Obviously, part of the reasons were that existing distribution centers ended up having to deal with orders that were of a really high volume. The company simply did not manage to deal with the huge demand. Going public was definitely the best possible move. Many different expansions were made possible, one of them being the popular Associates program, which appeared in July 1996.Associates basically helped the growth as it offered incentives for people to promote the store in order to receive commissions. 1997 was a historic year for Amazon as the company got the 1 millionth customer, moving everything to a stunning $147.8 million in yearly sales.

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1998 – Further Expansion

1998 is a really important year for Amazon as it marked a huge expansion. The Associates program ended up reaching 30,000 members by the month of February and just 4 months later the amount of members was doubled. The customer database also grew and Amazon ended up being the third largest of all the US booksellers. A $75 million credit made Amazon reshape everything bringing in so many different products that were available and partnerships with huge names in the industry, like IMD. Amazon also entered the online music industry, with the official music store appearing in June 1998.

1999 And Beyond

The company continued to focus on expansions. The state that we see at the moment is basically one that appeared because Bezos did all he could in order to bring in new products that could be sold. This was the most important thing at the end of the day. ended up having a growth story that was simply remarkable. The only problem is that profits were not that high. This was of no interest for Bezos as he truly believed the profit will end up being important because of the market share growth. He was right and in 2001, after a cost cutting campaign, profits were registered. Sales went up during that year by 13% and in 2002 we saw even more additions made to the list of available products.

The site we now see is the same one that kept making a huge impact on the industry, an ecommerce site that kept growing and growing, with new products and strategic partnerships offered every single year. Nobody knows what the future holds for Amazon but it is surely bright. Also, we should highlight that Amazon is, most likely, single-handily responsible for the need to develop eCommerce SEO, with countless companies trying to run their businesses in a similar fashion.


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