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Friday, September 17, 2004

Amazon.com: The Bookstore that Sells Everything

If you want to find out about the trends that are going to shape online business for this holiday season and next, don't go to business school. Don't even try to read up on them by browsing for articles on Amazon's business model. All of this stuff is unfolding before our eyes while the pundits and lecturers are still finishing that long sentence about Amazon being a "failed dot bomb."

You see, Amazon now sells everything.

I can prove it. Want to buy that loved one a pair of Serengetis?

This holiday season, a lot of people are going to be doing this.

E-commerce in general was pretty anemic in the years leading up to its breakout year (1999). I wonder if this year will see another such quantum leap forward.

Now we enter the next phase. Call it extreme consolidation, if you will. This will put the squeeze on many small retailers (even Amazon's own merchant partners), unless they adapt. It might lead to another leap in e-commerce sales. It should lead to increased customer satisfaction, on average.

One thing's for sure. I'd never bet against a company that became so far-reaching that they became simply "the store" -- the place you go when you want to go online and buy stuff.

So is Amazon a portal in the classic sense of an entry point to a much wider universe of functionality? Yes, in spades.

Forget A9 and the other red herrings. Top-flight search engine technology is part of what makes Amazon's technology so conducive to high conversion rates on site visits. (Do you ever have very much trouble finding what you need there? Do you ever lack for recommendations of related items?) Amazon is all about what it sells. Which is everything.

Posted by Andrew Goodman




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