What’s next for The Everything Company?

by Tom Singleton, Technology reporter

Getty Images An Amazon warehouse worker walks past a giant wall of merchandiseGetty Images

Even after 30 years since its founding, it’s hard to comprehend the scale of Amazon.

Take for example the company’s vast Dartford warehouse, which stocks millions of items and sees hundreds of thousands of purchases made every day. The company says it takes two hours for an order to be picked, packed and dispatched.

Now, imagine that scene and multiply it by 175. That’s how many “fulfillment centers,” as Amazon likes to call them, they have around the world.

Even if you can visualize packages crisscrossing the globe, it’s important to remember that this is only a small part of Amazon’s business.

It’s also a leading streamer and media company (Amazon Prime Video), a market leader in home camera systems (Ring), smart speakers (Alexa), tablets and e-readers (Kindle), hosts and supports vast swaths of the internet (Amazon Web Services), and much more.

“For a long time, Amazon has been called a jack-of-all-trades, but at this point, I think it’s more of a jack-of-all-trades company,” Bloomberg’s Amanda Mull said.

“Amazon is so big and so ubiquitous and touches so many parts of life that after a while people start to kind of take Amazon’s presence in every element of their daily lives for granted,” she says.

or, The company itself once joked:The only way to spend a day without somehow benefiting the Amazon was to “live in a cave.”

Getty Images Amazon logo displayed at a Premier League soccer matchGetty Images

Amazon has used sports to grow its streaming business

Since being founded by Jeff Bezos in 1994, Amazon’s history has been one of explosive growth and continuous reinvention.

There has been a lot of criticism in the past. ‘Harsh’ working conditions and How much tax do I pay?.

But as the company approaches its 40th anniversary, the main question seems to be: once it’s “The Everything Company,” what do we do next?

Or, as Sucharita Kodali, an Amazon analyst at research firm Forrester, put it, “What exactly is left?”

“You’ve already hit $500 billion in revenue, so how are you going to continue to grow double digits every year?”

One option is to tie in with existing businesses: The vast amount of shopping data Amazon has for its Prime members could help it sell ads on its increasingly popular streaming services, as well as its competitors. rely on commercials as a source of revenue.

But it has limitations. How can the company’s satellite division, Kuiper, benefit its supermarket chain, Whole Foods?

To some extent, Sucharita Kodali says the answer is to “keep trying” with new business ventures and not worry if you fail.

This week on Amazon Business robot line discontinued The new product, introduced just nine months later, is just one in a “graveyard of bad ideas” the company has tried and discarded in its quest to find one that works, Kodali said.

But Amazon may also need to focus on something else, she says: increased regulatory attention that’s asking tough questions about what Amazon does with our data, how it’s impacting the environment, and whether it’s too big.

All of these issues could prompt intervention “in the same way that we took down the giant monopolies of the early 20th century,” Kodali said.

For Juozas Kajukenas, founder of e-commerce intelligence firm Marketplace Pulse, that size poses another problem: Western customers can’t fit all the goods where they live.

“Our cities are not built for more deliveries,” he told the BBC.

That makes emerging countries like India, Mexico and Brazil important, but Kaziukenas suggests that Amazon needs to have some success not just entering these markets.

“That’s weird and maybe it shouldn’t be that way, but that’s a story for another day,” he says.

Getty Images app screens for Chinese e-commerce companies Shein and TemuGetty Images

Shein and Temu are two Chinese brands competing with Amazon.

Amanda Mull said another priority for Amazon over the next few years will be fending off competition from Chinese rivals like Temu and Shein.

By acting as a trusted intermediary between Western consumers and Chinese manufacturers, and adding easy returns and lightning-fast shipping, Amazon has “shaped the buying habits of Western consumers,” she says.

But if you take away that last element of the deal, as Chinese retailers have done, you can drive prices down.

“They’re saying, ‘If you wait a week or 10 days for whatever you’re foolishly buying, we can give it to you almost for free,'” Marr said.The proposition is appealing to many people, especially during a cost-of-living crisis.

Juozas Kajukenas isn’t so sure, suggesting that new retailers will remain “niche” and that it will take something more radical to challenge Amazon’s dominance.

“You need to use a search bar to go shopping, and Amazon does that well,” he says.

Thirty years ago, a startup company noticed an emerging trend in internet usage and how it could bring about major changes, first to retail and then to many other industries.

Kaziukenas says it will probably take a similar leap of imagination when it comes to AI for that to happen again.

“The only threat to Amazon is something that isn’t Amazon-like,” he says.

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