Everyone knows that Amazon is the world’s largest eCommerce company and a prominent cloud service provider. With time they’ve expanded their service offering. Now, they’re a market leader in digital streaming as well as artificial intelligence services.
Did you know that Amazon started out as an online marketplace of books? But now, it has become the world’s biggest, most valuable, and most influential brand.
Basically, anything you want to purchase can be brought from Amazon. Be it the smallest household item, or the largest of machinery and equipment. Most of the products are best-rated, most sought-after, and highly famous.
Do you know when Amazon was founded? Do you know about its history, and how it came to be? Well, in this blog, we’ll cover the history of Amazon eCommerce. Read till the end and maybe you’ll be amazed by some facts you never knew.
The History of Amazon
Amazon was founded on 5th July 1994. Can you believe it? It’s been almost 3 decades since Amazon was founded. Let’s break down the lifecycle of Amazon:
1. Initial Days of Amazon (1995-1998)
Jeff Bezos is the founder of Amazon. He left his job as vice president of a Wall Street firm “D.E. Shaw & Company” in 1994. Then, he started a marketplace of books from his garage in Bellevue, Washington which is named Cadabra, Inc.
One day a lawyer mispronounced Cadabra as Cadaver, which led to Jeff Bazos changing the company’s name to Amazon.com.
Before selecting the name of the company, Bezos went through the dictionary and chose “Amazon” as the name of the company because ‘A’ is listed at the top of the alphabet. Another reason to choose this name is the Amazon River as it’s the world’s biggest river. Jeff’s biggest goal at the time was to turn Amazon into the largest online book store.
The company started its services in July 1995. The starting website was not aesthetically pleasing. There was too much text on there and it did not had the ideal amount o information. Even the books listed didn’t had enough information such as publication date, author, and other information. But, that didn’t stop Madrona Venture Group’s Tom Alberg from investing $100,000 in Amazon in 1995.
After 4 months of operations, Amazon started growing and the company was selling over 100 books in a day. Jeff Bezos found success in creating a successful online bookstore because Amazon.com charged low unit prices for books online and contained a large number of book titles.
On the Amazon site, people could leave online product reviews and product research as well. This is how Amazon’s website helped to create an online community.
In 1997, Amazon added movie videos and music CDs to its website, people considered it an audacious move that was taken by Jeff Bezos.
In May 1997, Amazon offered its shares for the first time to the public and charged $18 per share.
Later in may 1997 Barnes & Noble sued Amazon claiming to be “the world’s largest bookstore.” They settled the lawsuit outside the court. Later on, Amazon actually did become the world’s largest bookstore.
On October 16, 1998, Walmart filed a lawsuit against Amazon because Amazon had hired former Walmart executives. Walmart claimed that Amazon hired these executives to learn the trade secrets of Walmart. This claim was settled by the court and Amazon won this case as well.
2. Second Phase of Amazon’s Journey (1999-2000)
In 1999, Time magazine named Jeff Bazos as the person of the year and featured his picture of Jeff Bazos on the front page of the magazine.
The same year, Amazon started its publishing business and published some books. But, that idea just wasn’t ideal.
On June 19, 2000, the current Amazon logo was unveiled with a hidden message. This logo contains the name Amazon and a yellow smiley symbol. The smiley symbol starts with A and finishes with Z, which means, Amazon has an A-Z product line.
Based on reports, Amazon did not earn any profit for 4-5 years, thus stockholders had not received any profit that they intended to earn. This led to some issues in Amazon’s survival.
But Amazon faced this situation very bravely, survived, and moved forward. After things got better, Amazon announced $0.01 per share as a first profit, and the company’s revenue was $1 billion. This was the success of Bazos’ unconventional business model.
In 2007, Amazon launched its amazing Kindle e-book series for all those who love to read books on the go.
In 2010, many people used Amazon eBooks instead of physical books to read. This caused the growing popularity of Amazon.
3. Third Phase of Amazon’s Journey (2011-2022)
From 2005 to 2011, Amazon worked on the cloud computing scene and involved Amazon AWS as well.
In 2011, Amazon had 30,000 full-time employees and this number increased to 180,000 employees in 2016. After that, Amazon became the leading company in the field of cloud computing and controlled a big share of the physical infrastructure of the internet.
In 2014, it launched an Amazon Fire Phone with many streaming options. The Fire Phone venture flopped and caused a $170 million loss for Amazon. Later on, Amazon acquired Twitch (video gaming streaming site) at $970 million and integrated it into the game production division of Amazon.
In June 2017, Amazon planned to acquire Whole Foods (a high-end supermarket chain) at $13.4 Billion which had over 400 stores in the US. This move was considered by media groups as a move to strengthen its physical holding as well as a move to challenge Walmart’s supremacy.
At that time Walmart was a brick-and-mortar retailer. The shareholders of Whole Foods, as well as the Federal Trade Commission, approved this deal on August 23, 2017, and finally, Whole Foods was acquired by Amazon.
In September 2017, Jeff Bazos planned to locate its second headquarter in a metropolitan area and he started a plan named HQ2. Amazon employed more than 566,000 employees worldwide in 2017.
According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Amazon has a 5% share of the total spending in the US excluding cars, car parts, and visits to restaurants and bars as well as a 43.55% share of total American online spending in 2018.
In September 2018, Amazon launched a last-mile delivery program and ordered 20,000 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Vans for the service.
In 2020, Amazon achieved a milestone of the eCommerce sale of $386 billion. Then Amazon has become the world’s largest and dominant eCommerce platform.
From March 17 to April 10, 2020, Amazon warehouses only accepted essential items from third-party sellers and refused all non-essential items as well. And Amazon hired almost 175,000 additional warehouse workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, Amazon raised the wages of warehouse workers by $2/hour.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the financial position of MGM has become worse day by day, thus both companies agreed to the merger deal on may 26,2021 and this deal will finalize on May, 17,2022. Amazon acquired MGM at $9 billion. After this deal, Amazon would add the MGM library to the Amazon Prime Video catalog as well.
What is Amazon Go?
On January 22, 2018, Amazon launched Amazon Go. Amazon Go is a store that contains sensors and cameras to keep eye on items that are taken from the shelf by the customers. This store automatically charged money from the amazon account of the customer.
The first Amazon store was opened to the general public of Seattle. To use the facilities of Amazon Go, a buyer should have installed the Amazon Go app on his mobile as well as a linked Amazon account.
By the end of 2018, there are 8 Amazon Go stores in the USA. The 8 Amazon Go stores were located in Seattle, Chicago, San Francisco, and New York as well.
What is Amazon 4-Star?
Amazon launched Amazon 4-Star in New York on 27 September 2018 in the Soho neighborhood of Spring Street Between Crosby and Lafayette. The store contains 4-star and above-rated products from around New York.
In 2021, Amazon started two 4-star stores in the UK which are named Bluewater Shopping Center in Kent and Westfield London 2021.
In march 2022, amazon closed all the 4-Star stores including Book and Pop Up stores across the United States as well as the United Kingdom. After that amazon refocused on its fashion and grocery stores.
Amazon History Timeline- Segmentation of Amazon’s life
|Time Period||Key Development at Amazon|
|1994-1998||Amazon started its business as an online bookstore. It has bravely competed with local booksellers as well as Barnes & Noble. It offered IPO to the public for the first time in 1997.|
|1998-2004||Amazon expanded its product ranges and offered convenience services to the customers, such as Free Super Shipping.|
|2005-2011||Amazon expanded its product range and started cloud computing with Amazon AWS and the crowdsourcing area with Amazon Mechanical Turk.After a few years, Amazon became the market leader in cloud computing.|
It also offers Amazon Kindle to purchase its eBooks. After 2010, People bought eBooks instead of physical books from Amazon.
|2011-2015||Amazon offered streaming services such as Amazon Music and Amazon Video and its market capitalization reached beyond the market capitalization of Walmart.|
Amazing Facts about Amazon
- In the early days, Amazon held its meetings in local Barnes and Noble.
- Amazon was first called Cadabra.
- Jeff Bezos was also fixated on the name Relentless. But he was advised against it. However, he did buy the domain name “relentless.com.” Now, if you try to go to the website, it will redirect you to Amazon.com.
- The first ever book Amazon sold was “Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies” by Douglas Hofstadter.
- Similar to eBay, Amazon also launched an online auction website. But it didn’t grow as much as you’d want to.
- To compete with Google and Yahoo, Amazon developed a street view app named Block View.
- Amazon is currently working tirelessly on Drone delivery, which can deliver products within hours.
- When you shop on Amazon.com, you can donate to the charity of your choice.
- To boost the morale of employees, a small bell would go “ding” every time someone purchased something on Amazon.
- Amazon Kindle was sold out within 5.5 hours during the initial sale in 2017.
- Amazon has more employees worldwide than Google, Meta, and Alibaba combined.
- Amazon has over 40 subsidiaries.
- Amazon’s affiliate referral program reached $2.6 billion per month as income for influencers in the US.
|Founders||Jeffrey Preston Bezos founded Amazon in 1994.|
|Industry||Amazon provides facilities, such as eCommerce, Artificial intelligence, Cloud computing, Consumer electronics, Entertainment, and supermarkets.|
|Headquarter||The headquarters of Amazon was situated in Seattle, Washington, U.S.|
|Key People||The executive chairman of Amazon Jeff Bezos, thus he is the key person of Amazon.|
|Notable Products||The notable products of Amazon are Kindle eBook readers, Fire OS, Amazon Echo, Kindle Fire Tablet and Amazon Fire TV, etc.|