Amazon: The total Retailer

  • Reference: IIST-PI-186-E-E

  • Number of pages: 28

  • Publication Date: May 18, 2001

  • Source: San Telmo (España)

  • Type of Document: Case

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Amazon was one of the three leading companies in the e-world (together with Google and Facebook) and the world's largest e-commerce business, with annual sales of more than 100 billion USD. This case describes Amazon's business model and e-commerce environment. It is interesting to analyze Amazon's growth-based model and discuss its future. It is also worth exploring its current and future impact on retailing and the position of its offline competitors, especially after Amazon acquired the North American supermarket chain Whole Foods and entered the offline world.

Learning Objective

This case’s objective is to support a topical, in-depth debate about Amazon’s business model and about the retail business, both online and offline, considering its potential evolution. Participants are specifically expected to discuss the following: •What made it possible for Amazon to evolve from its founder’s garage to becoming the top e-commerce company in the world. •Discuss what decisions made that evolution possible. • Analyze the keys to retail and the impact that online commerce has and will have on its future. •Explore the value of retail and the different attributes of the online and offline models, from the consumer's point of view. •Study Amazon's operations: How does the company make things happen? •Determine the importance of being omnichannel and discuss models that may be potentially valid in the future. •Assess how Amazon manages different aspects of innovation in terms of the business model, organization, and use of technology. •Debate the future of Amazon in particular and retail in general, encouraging a creative attitude and joint reflection.

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