The Information Systems of Amazon Inc
Amazon.com, Inc. is the leading online retailer of books. The ¡§Earth¡¦s Biggest Bookstore¡¨ opened its virtual doors in July 1995 with a mission to use the Internet to transform book buying into the fastest, easiest, and most enjoyable shopping experience possible1. Amazon still holds their commitment to customer satisfaction and the delivery of an educational and inspiring shopping experience in high regard today and it is now one of the most widely known, used and cited commerce sites on the World Wide Web (WWW).
Amazon has grown rapidly since their inception. The company experienced a surge is sales of 313% until 1998, supported by 8.4 million customer accounts in over 150 countries, of which 60% accounted for ¡§repeat¡¨ customers. Although the company has grown rapidly, it has incurred losses every year since then5. In January 2002, Amazon finally reported a net profit of $5 million3. They earned this profit by employing operational efficiencies, heads-down cost cutting, and savvy partnership deals.
Amazon strives to offer its customers value through a broad selection of products, a high level of personalized customer service and competitive pricing. Innovative uses of technology and the Internet enable the online book seller to offer millions of titles, easy-to-use search and browse features, email services, personalized shopping services, web-based credit card payments and direct shipping to customers. The company has since expanded their business to various other products such as electronic greeting cards, online auctions, CDs, videos, DVDs, toys and games, electronics, kitchenware, computers and more. Customers access this vast selection of merchandise through an efficient search interface.
Amazon is just one of a number of online booksellers that have used the Internet as a channel to reach potential consumers. Some advantages of online retailing include:
„h It provides easy customer access to the large industry-wide database via the Internet;
„h It provides portability and a relatively low product cost;
„h It provides an easy transition from the existing mail-order concept;
„h It is cost-effective as it cuts down on overhead costs by eliminating inventories;
„h It results in quicker delivery time due to the faster distribution cycle of products being shipped directly from the wholesalers.
Amazon¡¦s idea of selling books online on such a grand scale, though, has brought online retailing to a new level. Following is a look at Amazon¡¦s online retail process and how information systems played a role in the overall process.
The main difference between traditional booksellers and online booksellers is that the online retailer does not have a physical presence. All interactions with the customer occur on the Internet, which is why customer focus is so critical. Amazon holds the ¡§upper hand¡¨ in that they have greater brand recognition and customer focus than their competitors....