By @SimonCocking review of Amazon How the World’s Most Relentless Retailer will Continue to Revolutionize Commerce.
The retail industry is facing unprecedented challenges. Across all sectors and markets, retailers are shifting their business models and customer engagement strategies to ensure their survival. The rise of online shopping, and its primary player, Amazon, is at the heart of many of these changes and opportunities. Amazon explores the e-commerce giant’s strategies, providing original insight at a time when the company is on the cusp of revolutionizing itself even further.
Amazon’s relentless dissatisfaction with the status quo is what makes it such an extraordinary retailer. This book explores whether Amazon has what it takes to become a credible grocery retailer, and as it transitions to bricks and mortar retailing, explores whether Amazon’s stores can be as compelling as its online offering and if innovations such as voice technology, checkout-free stores and its Prime ecosystem will fundamentally change the way consumers shop.
This is a tricky book to review because at times it feels like a long, long PR pitch for Amazon. One of the authors advises companies on how to partner with Amazon, and at times this felt like a long corporate handbook with a series of plays on how to work with Amazon. This is fine, but normally you might see this in a quick power point, 10 slide presentation, rather than over 200 pages of details about Amazon, what it does, how it does it, why it has paid so little tax for so long, and it’s growth plans for the coming quarters. In many ways this could potentially be the barebones of a book along the lines of ‘Amazon the authorised biography’ perhaps.
When Jeff Bezos is quoted as saying ‘we do #metoo badly’ the book began to descend into a pure hagiography love in. We’re not saying that Amazon has not done somethings well, and has an interesting approach to business, and has a growing share of the market, but what about its rivals, what about the legitimate criticisms of what it does, etc etc? If you want a basically uncritical celebration of the first twenty years of Amazon, and it’s business strategy, then this is the right book for you. If you are looked for a more nuanced evaluation of what it has done, good and bad, then this may well not be the booking you are looking for, though perhaps it’s recommendation algorithm may be able to come up with something else that you might like?
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