What can you learn from Amazon?

People spend $91.32 every second of every day with Amazon. It adds up to a whopping $2.88 billion dollars of income. Not bad for a company that doesn’t really own anything. All they do is show you a list of things other people have produced.

Actually, they do own something, of course. They have a database into which they pour details of the books, CDs and DVDs that other people produce. They also own a database of customers. The clever bit is in connecting the two together. Well, it’s not that “clever” really – it’s standard relational database work that has been going on for decades. All rather straightforward really.

So what has Amazon done to bring it in around $33,000 every hour? Clearly the shareholders are impressed because the company’s value soared by over 11% yesterday after the announcement of record profits.

What Amazon have done is good, old fashioned, straightforward business. They have discovered something people want – convenient books – and delivered them at a price people are prepared to pay. They are not the cheapest way you can get books and CDs; neither do they have the ultimate customer service. But what they do have is simplicity in terms of their business strategy.

Their strategy is to provide you with what you want in terms of books, CDs, DVDs, software and so on. And all they need to do that is a couple of databases. In other words, Amazon’s success has come about from simply finding out what you want and then connecting you with it; that’s the “secret” of any business success, online or offline.

However, far too many less successful online businesses would have us believe it’s all to do with the technology. Amazon teaches us that it’s to do with choosing a marketplace and then simply providing people with what they want. So don’t overcomplicate your Internet business; just find out what your customers want and provide it for them.

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