How Amazon Earned Its Purchases - The New York Times

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I don’t want to let a step go by without shouting that THIS IS A BIG MOMENT.

Amazon has most likely overtaken Walmart recently as the biggest retailer outside of China, like my colleagues Karen Weise and Michael Corkery. wrote Tuesday. Buyers around the world – but primarily in the United States, which remains Amazon’s largest market by far – now buy more than $ 600 billion in products from Amazon each year. Yeah, that’s a lot. That’s about what Americans spent in restaurants and bars last year.

Some of you reading this might be surprised that Amazon doesn’t already sell more than Walmart. No. Remember, people in most countries, including the United States, still do the vast majority of their shopping in stores. This makes it all the more remarkable that Amazon has grown so big. (Note: The total value of annual purchases made on Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant, is roughly double that on Amazon. really many.)

What is most remarkable is how Amazon got to this point. Much like America’s retail executives of previous eras, Sears and Walmart, Amazon came to power because it nailed down convenience, force of habit, and a system for moving goods from one place to another. to the other. Amazon isn’t always the best place to shop, but it wins by mastering everything except shopping.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, Amazon was on track to overtake Walmart as America’s leading retailer. But changes in our buying habits have boosted Amazon sales even more than Walmart’s. (Learn more from my colleagues about the Amazon milestone.)

As regular On Tech readers know, I’m a little bit obsessed with Amazon. And among my fixings is this question: How can Amazon make a billion dollars and you still feel like a goofy ’90s shopping site?

I know this is a subjective assessment. But if you’ve ever browsed through the endless array of curtain rod options on the site, squinting at blurry product photos, felt baffled by the search parameters or questioned the reliability of reviews, you got a glimpse of Amazon’s shortcomings as a store.

Juozas Kaziuk─Śnas, the founder of the e-commerce research firm Pulse Market, mentioned to me a few months ago something that stuck in my head: If Amazon started today, it might not work, because it doesn’t necessarily have the best products at the cheapest prices and it is not a particularly pleasant place to shop.

But most buyers on Amazon don’t focus on the flaws. Amazon formed people think they can trust it to find what they need quickly, usually. Buying is generally a snap, and Prime members and people with Amazon credit cards are encouraged to shop only there. Help is easy if you have a problem, not always, but often. Amazon’s prices aren’t always the lowest, but sometimes they are, and a lot of people don’t bother looking elsewhere.

Amazon “works for most consumers most of the time for most things,” Kaziuk─Śnas told me. It may not be an inspiring corporate motto worth engraving on a spaceship Jeff Bezos, but that explains the appeal of Amazon.

Amazon is proof once again that the best product does not necessarily win. We are drawn to products and services like Amazon, Netflix, and Zoom that earn our trust and make their use so easy it looks like magic.

Oddly enough, that’s not far from the plan for Sears and Walmart. Sears has made buying everything convenient stock socks and was an expert in sorting and moving goods. Ditto for Walmart, which mastered logistics and reached shoppers where they lived, increasingly in the suburbs. There are significant differences at Sears, Walmart, and Amazon as well, but those companies’ victories weren’t necessarily because they provided the best in-store, catalog, or website experience.

Ultimately, the proof of Amazon’s power is not just in its jaw-dropping sales numbers, but the reality that it is now more important than the products it sells.

He may not have exactly the pair of Nike shoes you want. It can spoil an occasional order or make you feel uncomfortable about the treatment of its employees or being evicted from local stores. But people are now buying from Amazon because it’s Amazon.


  • The driver called it a “stupid cruise control”: U.S. auto safety regulators said on Monday they had opened a broad investigation into Tesla’s driver assistance technology called Autopilot. My colleague Neal E. Boudette writing about a Tesla whose autopilot was engaged and crashed into a parked car in 2019, and what that fatal crash suggests about the system failure at the basic function of emergency braking.

  • Cool companies can’t quit one particular design style: It’s often referred to as “Corporate Memphis,” an aesthetic characterized by colorful but lifeless cartoon characters that you see on many websites and apps. Protocol talked to illustrators on the role of concert work and cut-and-paste design technologies to help establish this visual style.

  • You need this wellness story about human connection: Marissa Meizz brought attention to TikTok for being rejected by friends who kicked her out of a birthday party. Taylor Lorenz writes about how Meizz got revenge: she used her online power to organize real gatherings for people who feel lonely.

Of them jumping penguin chicks got their first glimpse of swimming, in a paddling pool. Extra hugs for whoever needed a little persuading to bathe.

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Newsrust - US Top News: How Amazon Earned Its Purchases - The New York Times
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