Technology Takeaways from Amazon, the World’s Most Valuable Retailer

Amazon is a monster and even among news that is trying to take a portion of their profits, solidified their spot as the world’s most valuable retailer when they reported $92M in quarterly profits for 2nd quarter of 2015. The profits have shot up and so has their stock, which has risen 78% since the beginning of the year. The growth that the company is experiencing is phenomenal and it’s no secret that they’re doing something right with regard to technology. What are those things and is there any way that SMBs can take some of their business practices with regard to technology and apply them to their own business to become more profitable? Let’s explore how their technology is working for their benefit and how you can apply some of the same concepts to your own business.

Whether or not they’re documented, every business has workflows and processes that help them be efficient as a business. Where Amazon has truly experienced success is in automating almost every aspect of their business. They have invested millions into streamlining their ordering process, payment and shipping processes. The investment allows them to run leaner and commit their resources to more important things. If your business is still struggling with piecemeal processes, pushing paper or doesn’t have software that does what you need it to do – you’re not fully automated. Sit down with a technology strategist or even a software developer to discover where the bottlenecks are occurring in your business and how you can use technology and software to be more efficient.

Once Amazon automated their fulfillment, you think they stopped there? Absolutely not. Amazon continually tweaks their ordering and fulfillment process, which is why they have a very high conversion rate on sales and continue to deliver an amazing customer experience. Having a process is one thing, but exploring how you can further use technology to refine that process is even more important. Once you have everything on autopilot, don’t step away from the controls. Sit down regularly with your technology partner and explore any new tweaks you can make to help your systems run even better.

What truly sets Amazon apart from other retail organizations is their investment in their own organization. They didn’t just take the time to find what works and roll with it, they are continually innovating their organization by testing and investing in new technologies and concepts that are paying off big. Example? Amazon’s cloud operations (Amazon Web Services) has doubled revenue over the last quarter. When they launched the service in 2006, it wasn’t something that was being widely adopted by businesses or individuals, but with the growing popularity of the cloud that investment in innovation is finally yielding for them. The takeaway? Don’t shy away from an innovative idea just because no one has caught onto it yet. New technology requires early adopters in order to asses its viability. Make sure that you’re constantly exploring how new technologies and workflows can improve your processes and make your business more profitable.

Amazon didn’t just overtake Walmart as the world’s most valuable retailer by chance. There’s a culture of technology adoption and innovation that is present. While SMBs may not have the same resources and capital at their disposal as Amazon, there’s definitely a mindset that should happen in order to get the most from their technology. Automation, continual development and innovation are the perfect storm of components for a successful, profitable business.