A major employer
Amazon’s impact extends to other industries, including smart consumer devices (Alexa), cloud service (Amazon Web Services), and technology products and services (drones).
Such is Amazon’s impact that industry players and observers use the term “Amazoned” to describe their business model and operations being disrupted by Amazon.
Today, Amazon is the largest tech employer by far. It employs more people than the next five tech companies combined. No wonder Amazon created such a buzz last year before selecting a location for its second headquarters.
Amazon’s work culture is intense. It has a reputation as a cutthroat environment with a high employee burnout rate. It is automating as many jobs as possible, mostly in warehousing.
At the same time, after criticism from policymakers, Amazon stepped up in October 2018 by raising minimum wage for all U.S. employees to $15 per hour.
Faced with growing criticisms about the mounting impact of Amazon’s boxes and other packaging material on the environment, Amazon has pledged to disclose more information about its environmental impact at the end of 2019.
The next generation
What’s in store for Amazon’s future?
Bezos has said that Amazon’s efforts focus on preventing it from dying. As he noted at a 2018 all-hands meeting, “Amazon is not too big to fail.”
As a professor of marketing, having conducted research on online retailing and analyzed hundreds of cases, I believe that Amazon’s future, like shoppers’ and the society’s future, is inextricably linked to the rise of artificial intelligence. Starting with Alexa, the company’s virtual assistant, Amazon is betting on AI.
In fact, Amazon is testing anticipatory shipping, a practice in which it anticipates what shoppers need and mails them the items without shoppers ordering them. Shoppers could keep the items they like and return those they don’t want at no charge.
More immediate questions relate to Amazon’s entry in two stodgy yet critical industries: health care and financial services.
WATCH: Amazon staff can listen to private conversations through Alexa
Although Amazon has disrupted many industries, these two are heavily regulated industries in which the company hasn’t had much experience.
Amazon is considering becoming a major player in the pharmaceutical and the health insurance markets. In May, it acquired online drugstore PillPack for $1 billion to crack the $500 billion market for prescription drugs and has formed a joint health venture with Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan Chase.
Meanwhile, with 310 million customer accounts, Amazon is building a suite of high-tech financial services, such as Amazon Cash, a way to add cash to your online balance, and Amazon Pay, an online payment service. These programs are aimed at developing markets such as India, which has a huge population that does not use banks.
Amazon has reshaped retailing permanently in the last 25 years. In the next 25, it might totally redefine how the world shops.