The Secret of Amazon’s “Retailer-Wrecking” Growth: Love

  •  Time, Inc.'s Money Magazine reported last month that more than 80 million American households now subscribe to Amazon Prime.

     Amazon Prime members pay $99 a year to get free 2-day shipping on their purchases plus immediate access to Amazon's  vast (and growing) library of on-demand movies, television shows, streaming music, e-books and audiobooks. Amazon  brings in nearly $8 billion in annual revenue from Prime membership fees alone.


     When people visit, they're also "primed" to spend money. Jeffery Eisenberg, speaking in a recent American Small Business Institute weekly video, noted that Amazon is the fastest company in history to ever hit $100 billion in sales. Of particular interest: they  close an astounding 74% of their web traffic! 


     Businesses and organizations depend upon Amazon, as well. Thousands of them pay Amazon Web Services (AWS) to host and run their  online enterprises. AWS is predicted to bring in $13 billion this year alone.



    Yes, Amazon is big.


    Often when people speak of big business (big oil, big banking, big pharma, etc.), it's with an air of distrust or contempt. "Big" connotes avarice, callousness, lack of empathy for the little guy, as in this clever jingle created for First Commercial Bank:


    When you walk into Behemoth Bank, don't expect a smile.

    Or a friendly "How do you do?" 'cause that's just not our style.

    We treat you like a number, like the worm you are to us.

    We'll just laugh in your face if you ever start to fuss.

    We're Behemoth Bank and Trust and we don't care. We don't care.

    About you or your family, or the great big world out there.

    We've got a ton of money. So, why should we give a hoot?

    We're Behemoth Bank and Trust, and we don't care about you.


    Those of us of a certain age might also recall Lily Tomlin's "Ernestine" character, the unflappable, untouchable, and ever snarky representative of "The Phone Company."

    So why doesn't the stigma of "big" rub off on Amazon?

    Because of this simple truth: Amazon goes to extraordinary lengths to make their customers feel cherished, a mandate from the guy at the top.


    “The most important single thing is to focus obsessively on the customer. Our goal is to be the earth’s most customer-centric company.” – Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon


    That's Amazon's goal. What's yours?


    Recently Amazon announced the hiring of 100,000 new employees. Meanwhile, venerable stores like Macy’s, Kmart, Kohl’s, JC Penney, Target, Sears, and others are closing by the thousands in 2017 alone.


    These changes may or may not be affecting your business today. But make no mistake: sooner or later, they will.


    Small business owners need to be keenly aware of the shopping experience they’re providing their customers. Surprise and delight must be their (your) mantra. As Roy H. Williams, the Wizard of Ads®, has been telling us for the last several years, we must focus less on branding and more on bonding with our customers.


    In his 1999 national best-seller, Secret Formulas of the Wizard of Ads, Williams writes about the three worlds of business: 1) the world outside your door (the world of advertising); 2) the world inside your door (the world of customer experience); and 3) the world of the executive office (the boss). It's in that second world where the promises made in your advertising are put to the test, confirmed or belied. Advertising can get people to your door, but it cannot fix any problems that may exist beyond the threshold. (Click the link above and you can download a .pdf or audio copy of the book for free. You're welcome.)


    It's in that world of customer experience that Amazon excels. Eisenberg goes into detail on this in the video I recently watched, and in the book he has co-written with his brother Bryan and Roy H. Williams. It's called Be Like Amazon: Even a Lemonade Stand Can Do ItIt was serialized in recent Monday Morning Memos, to which you can subscribe for free, and is now available—where else?—on Amazon. The book is filled with insights gleaned from a careful study of Amazon and other successful companies, that can be applied to any business—yours included—and I highly recommend it.


    I have worked in radio advertising since 1973, all of my professional life. Most of my clients know that I take a proprietary interest in the success of their businesses, an interest that goes well beyond simply selling them advertising time and hoping for the best. When I take someone on as a client, my goal is to help them become as successful as possible by any means available to me to do so.


    One of the ways love is defined is this: unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another.


    Amazon loves its customers.


    What are you doing in your business to show that you love your customers?


    This article was originally posted on my blog at  Feel free to reblog, if you found it helpful. - Rod



        Rod Schwartz backed into a lifelong career in radio advertising in 1973 in Springfield, Illinois. He became sales manager for the Pullman Radio Group in 1979 and served in that position until 2006. He continues to serve clients in the region as the stations' senior account executive. Since 1991, Rod and his family have operated Grace Broadcast Sales, providing short-form syndicated radio features to radio and TV stations across the U.S. and Canada. An avid photographer, Rod shares some of his favorite images of the Palouse at