Amazon: Setting the Bar Higher for Consumer Expectations

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Since 1994, Amazon has pursued one mission: “To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where people can find and discover anything they want to purchase online.” For Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, that means placing customers at the center of everything they do.

“We love to pioneer, we like to explore, we like to go down dark alleys and see what is on the opposite side,” Bezos told 60 Minutes correspondent Charlie Rose in a December 2013 interview.

With 310 million customers worldwide, the Internet giant still takes the art of reinvention to new heights by, “altering the way the world shops, reads, and computes,” as Rose stated. With varied products and services like e-readers, fresh groceries, and Internet services, Amazon keeps expanding its reach by leaps and bounds. But it’s the organization’s focus on speed, ease, and low cost of shipping that has everyone buzzing. Along with supplying customers Sunday delivery throughout the majority of the USA, the e-tailer’s Amazon Prime membership program guarantees subscribers unlimited free expedited shipping. The program has not only created tens of millions of memberships globally, but it has also substantially increased customer spending.

Bezos and Co have made announcements in the past about their most ambitious project yet: drones. Known as “octocopters,” these autonomous delivery vehicles are designed to get customers their bundles within half an hour. Though this service is likely years away, it’s my view that moves such as these will rewrite the retail playbook and upend the industry. Amazon sets the baseline for customer expectations and always accelerates faster than many of us can appreciate.

I believe that if direct response marketers wish to live and prosper in this market, we will need to emulate the Amazon customer experience. I am not implying that DR companies invest in drone technology, but entrepreneurs must engage clients in the manner in which they want to be performed and served. And authorities at all levels are either explicitly or implicitly moving entrepreneurs in this direction.

Sure, it can be frightening and potentially costly to make the required changes in your business operations, however, it’s an inescapable fact. To stay profitable, marketers must meet customers where they are—because let’s face it, the clients are the ones dictating the conditions of the new digital market.