|EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 3301 - April 14, 2014 - ISSN 1539-5065 2 of 3|
This July marks the 20th anniversary of the founding of a little bookselling website called Amazon.com. In 1997, three years after founding Amazon.com, Jeff Bezos wrote in a letter to shareholders that it was Day 1 for the Internet and, he wrote, "if we execute well, for Amazon.com."
Seventeen years later, Bezos still believes it's Day 1, according to his latest letter to shareholders, where he also wrote that he feels "super lucky to be a part of the Amazon team."
Each year, Bezos points out the company's accomplishments to shareholders, but this year, criticism may have been ringing in his ears when he wrote the letter, including those lobbed in last year's book about Amazon, The Everything Store, as well as criticism over Amazon's treatment of workers.
In a section of his letter called Employee Empowerment, in addition to mentioning its tuition reimbursement program, Bezos revealed that the company had adopted a Zappos program called Pay to Quit in which each year, it offers to pay associates to quit.
"The first year the offer is made, it's for $2,000. Then it goes up one thousand dollars a year until it reaches $5,000. The headline on the offer is "Please Don't Take This Offer." We hope they don't take the offer; we want them to stay. Why do we make this offer? The goal is to encourage folks to take a moment and think about what they really want. In the long-run, an employee staying somewhere they don't want to be isn’t healthy for the employee or the company."
He also described a program that allows employees to provide customer service support for Amazon and Kindle customers while working from home. "This flexibility is ideal for many employees who, perhaps because they have young children or for another reason, either cannot or prefer not to work outside the home."
Fulfillment By Amazon, Amazon Prime
Interestingly Bezos revealed that Amazon offers fulfillment center tours open to the public, ages six and above - see more information on the Amazon website.
Fast Delivery, Amazon Fresh
"Fast Delivery" was also on the CEO's mind. "In partnership with the United States Postal Service, we've begun for the first time to offer Sunday delivery to select cities. Sunday delivery is a win for Amazon customers, and we plan to roll it out to a large portion of the U.S. population throughout 2014."
He went on to describe international delivery systems. "We've created our own fast, last-mile delivery networks in the UK where commercial carriers couldn't support our peak volumes. In India and China, where delivery infrastructure isn't yet mature, you can see Amazon bike couriers delivering packages throughout the major cities. And there is more invention to come. The Prime Air team is already flight testing our 5th and 6th generation aerial vehicles, and we are in the design phase on generations 7 and 8."
Apparel, Login and Pay with Amazon
Bezos told shareholders about new initiatives such as the Fire TV hardware device and its gaming studio.
And, he said, the Amazon Appstore now serves customers in almost 200 countries - selection has grown to include over 200,000 apps and games from top developers around the globe - nearly tripling in size over the past year.
You can read the fulltext of Jeff Bezos' letter to shareholders on the Amazon Investor Relations page of its website.
About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to email@example.com.
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