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Amazon Success Story: From a Startup to a 12-figure Business

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The e-commerce sector around the world is flourishing today and the major credit behind this shift goes to Amazon. One of the pioneers in e-commerce, Amazon has set new benchmarks in the industry. The Amazon success story has inspired many entrepreneurs to step into the e-commerce market and start on their own.

But, how did this happen? What were the major contributing factors to Amazon’s success? How did Amazon manage to keep up with its reputation? We’ll find answers to all such questions in this blog.

To start with the Amazon success story, we will first peep into the history.

History of Amazon Company


If you know even a little about the Amazon success story, you would know that Amazon.com was one of the very few companies in the world that started selling books online at that time. However, Jeff Bezos (Founder of the company) argued from the start that Amazon was not merely a retailer of consumer products, but a technology company aiming to simplify online transactions for consumers.

Bezos’ vision turned out to be successful as Amazon.com did grow fast in the initial days. The growth of the company was so astonishing that Bezos was bestowed by the Time Magazine as the Person of the Year, in 1999. The company also expanded in other areas like selling music and videos, consumer electronics, video games, software, home improvement items, toys, games, etc.

To keep up with the increasing demand for its services, Amazon needed more than private investors. Hence, within two years since its establishment, Amazon.com became a public company. The company raised $54 million on the NASDAQ market. It managed to use its high-flying stock for funding its aggressive growth and acquisition strategies.

Initial Hurdles


In 1999, Amazon made its first attempt to start a publishing business. It bought a defunct imprint and used it to publish books; however, the imprint vanished within a short period. According to sources, the company did not expect profits in these 4-5 years. This ultimately resulted in stakeholders complaining about the slow growth of the company. Some even doubted if the company would survive or not till the end.

Weathering the Storm


The dot com bubble burst destroyed many companies within no time. Amazon, however, was one of the few lucky companies that managed to survive and thrive during the unprecedented times. The company made its first profits in the fourth quarter of 2001. The revenues—in excess of $1 billion proved that the business model proposed by Bezos had the potential to succeed in the long run. In the subsequent years, Amazon saw a constant rise in its revenues.

The Meteoric Rise

As Bezos had cited Amazon to be a Technology Company, it launched Amazon Web Services (AWS) in 2002.  Initially, AWS offered data on internet traffic patterns, the popularity of the particular website, and several other factors and statistics useful for developers and marketers. In 2006, Amazon expanded its AWS portfolio when it launched the Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Simple Storage Service (S3). Both these services became an instant hit.

The company also ventured into the crowdsourcing market with Amazon Mechanical Turk. Being one of the early players, Amazon dominated the cloud computing sector and managed a major part of the internet’s physical infrastructure. In 2005, the company launched the Prime subscription program that promised faster deliveries as well as eliminated the delivery charges for shopping above a certain amount. 


Amazon also launched the kindle, a remarkable e-book series reader in 2007. Kindle became so popular that many people started to opt for it over physical books. Leveraging the increasing demand, the company introduced the Kindle Fire in 2011. As the demand for its services kept on increasing, the company started hiring more personnel. By 2011, the company had acquired 60,000 full-time employees in the United States. In the same year, it had more than 900 million visitors. The number of employees increased to 56,000 in 2012 and is constantly rising ever since.

Continuous Growth


In 2017, Amazon acquired Whole Foods—a high-end supermarket chain with over 400 stores—which is an important part of Amazon success story. This move was hailed as one of the masterstrokes to challenge Walmart’s supremacy in the brick-and-mortar retail market. Moreover, in 2018, Amazon announced to open its highly sought-after headquarters known as HQ2 in Long Island City, New York, and the Crystal City neighborhood of Arlington, Virginia.

When a majority of companies in the world were down by the detrimental impacts of the pandemic, the e-commerce industry was one of the few industries that managed to thrive. Thanks to the convenience they offered, Amazon’s services saw significant growth in demand during the pandemic. The company capitalized on the opportunities and ensured continuous growth. According to a statistic, Amazon’s profits have increased by around 200% since the onset of the pandemic.

Amazon: Today and Tomorrow

Over the past decade, Amazon has grown exponentially to become one of the largest and most successful companies across the globe. If we look at the market today, there are very few companies that even come close to Amazon. A report by CNBC claims that Amazon will be the most important company in the 2020s and if the company continues investing its efforts in providing the best service in every niche, there’s no doubt that it will be the ‘big player’ in the 2020s as well.

Important Factors behind the Amazon Success Story

Since Amazon’s inception, various factors have contributed to the Amazon success story. If we analyze carefully, the three factors that stand out are,

1. Widespread Presence

There’s a famous saying, “Earning small amounts of money from multiple sources is better than earning a whopping amount of money from a single source.” If we look at the largest and most successful companies in the world, one thing that we find common in a majority of them is their presence across multiple sectors.

Amazon is recognized globally for its e-commerce services. However, there is more to the company as it has also ventured into the cloud, OTT, and web services industries. Thus, an active presence across multiple industries is a secret to Amazon’s success as a global conglomerate.

2. Continuous Innovation

Companies that strive for continuous improvements in their services and operations often end up being the companies that experience continuous growth. In Amazon’s case, this quote holds to be true. Since its inception, Amazon has prioritized innovation and focused on bringing new dimensions to its existing products.

This has enhanced Amazon’s reputation in the market as an innovative and forward-moving company. Focusing on new innovations and ideas has also helped the company prevail in the intensely competitive global marketplace.

3. Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is what a business strives for. Amazon too puts a lot of emphasis on customer satisfaction. The company does thorough research on the changing customer demands to come up with the services they need the most. While ensuring the best-in-class service, Amazon also takes into account factors like affordability, convenience, etc. when it launches a new service.

It is famously said that a satisfied customer can become your best marketer. Although Amazon has a robust marketing team that comes up with new marketing campaigns every now and then, the word-of-mouth publicity from satisfied customers has certainly contributed to the growth and success of the company.

Is Amazon Good for Society?


Today, Amazon is disrupting many facets of society and is significantly impacting the economies around the world. Particularly in the U.S., the company is directly or indirectly impacting inflation, jobs, and investments. According to the Amazon’s website, it has created more jobs in the past decade than any other U.S. company and has invested more than $530 billion in the U.S. over the last decade. Moreover, Amazon’s investments have supported nearly 1.6 million indirect jobs in fields like construction and hospitality. These are probably the reasons that show why is Amazon good for society.

Although Amazon’s positive impacts on the society and the economy as a whole are not questionable, the company’s approach towards its own employees has certainly raised questions in the recent past. There have been several instances showing that workers at Amazon felt unsafe and neglected due to the stringent norms applied by the company. The outrage of the employees, if compared with Amazon’s positive impact on the society and the economy, does not seem to be that big a problem. However, if not addressed quickly, it can augment to become a major issue in the future.   

To sum up, there’s a lot to learn from the Amazon success story, particularly for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to live their dream of becoming the leaders in their respective industries. Even if you are not into entrepreneurship and business, we are sure that the Amazon success story will inspire you to work harder to achieve your dreams!

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