Thirty years ago, if someone used the word Amazon in a conversation with you, you would’ve assumed they were referring to the piranha packed South American river, but that’s not the case anymore. A reference to the river would be far more outside the norm now than the other Amazon reference, but these are the days where the internet rules.
Not that long ago, Amazon was a cute little website that was founded by thirty year old Jeff Bezos. They offered moderately priced entertainment items like CDs, DVDs, or computer games. Who knew it would turn into one of this generation’s technology innovators that is the fourth most valuable company in the world?
What Started It All
In 2007, Amazon took the world by storm with the invention of the Kindle e-Reader. Reading enthusiasts clogged up the internet trying to get their hands on this revolutionary piece of technology that promised they wouldn’t have to carry ten books with them on their vacation. Sure it lacked the fantastic smell of the written word printed on paper, but it was so much more convenient. This was the spark that started the technology fire for Amazon.
The Raging Fire
Amazon.com was doing pretty well selling other people’s electronics for a very long time. They made their bones selling iPods, DVD players, and even tablets, and they still do. However, they also offer an incredible array of fun and affordable electronic devices to keep the population more than a little bit entertained.
After the Kindle came the Kindle Fire, a primitive version of what they currently offer but an acceptable alternative to Apple’s huge tablet, the iPad. The Kindle Fire came in at a price point hundreds of dollars less than what Apple was offering. Sure it didn’t match the iPad’s capabilities entirely, but for novice users it was the perfect substitute.
Since then, Amazon’s Fire has been raging out of control. They have upgraded the Fire tablet and the Kindle to the point that older versions seem clunky and poorly designed. They’ve also pumped out nearly a dozen new products that are being heralded as some of the best electronics on the market. The Fire TV and Firestick are some of the most popular streaming outlets in the world, jailbreaking capability aside. The Echo, Echo Dot, Tap, and now the Echo Show are quickly cementing Amazon’s tech savvy status for loyal shoppers. Their smart guide Alexa now rivals Apple’s Siri and is even doing solid competition with the newer ‘hey Google’ devices.
Recently, Amazon topped WalMart in value and apparently, they’re not satisfied with just surpassing them. Solid efforts are being made to best the retail giant in almost every way. They’re the holding company of several major internet sites including, but not limited to, Zappos.com, Goodreads, and IMDb, but that’s not all they’ve been up to.
Besides the rumor mill cranking out stories about Amazon purchasing Rite Aid or Whole Foods, they’ve been doing the most with their own brand as well. Not only do they have Amazon Drive, their own personal cloud storage system where users can back up photos, files, songs, and downloaded content, but they also offer an incredible array of download services.
Their subscription service, now offered for a monthly rate, Amazon Prime is gaining popularity in record numbers as people recognize the incredible benefits the program offers. Besides free two day shipping (on ALMOST everything), Prime members are treated to Amazon’s catalog of free and low cost digital content, super cheap one-day shipping, and deals that aren’t available to others right away.
The most recent idea will change the way Amazon does the internet. With the announcement of Amazon Fresh, they just blew traditional grocery shopping out of the water. Packed with options for grocery shoppers, Fresh is offering pretty competitive prices for meat, produce, and household items. The best part though? They’ll deliver it and it’s only an additional $15 a month for the convenience.
Is Amazon going to change the world? Probably not. However, they just may change the way Americans do business, the way we’re using the internet, or how we shop. Is the river in South America even comparable in popularity anymore?