Executive Briefings

Remember When Amazon Only Sold Books?

When Jeff Bezos launched Amazon.com in 1994, he gave himself a 30-percent chance of success - slightly better than the 1 in 10 odds for Internet start-ups.

Remember When Amazon Only Sold Books?

"That's actually a very liberating expectation, expecting to fail," he said to Time magazine when it named him Person of the Year in 2000.

By then, sales had ticked past $1bn, but the company had yet to turn a profit. Some analysts remained skeptical that Bezos could deliver on his plan to sell everything and anything. (“Anything with a capital A,” he told Time.)

But two decades after its launch, Amazon has conquered online retail, racking up $136bn in sales in 2016. It’s also taken on cloud computing, tech gadgets and the entertainment world. With its blockbuster announcement that it is buying upscale grocery chain Whole Foods, Amazon now plans to upend yet another industry: grocery stores.

As consumers increasing rely on the Seattle-based e-commerce giant, it’s hard to remember a time when Amazon sold only one product: books.

“There's virtually nothing left that they haven't touched,” said Kelly O’Keefe, professor at the Virginia Commonwealth University Brandcenter.

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"That's actually a very liberating expectation, expecting to fail," he said to Time magazine when it named him Person of the Year in 2000.

By then, sales had ticked past $1bn, but the company had yet to turn a profit. Some analysts remained skeptical that Bezos could deliver on his plan to sell everything and anything. (“Anything with a capital A,” he told Time.)

But two decades after its launch, Amazon has conquered online retail, racking up $136bn in sales in 2016. It’s also taken on cloud computing, tech gadgets and the entertainment world. With its blockbuster announcement that it is buying upscale grocery chain Whole Foods, Amazon now plans to upend yet another industry: grocery stores.

As consumers increasing rely on the Seattle-based e-commerce giant, it’s hard to remember a time when Amazon sold only one product: books.

“There's virtually nothing left that they haven't touched,” said Kelly O’Keefe, professor at the Virginia Commonwealth University Brandcenter.

Read Full Article

Remember When Amazon Only Sold Books?