Since their first faltering online steps back in 1995, Amazon have often been at odds with prevailing web trends, and with their latest earnings report showing a fall-off in profits recently, many stockholders are considering selling up and moving on.
However, buried in the same report is an important figure that hints that the company may simply be ahead of the curve, becoming the first group to turnover more than $1bn solely through mobile channels.
Since launching under the Cadabra name back in the mid 90’s Amazon have consistently shown themselves to be innovative developers of multichannel strategy.
Functionality such as one-click ordering combined with multi departmental communication and delivery all conform to the cardinal rule of multichannel: make it easy.
Customers annoyed at the prospect of long registration forms or complex, segregated returns or service policies have obviously been voting with their wallets recently with the online books, games and..well…pretty much everything retailer declaring earnings greater than $1bn through it’s mobile commerce channels alone.
It’s worth remembering that financially speaking things aren’t entirely as rosy for the company, with no clear profit shown until the final quarter of it’s fourth business year and a growth strategy that seems horrendously slow.
Despite this, it is a model that’s proven to be robust enough for the often vague currents of online retail, while a consistent dedication to design, process and overall branding has enabled scalable long term success.
While this figure is undoubtedly due largely to this companywide strategic approach, it is a figure that helps ratify mobile commerce as a new growth sector, and one that marketing departments should consider carefully before rejecting.
Crucially, as well as having a dedicated iPhone app, Amazon has covered all bases with a mobile optimised website, which can appeal to a broader audience. This is similar to the approach taken by eBay, which has also seen some impressive mobile sales figures. A combination of a well known brand name and usable mobile sites has appealed to customers.
It can no longer be argued that customers are being turned off by lack of coverage or resolution on mobile devices, or that potential profits do not justify start-up and development costs.
While no official figures are forthcoming, it isn’t outside the realms of possibility to consider that Kindle’s continued growth in the face of stiff, Apple-shaped competition may have also had an influence when it came to generating the sizeable chunk of change.
Amazon has a history of leading the pack and once again seems to have placed their bets in the right place. Customers and devices are ready, meaning other businesses must now rise to the integration challenge or risk missing out on a sizeable slice of the market.
Like eBay, Amazon has been quick to release mobile commerce sites and apps, and while other retailers are still pondering such a move, these two giants of online retail have a firmly established mobile presence.