“to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices.” Amazon Vision Statement
As you begin this New Year, do not confuse Tactic for Strategy. As I tell ecommerce entrepreneurs, do not see online shopping as strategy; it should be nothing but a tactic. Your overriding vision is for people to buy from you. And if you have that flexible mindset, you should be open to add offline capabilities when necessary to advance the mission of retail.
Amazon is seen by many as an e-commerce company. That is wrong: Amazon is a consumer-centric provider of services which began as an ecommerce company but has morphed into new domains through its acquisition of Whole Foods and making of hardware like Kindle and smart speakers. Simply, while you can read “online” in the Amazon vision statement, the fact remains that the firm wants to serve customers, whether online or offline. For Amazon, the mission is servicing customers, and it is largely agnostic of the domain where that is done, provided it can do so cost-efficiently.
Yes, for Amazon to win online, it has to excel on logistics which interestingly is an offline component. That means, Amazon is not just making a better website: it is fixing huge frictions from logistics to customer experiences. As it does those things, it wins more domains and territories as more customers become fans. Yes, while the ecommerce is the one oasis, the company has built many things to make it better.
The biggest factor to Amazon’s success will remain the experiences it gives to its customers. Fascinatingly, those experiences are not restricted on how the website loads and looks; they include if those customers do receive the bought items on time and in full! Consequently, Amazon has been fighting the marginal cost warfare by reducing distribution cost in its operations.
In this 2019, the key is this: do not be bounded on the purity of technology. Focus on the business friction and be open to try new paths as you push that call. You cannot afford to be a web business only when all the money remains offline. But you can add online as a tactic in order to differentiate even as you make efforts to be relevant to your customers who remain largely offline in Nigeria and Africa. Open a new playbook.
We can extrapolate and extend the piece to cover whatever products or services one offers. It is the customers who determine what the product is and all its possible uses and applications.
Do not restrict your product’s usage to only the things you think it should do or was meant for; always pay closer attention to different ways your products and services are used by the consumers, knowing such could increase your offerings and also help you deepen what is currently obtainable.
Being dynamic and attentive to what is happening in your market would be the starting point, and from there, open your mind up to all possibilities conceivable. Even the earth moves, so there is no need to keep your mission and vision static; you could even become a whole new kind of business, without losing your customers and admirers.
Evolution makes it possible for you to satisfy different stratum of people, without losing your essence; to remain relevant and successful, being rigid may not be a good characteristic you need to have.
The year is still very fresh, let the freshness permeate all your faculties and the way you think and do things.