Buying things online is simple. We search, click on the things that we want and hit purchase. Just a few days later, you get a text message notifying you that your package has been delivered. The logistical mastery is unprecedented.
Did you know that Amazon patented and trademarked 1-Click purchasing in 1999? The patent US5960411 protects any e-commerce transaction executed with one-click purchasing using stored customer information.
Today, Amazon.com (AMZN) is the largest internet based retailer in the United States and is by far one of the most brandable domain names in the world. The company was founded on July 5th 1994 in Bellevue, Washington by Jeff Preston Bezos. Since inception, Amazon has launched an almost unbelievable selection of products and services, including the Amazon Kindle, Fire Phone, Amazon Web Services, Fire TV, Amazon Local, Amazon Echo, AmazonFresh, Amazon Dash and Amazon Prime (the two day free shipping service). The company is currently empired in South Lake Union, Seattle.
Not surprisingly, Bezos was gifted at a young age. He admired inventors, not athletes. He was able to break-down complicated math problems and even rigged electrical contraptions around the house. Not all was smooth sailing though for the young albuquerque native, however. His biological father left him and his mother at the young age of three. Three years after the divorce, Jacklyn Gise (Bezos’ mom) married Miguel Bezos, a Cuban Immigrant. And according to Business Insider, Jeff Bezos has yet to converse with his biological father.
Image source: Academy of Achievment
After graduating from Princeton University with a degree in computer science and electrical engineering (summa cum laude) and prior to founding Amazon, Bezos worked at an investment firm on Wall Street called D.E. Shaw & Co. In 1990, he became the youngest senior vice president in the firm’s history. His future in the investment field looked more than promising until he read a shocking report about the internet. The report claimed that the annual web commerce growth rate was growing at an alarming 2300%. “Things just don’t grow that fast,” said Bezos. After jotting down several ideas that could easily be sold online, he narrowed the list down to five. Items on the list included: compact discs, computer hardware, computer software, videos and books. Bezos narrowed it down further to books because of the demand for literature, their low price and the abundance of inventory already available. In 1994, Bezos quit his lucrative job on Wall Street, convinced his wife that the regret of doing nothing would be greater than failing and pursued his dream.
Why is Amazon called Amazon?
Amazon has not always been called Amazon. Originally, Bezos incorporated the company in his Bellevue garage (10704 NE 28th St, Bellevue WA 98004, now owned by a T-mobile engineer) as Cadabra.com as in “abra cadabra.” The brand name died shortly after Bezos’ trademark lawyer mistakenly heard “cadaver.” Not exactly a brand that would travel far. Another name Bezos considered was relentless.com, but that also fell short. The search for the new name began. Similar to the founders (Page and Brin) of Google, Bezos looked for a brand name that would align with his vision: the earth’s biggest bookstore. Bezos picked up a dictionary and scanned word after word, page after page. In 1995, he discovered the word “Amazon” (lets hope he started alphabetically), as in earth’s largest river, not in length but in drainage. He liked the homonym for two primary reasons. In the past, websites were listed alphabetically, which meant Amazon would always be higher on the page, giving a slight competitive advantage. And secondly, he picked the largest river in the world to communicate Amazon’s vast selection of books. Amazon is now the largest everything store, selling everything from portable dressing rooms to gardening chaps to Obama nail clippers. They have it all, from A to Z.
Logo Evolution 1995 – 2015
With any evolving company comes an evolving logo. You’ll notice from the timeline below that with time, Amazon’s logo became cleaner and simpler. This approach is common for any big brand that gains large recognition, understanding and adoption in the marketplace. You’ll notice the smiling arrow in the 2015 logo. This is a subtle cue that signifies that Amazon carries everything from A->Z.
Read More: Why is it called Zappos?
Must Watch: Difference between Gifts & Choices
I will hazard a prediction. When you are 80 years old, and in a quiet moment of reflection narrating for only yourself the most personal version of your life story, the telling that will be most compact and meaningful will be the series of choices you have made. In the end, we are our choices. Build yourself a great story. – “We are What We Choose.” Remarks by Jeff Bezos, as delivered to the Princeton Class of 2010
Fulfillment Centers: People, Robots & Drones
Amazon has more than 50 fulfillment centers and employs over 150,000 people, including robots and drones. Their warehouses have more square footage than 700 Madison Square Gardens. How do they know where the soap is? In 2012, Amazon acquired Kivas, the nine year old supply chain management company (orange warehouse robots) for $775 million. The little bots travel at 3-4 miles an hour, can carry over 750 lbs, contain motion sensors and are extremely navigable. They are currently installed in 10 of their fulfillment centers.
This technology investment reduces humans error and drastically speeds up the packaging process by bringing accurate products to employees, rather than vice versa. Better at fulfillment than arguably any other company, Amazon sees the future through a clearer lens. This investment is just another example of understanding of how expectations change with time – eventually two day shipping will be slow. A couple years ago, Amazon customers ordered 36.8 million products globally or 426 items every second on Cyber Monday. Amazon even struck a deal with USPS to deliver packages on Sundays. But what if extra trucks and robots aren’t fast enough? Then what? It’s simple; find something that isn’t depended on street lights, something that can travel freely. In late 2013, Amazon announced a future delivery service called Amazon PrimeAir. The goal is to deliver packages in less than 30 minutes via drones. Yes, drones. Do you think this is realistic or just a great marketing stunt before the holiday shopping season? Just maybe, a big maybe (I’m optimistic though), drones will be as normal as deliver trucks. Time will tell.
7 Things you didn’t know about Bezos & Amazon
- Bezos and his wife adopted a daughter from China
- This was the first book ever sold on Amazon
- Amazon purchased Zappos.com for $1.2 billion in 2009
- Bezos and his wife have donated $2.5m to support same-sex marriage
- Bezos was involved in a helicopter crash in 2003. He escaped with minor injuries
- Bezos started a space company in 2000 called Blue Origin LLC
- Last year, Amazon’s site went down for 49 minutes, which resulted in $5.7 million loss in revenue
Thanks for reading “Why is it called Amazon?” #whyisitcalledAmazon
Adam Lang is the founder and editor of Rewind & Capture. He is passionate about creative marketing, design and brand etymology.