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Amazon.com, Inc is an e-commerce giant and has also diversified into different sectors such as cloud computing. It headquarters is in Settle, Washington, United States.  Amazon offers various products through the internet.

These products include books, electronics, movies, games and music. It is also involved in the food market.  The company is also a search technology and a digital advertising platform. Amazon is close to being a trillion-dollar come and is one of the most powerful businesses in the globe.

Amazon initially started retailing in the United states but has expanded to international countries.

This case study report is an analysis of the Amazon.com Inc. The report describes opportunities for growth and development and issues and or constraints which could limit or prohibit the firm's growth and development.

It also explores the resources the firm needs to attain this potential growth and evaluates obstacles or limitations to achieving the growth and development.  It also identifies possible solutions to these problems and selects the best solution.

Stakeholders

Amazon was established on July 5, 1994 by its current CEO and Chairman Jeff Bezos. The Amazon websites are designed in a way that it allows Amazon and third parties to sell their unique wide range of products. Amazon has a lot of competition from other online retailers but still has a strong base of online retailers who still purchase from them. The principle competitive factors for Amazon against its competitors is the price, convenience, fast and reliable fulfillment, and selection. The low range of the company's brand products and the thin profit margin are some of the weaknesses of Amazon. These weaknesses act as an impediment to the company's greatness in the competitive online retail market.

Stakeholders of an organization are persons or groups who have a stake on organization’s activities and resources. Stakeholders influence the operations of a company while the company also influences the stakeholders. Amazon, operating on a global scale, faces widely varying stakeholders' interests.  In satisfying its globally distributed stakeholders, Amazon maintains its top-notch market position as the leading e-commerce company. Amazon interlinks its stakeholders’ interests with CSR initiatives. Amazon’s CSR activities are designed and aligned to satisfy the interests of stakeholders groups namely customers, employees and the communities. The other stakeholders are Government Agencies and suppliers.

The most important stakeholders' group for Amazon is the customers, and they give them the highest priority. It considers its customers as core determinants of its online business since the customers directly affect the company's revenues. Amazon's vision and mission statement relays the importance of the customers and considers customers as central to its operations. The interests of Amazon customers are the convenience of service, fair pricing, and online transactions security. The company meets these interests through an emphasis on service and evolutionary technology. Amazon employees are well trained to utilize technology to its full potential while ensuring customer's convenience.  The company provides fair pricing by allowing competition among sellers on their online website and also by implementing the market-based pricing strategy.

Employees are the second group of Amazon’s stakeholders and are considered as vital determinants of the company’s performance as well its CSR practices and programs. The employees’ interests in a company are career development and competitive remuneration. The human resources of Amazon facilitate the development and implementation of new ideas to improve the company's efficiency which results in the competitive advantage of the other e-commerce industry competitors. Appropriate compensation policy and leadership development are the plans used by Amazon to satisfy the interests of employees.  The compensation policy is designed based on the high growth potential of the company. For instance, the company gives high compensation to Information technology personnel involved in the development and maintenance of its e-commerce business information systems' assets. The expansion of the company's business globally creates opportunities for employees' career development mainly those in the leadership and management levels.

Amazon Competitors

The communities as Amazon’s stakeholders are vital to the company because they influence consumers’ perception on the company’s products and services. Development support is the primary interests of communities. The areas for development support include healthcare, environment and education sectors. Amazon Smile is Amazon's primary community support program through which they donate a specific percentage of its revenues to charitable organizations.  Therefore, through the philanthropic programs the interests of communities as the stakeholders of Amazon are satisfied.

The government Agencies that is an Amazon stakeholder include Federal communication commission, which defines the broadband required to meet the large communication needs and desires of customers.

The suppliers for Amazon include partnerships which it has formed and the sellers that provide their products for sale by the company.

There exist various online retailers who have become notable by operating through an online presence only including Amazon, e-bay, and Alibaba.com. The top competitors to Amazon are Wal-Mart, Alibaba, and Google. Alibaba acts as a middleman between the sellers, and the buyers facilitate the exchange of goods. Also, Alibaba has a PayPal-like financial service, AliPay and has emerged as a competitor in the Chinese financial system. Amazon is the second competitor to Amazon and competes in the discount stores industry. Google is the third competitor to Amazon, and it deals in the internet software industry.

Outlined below are the case study’s objectives to be achieved:

  1. To describes opportunities for growth and development for Amazon.com Inc

  2. To identify and explore constraints which could limit or prohibit the Amazon.com Inc growth and development.

  3. To explore the resources Amazon.com needs to attain this potential growth and evaluates obstacles or limitations to achieving these resources.

  4. To identify possible solutions to these problems and provide recommendations.

We adopted informal ways to undertake case study on Amazon.com Inc.  Information was gathered through the below steps:

  1. We researched the available case studies about Amazon.com formulated by other as well as articles on Amazon.com and noted key areas on Amazon growth opportunities and challenges, resources, and strategies.  

  2. We also watched a lot of videos based on merchant and customer reviews, also videos on Amazon.com Inc strategies, 
     
  3. Finally, we then read and validated the gathered information on Amazon.com website, and Amazon.com Inc Annual reports.

Growth opportunities for Amazon

Growth opportunities for Amazon.com Inc exist in various growth aspects namely, market penetration, product development, and market development.

Amazon has prime growth opportunity with Whole Foods Integration. Growth comes from new consumers’ growth occurring due to increased convenience and competitive pricing. Amazon integrated their Prime loyalty program to Whole Foods market which they acquired in 2017. The Prime loyalty program has accelerated the changing shoppers’ behavior.  Amazon has an estimated 80 million prime members in the United States, and 20 million of the Prime members are shopping at Whole Foods. A study carried out by sense 360, revealed through its behavioral data, depicted that 27% of Amazon consumers are more likely to visit Whole Foods market than the non-Amazon consumers. Value for money and attractive daily prices are the biggest motivators for both Amazon shoppers and Whole Foods Shoppers.   At Whole Foods, Amazon offers new discounts and savings for Amazon Prime members only, the offer for prime members only has then attracted more prime members who not only become Whole Foods consumers but join the entire Amazon ecosystem. Also, the existing Amazon Prime members are continuously being drawn to the Whole Foods Market due to the new discounts and savings. The integration of Prime loyalty program with Whole Foods market has provided a competitive advantage to Amazon over other retailers and also provides further growth opportunities for Amazon.

Objectives

The Amazon’s Whole Food and prime loyalty program integration strategy is affecting every retailer and has made Amazon a direct competitor to US retailers and consumer products manufacturers. Amazon has a growth opportunity when they take the Whole Foods Private Label products online providing every shopper in the United States with shelf-stable products. Data-decisioning is at the core of Amazon’s operations.  Utilizing the prime integration Amazon is collecting Whole Foods consumers identified grocery transaction data.  Amazon has been known to personalize every consumer’s interaction by providing the products it believes you want and like by utilizing data from previous purchases, browsing, and searches.  

The personalization techniques utilized by Amazon in its other products can be used in the Whole Foods marketing coupled with taking Whole Foods Private Label products online, and it will provide exploding growth opportunities for Amazon across the United States. Therefore, strategic personalization which involves tailoring the products, information, and pricing to the individual consumer will offer growth opportunities to Amazon in its Whole Food marketing.  

Healthcare is a huge industry in the United States and around the globe and is guaranteed to grow forever, and it provides a growth opportunity for Amazon. Amazon could utilize its expertise undertaken everything from pharmaceutical supply chain to the Medicare management. The United States prescription drug market is estimated to be 400 billion dollar market. Amazon had plans to utilize its Amazon Marketplace to sell pharmaceutical drugs but abandoned the strategy. In June Amazon acquired PillPack, a company which ships pills to a customer as well as makes the individual packets of pills an individual is required to take daily. Therefore, this acquisition is a tremendous asset for Amazon's pharmaceutical plans since it is already licensed to ship prescription in all the 50 states of the United States. Amazon can simplify the supply chain and also improve cost expenses for manufacturers, patients, and payers. Through, Amazon’s Business marketplace, the company has been selling medical supplies such as nylon sutures and syringes to the U.S hospitals. The limited selection of medical supplies is sold through its office, industrial and healthcare supplies section.  Amazon is developing a tool that will give the hospital a platform to make a comparison between its traditional suppliers and the Amazon marketplace supplies. The tool is part of the implementation framework to attain its objective of becoming a significant healthcare supplier to hospitals in the United States. Therefore, medical supplies are the other major component for growth for Amazon.

Methodology

Healthcare being an industry has two primary components; delivery aspect and computational and data aspect. The delivery aspects of the healthcare sector involve interactions between the specialist institutions, skilled personnel and the patients for services including diagnosis, treatment, and nursing care. The computational and data aspects involve medical records, tests, image scanning, and test results as well as administration. The computational and data component of the healthcare industry is where Amazon can major for growth opportunities. After all, collecting, manipulate and exploiting data is what Amazon comprehends and does. Amazon teamed up with Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan bank to develop a not-for-profit healthcare system with a designed mission of reducing the health care costs of their combined estimated 1.2 million employees. From the venture with Berkshire Hathaway, Amazon now has more than 1.2 million employees diverse in age, socioeconomic status, and geography to evaluate its products before releasing to its consumers. The data collected will be beneficial for assessing solutions for specific use aspects such as chronic disease management as well as for population demands such as pharmaceutical delivery. It will be difficult for traditional companies in the healthcare sector, to compete with Amazon whose strategy is independent on making a profit since it makes a lot of money from its core operations such as AWS and prime.

Amazon could implement a platform for health benefits management by devolving into claims management and billing. The current system for health benefits management involves manual data entry, multiple steps, and intermediaries. Amazon can develop a technology that structures and standardizes the payments and the administration back-end of claims, then various organizations like pharmacies, PCPs and wellness companies can outsource claims processes to Amazon. Amazon could also develop a platform for health services distribution provided small health plans or employers. Therefore through such platforms, Amazon creates incentives from, both front-end platform and back-end services. Also, Amazon can also adopt growing opportunities in providing various services to Physicians, hospitals and healthcare providers. Many institutions in the healthcare prefer to hire parties for implementation modern technology systems solutions due to low implementation costs and low up-front costs. Amazon can develop a back-end for healthcare providers by adopting a backward integration strategy. For example, Amazon can implement a system into the EMR to input and output data. Also, Alexa can be applied for voice applications in the healthcare system.

 As the healthcare industry is becoming is a playground for go-betweens and for making excessive profits, Amazon in its current state is well-positioned to transform the healthcare sector. Therefore, Amazon has growth opportunities in the healthcare sector.

Analysis

In 2017, digital advertising business was $209 billion around the globe and is rapidly increasing. The most lucrative market is the United States with advertisers spending $40.1 in digital advertising during the first half of 2017.Amazon is among the top digital advertisers in the US below the digital advertising league leaders GOOGLE and Facebook.  Advertisers are looking for a third advertising dominator and Amazon is likely to be their choice based on the consumers’ insights the company has from its robust e-commerce business. Also, the company is willing, to share consumers’ data unlike GOOGLE and Facebook, hence the other reason, for the company to be selected by advertisers and hence digital advertising is a growth opportunity for Amazon. The company does not yet sell advertisements through its voice assistant service, Alexa, but it can exploit this area for further growth opportunities. Furthermore, the company expands its advertising beyond the Amazon sites by collaborating with third-parties to advertise on mobile screens and televisions.

Amazon allows companies to sponsor listings of products so they will show up at the top of the relevant search results on its website store. Amazon can grow by offering advertisers better algorithm and data to ensure that the advertiser’s product pops in front of the ideal consumer.

Amazon’s principal strategy for growth and development is in market development. The core objective of market development is the entry into new markets and growth in the already exploited markets.  Amazon.com Inc originally offered its services and products only in America it has expanded and currently operates retail online shops in various countries including Australia, UK, Canada, India, and China.  Amazon considers FBA services as a significant aspect in its foreign establishments. Each new market, the e-commerce giant exploits is taken as growth opportunity. The strategic objective associated with the company's international expansion is to develop new online retail shopping area that match the market, Amazon is exploiting. Therefore, international markets offer opportunities for growth and development for Amazon. Com Inc.

Channel expansion and High-growth pains

Amazon has been scaling up operations rapidly and diversifying into new services, products and acquisition like the Whole Foods. The expansion and diversification present a unique set of challenges and positions the company in a risk-vulnerable position. The company is significantly expanding its global operations including expanding the products and services offered as well as scaling-up of infrastructure to support the expanding retail and service operations. The significant and rapid expansion and diversification raises the issue of complexity within the company which results in a major strain to the company's management, operations, personnel, financial resources, technical performance, systems, internal financial controls, and reporting functions. With the expansion, the company may not effectively manage the growth which then could have major consequences on the company’s brand image, reputation, growth and revenues.

One of the biggest constraint or challenge to Amazon growth and development is risks associated with international operations. The risks to be faced by the e-commerce giant in its global operations growth and development are outlined as follows;

Business licensing across borders: Licenses, permits, and certifications may be required for the import and export of certain products. Failure to comply or possess these documents will then result in adverse impacts on the business.

Local political and economic conditions: Each of the international collaboration is subject to the negativity of the changing political and economic conditions including the geopolitical events such as war and terrorism.

International regulations on E-commerce: the international regulations arising from international sales include export laws, taxes, and governing bodies.

Currency exchange regulations and restrictions: Depending on the country, limitations of funds investment may exist as well as restrictions on exchange rate values and foreign currency exchange.

Cultural and language differences: In international operations when staffing is necessary, cultural and language differences will be difficult to navigate, and communication-related risks can result.

Access to the Internet and Net neutrality: Net neutrality and access to the internet are some of the major threats to e-commerce expansion and growth in international borders. Amazon and its affiliate’s sales in India and China are regulated.

Amazon faces a massive influx of orders and traffic on holidays mainly the year-end holiday. The uptick in the customers’ volume on these holidays imposes various challenges and Amazon has to prepare for aspects such as.

Increased shopping costs' planning: Amazon has to formulate a strategy to meet the needs of last-minute shoppers and express delivery which involves increased costs.

Demand forecasting; Amazon carries evaluation of inventory to ensure it does not sell out which then can impact the company negatively.

Crash risks associated with increased traffic: For increased traffic volume, extra bandwidth is added while making sure the site does not crash which then will negatively impact the sales and reputation.  

Government regulations result in various legislative issues which then impact on the growth and development of Amazon.

Data protection: Regulations and changes on policies on data protection will impact the company as it will require increased investments on strategies for data security and monitoring for risks mitigation.

Energy consumption; Major government regulations and policies changes can significantly impact all the operations from manufacturing to shipping.

Taxation: Increase in online retail taxes will impact the company revenues affecting its growth and development.

Online Payment services: Changes to online payments will extensively impact Amazon as an online retailer. Also, the digital currencies and systems such as bitcoin and blockchain will pose a disruption to the Amazon system.

Amazon in rapid growth faces various risks and challenges which may constraint further growth and development.  Technology is advancing at an alarming rate, and this poses a certain amount of risk to Amazon even with its adaptability and agility to these changes.  Stock value is volatile and influenced by various events and Amazon being a public traded company has to answer to investors. The e-commerce industry practices such as the way consumers undertake research, learn and, conduct shopping always vary, so adapting and forecasting for these trends can be complicated and pricey to the company which then will hinder its growth and development.

According to Gerry et al. (2014), resources are the assets that a company possess and can utilize to undertake its operations and to attain its strategic objectives. Amazon resources include human capital, financial and technological resources.

The presence of a strong and effective leadership imposes a great responsibility on the company’s leadership and management because leadership implies the overall performance capacity. Amazon as of September 2018 had 566,000 employees and over 260 million customers. Amazon always undertakes several employee empowerment programmes to focus and channel the staff expertise, motivation, experience, innovation, and knowledge.  The employee empowerment programmes include Career Choices which involves paying for employees to undertake courses in demands fields, Pay to Quit which involves employees being offered money to quit and encouraged to think about their careers and hence eliminating the unhealthy sections of the company. The utilization of these resources by Amazon.com Inc provides the effective services to its customers. For growth and development, Amazon requires more human capital. As Amazon internationally expands and diversifies, human capital is necessary.   

The physical resources of Amazon include digital merchandise, customer databases, fulfillment centers, patents (for example the one Click Payment System), shipping infrastructure and Technological resources (include computing system and online resources). Amazon requires physical resources such as fulfillment centers and technological infrastructures in various regions outside the United States. Amazon possesses a robust technological infrastructure with a single platform.

Amazon's human resources and facilities are the core components of the company's flexible and robust supply chain. The combination of the human resources, technological resources and financial resources associated with Amazon.com Inc play a vital role in the prosperity of the company as well as for growth and development. Therefore, Amazon requires enormous financial resources, physical resources and human capital for growth and development.

Amazon has annual revenue of 192 Billion dollars and has raised a total of 56 million dollars in funding.

Amazon has become an e-commerce juggernaut over two decades since its inception in 1994 and has ventured into different verticals. It has also become a cloud computing behemoth. While some of the Amazon’s alternatives for growth and development have been successful, some failed, and others rejected.

Amazon released its Smartphone, Fire Phone in July 2014 and its debut price was $199. The phone needed to be technically advanced and coolest to date but did not quite pick up due to competition from Androids and iPhones. The company further cut the price to, but it did not sell too. From the Fire phone failure, Amazon wrote-off $170 Million loss. By September of 2015, when the supply Fire phone ran-out, it was no longer available for sale.

Amazon introduced WebPay in 2007, a service similar to PayPal that allowed a person using the service to transfer money for free to his friends . The service was shut down in 2014, with Amazon citing, copying as the reason for shutting down since other companies were introducing similar services to the market.

Destinations was an Amazon microsite for selling hotel deals that the company tried to utilize it to venture into the travel industry, but it did not succeed.

In 2011, Amazon launched a hub for daily deals following the success of Groupon. The local deals were embraced by customers when it kicked-off, but the novelty quickly wore off. Amazon shut down the hub on 18 December 2014. Amazon did not make its services on Amazon local unique either through technological innovation or through better and diversify deals hence the reason for wearing-off.

Technology Integration and Research and Development

Amazon.com Inc should increase their budget in the research and development arena. Additional telecommunications innovations such as network security and high-speed internet should be implemented by Amazon, as it is what retailers soon will be encountering. As the number of consumers increase and connections increase in speed, retailers must be aware of their speeds since any delays on their side be less tolerable to the customers. Therefore, to stay ahead of the competitors, Amazon should prepare a comfortable and unique consumer interface.

Expansion into Scandinavian countries is the proposed solution for international expansion because it aligns with corporate goals by utilizing the strengths and opportunities of the company and the environment. The Scandinavian market is untapped, and the expansion will result in new company customers and provide better customer experience the Scandinavians customers resulting in loyalty and customer development. The cons associated with the Scandinavian markets include up-to-date technological infrastructure, the high internet consumption, high income per capita and also great importation and exportation potential. Amazon is less popular in various countries in Asia, and they should explore that market by applying the techniques they implemented in India.

There exist obstacles or limitations that could hinder Amazon's International expansion; Technical Infrastructure: For international expansion, local infrastructure limitations are one of the barriers to obtaining the infrastructure required for products and services delivery. Sites launched in various international markets may not be hosted by servers in those countries due to reasons such as local infrastructure limitations. In other global markets, local hosting or geo-based server balancing may be expensive. In such markets, it is Imperative for Amazon to find turn-key vendor that provides geo-load balancing and dedicated IT resources. Therefore, local infrastructure limitations in other international markets act as obstacles for attaining the technical infrastructure required for Amazon growth and development in international markets.

Logistics: Logistics is associated with the products and services as resources of an organization. International markets are associated with regulations and policies such as import regulations, taxes, tariffs and export laws. Other regulations are related to shipping, for example, some countries prohibit and restrict the shipping of certain items. Also, other international markets are well known for corruption, supporting terrorism or positioned in disaster-prone areas. These situations can result in unreliable e-commerce transactions and delivery. There exist various methods to mitigate the stated risks associated with certain international markets. Choosing fulfillment needs that accommodate the expansion needs of Amazon is the solution for risks related to international markets.  The company can also collaborate with a vendor who is already conversant with the marketplace and the challenges associated with that market to educate the company on the best practices in those markets.

In-market support: International markets have customer support needs. The existing human capital of the company will be faced with various cultural and language barriers in non-English speaking countries. Localized versions of the designed mode of communication for customers’ service should also be implemented for in-market support.

To keep a long-lasting relationship with consumers, Amazon should always keep an up to date inventory and very accurate. Also, Amazon should utilize pictures other than descriptions in portraying their products. Images are more attractive, and the consumers will be convinced to check the product.

Amazon should continuously update the status of the orders to the customers and keeping them on the loop by email and also updating the consumers through the emails on the last content and books.

Amazon should conduct follow-up after shipping out a product to a consumer. The company should send an email to the consumer after a day or two of expecting the delivery to the client and ask the consumer if they have received their package and remind them that a customer representative is available in case they require any explanations.

In this technological age, one-on-one advertising is a potent technique. Human beings are always swift to visit sites that are identified by their colleagues as awesome and marvelous. Amazon can exploit this technique by rewarding individuals who bring in new customers. This can be attained through referral codes or coupons during a specific season.

  1. Develop more brick-and-mortar stores to tap on those customers who do not utilize online stores as well to improve competitiveness with other retailers such as Wal-Mart. 90% of retail income is from Brick-and-mortar stores even though, e-commerce retail development is remarkable. Brick-and-mortar stores improve brand popularity and increase the market reach.  
  2. Amazon should continuously undertake stringent measures to counteract cybercrime against online operations and also to counteract counterfeiting. The issue of counterfeiting arises since the business model of Amazon is easily imitable. Amazon can address counterfeiting by developing technological measures and policies. For instance, production evaluation procedures.

  3. Amazon needs to cut their processing cost and handle their processing cost in-house to main their cutting edges which provide them with cutting cost as well as deal with the shrinking margins.

  4. To deal with the shrinking margins and to maintain their cutting edge, Amazon needs to reduce the payment processing costs and to deal with their transaction in-house as much as they can. Amazon should develop a PayPal-like environment for money transfer within, in and out of Amazon will result in a miniature economy which they can control.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Amazon.com Inc has embraced innovation and since its inception in 1995, it evolved into e-commerce giant and also diversified into different sectors such as cloud computing. Amazon meets the interests of its stakeholders through various corporate social responsibility initiatives, and these stakeholders include customers, employees, partnerships, government agencies, suppliers and outside communities. Amazon top three competitors in the retailer sector are Alibaba, Wal-Mart, and Google. Strategic personalization which involves tailoring the products, information, and pricing to the individual consumer will provide growth opportunities for Amazon in its Whole Food marketing.  Amazon requires enormous financial resources, physical resources and human capital for growth and development. Fire phones and Amazon local are some of the Amazon’s flops in its strategies to expand and develop. Technology Integration and Research and Development and international markets are some of the solutions to keys issues facing Amazon growth and development. One of the biggest constraint or challenge to Amazon growth and development is risks associated with international operations which include government regulation, shipping, and delivery problems as well as the political and economic landscape of such global markets. The principle competitive factors for Amazon against its competitors is the price, convenience, fast and reliable fulfillment, and selection. Therefore, utilizing these principle aspects, Amazon continues to expand and generate enormous revenues while also expanding into various industries like healthcare.

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[Accessed 19 July 2024].

My Assignment Help. 'Analysis Of Amazon.com Inc.: Opportunities And Constraints For Growth And Development Essay.' (My Assignment Help, 2021) <https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/entrep7028ol-managing-strategy-and-growth/amazons-csr-activities.html> accessed 19 July 2024.

My Assignment Help. Analysis Of Amazon.com Inc.: Opportunities And Constraints For Growth And Development Essay. [Internet]. My Assignment Help. 2021 [cited 19 July 2024]. Available from: https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/entrep7028ol-managing-strategy-and-growth/amazons-csr-activities.html.

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