I was interviewed for an article with the National Retail Federation (NRF) on the 21 Ways Amazon Changed the Face of Retail. Perhaps there are even more! Here were my quotes in the article
“Amazon’s horizon for innovation and disruption is five to 10 years, as compared to some investors who can’t see beyond 18 months,” says John Rossman, managing director at Alvarez & Marsal, former Amazon executive and author of “The Amazon Way.” “The company has always been willing to forgo short-term profits and benefits to create a lasting long-term business grounded in innovation and doing what’s right for the customer.”
Amazon made it easier for smaller third-party sellers to dip a toe in e-commerce with Amazon’s marketplace. Rossman says he and his former team built “a very transparent and robust merchant integration that put customer trust at the absolute center. Our goal was that a customer buying from a third party had to have a trusted experience and we were willing to do whatever it took to make that happen” — including implementing a mandate that Amazon manage the payments and wallet.
Several aspects of selling were controversial when first introduced nearly two decades ago, but some are commonplace today. Two standouts: Selling used books next to new and allowing shoppers to search inside the book.
“Other than cars, no one had ever seen this done before, and here was Amazon allowing the customer to see this on a single detail page,” Rossman says. “Publishers and authors didn’t like it — obviously they don’t make more money on used book sales.”
Search inside the book was considered by publishers and authors to be counterintuitive. “Amazon’s hypothesis was that if customers got a peek at a few pages, they would actually buy more,” he says. “Their intuition was right. The technology became the digital proxy for shopping for a book in a traditional store.”
Thanks to the author, Susan Reda, and the National Retail Federation for including me!