Amazon’s mission statement is to “serve consumers through online and physical stores and focus on selection, price, and convenience.” Amazon’s vision statement is “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.”
Breaking down the Amazon mission statement
As pointed out by Amazon, “when Amazon.com launched in 1995, it was with the mission “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.”
In the same report Amazon also highlights:
We design our stores to enable hundreds of millions of unique products to be sold by us and by third parties across dozens of product categories. Customers access our offerings through our websites, mobile apps, Alexa, and physically visiting our stores. We also manufacture and sell electronic devices, including Kindle e-readers, Fire tablets, Fire TVs, and Echo devices, and we develop and produce media content. We strive to offer our customers the lowest prices possible through low everyday product pricing and shipping offers, and to improve our operating efficiencies so that we can continue to lower prices for our customers. We also provide easy-to-use functionality, fast and reliable fulfillment, and timely customer service. In addition, we offer Amazon Prime, a membership program that includes unlimited free shipping on over 100 million items, access to unlimited streaming of thousands of movies and TV episodes, and other benefits.
Breaking down the Amazon vision statement
Amazon vision statement is an extension of its mission as “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.”
However, its vision gets traction from a core belief summarized as always being in “day one.” Jeff Bezos explained day one in these terms, “day 2 is stasis. Followed by irrelevance. Followed by excruciating, painful decline. Followed by death. And that is why it is always Day 1.“
Now, it might be easy to say that Jeff Bezos made it, so he can say whatever he likes. However, he has been obsessed with this concept since the beginning. In the 1997 Shareholders Letter, Jeff Bezos explained:
But this is Day 1 for the Internet and, if we execute well, for Amazon.com. Today, online commerce saves customers money and precious time. Tomorrow, through personalization, online commerce will accelerate the very process of discovery. Amazon.com uses the Internet to create real value for its customers and, by doing so, hopes to create an enduring franchise, even in established and large markets.
At the time Amazon focused on:
- Obsess over customers
It all starts from there. In 2016 Jeff Bezos highlighted a few core values that made up Amazon‘s culture:
- Customer obsession
- Resist proxies
- Embrace external trends
- High-velocity decision making
It is worth exploring how Amazon deals with being a customer-obsessed company. Indeed, most businessmen know that exceeding each time customer’s expectations isn’t’ a simple game.
And as expectations are met and exceeded customers become more and more accustomed to the quality of the service, until they grow unsatisfied.
Thus, how does Amazon keep up with that?
Breaking down customer-centrism according to Amazon
Customer obsession was also highlighted in the 2017 Shareholders Letter as a critical parameter:
The American Customer Satisfaction Index recently announced the results of its annual survey, and for the 8th year in a row customers ranked Amazon #1
Amazon is aware of the fact that customer obsession isn’t an easy game. And in the 2017 Shareholders Letter, Jeff Bezos highlighted:
One thing I love about customers is that they are divinely discontent. Their expectations are never static – they go up. It’s human nature. We didn’t ascend from our hunter-gatherer days by being satisfied. People have a voracious appetite for a better way, and yesterday’s ‘wow’ quickly becomes today’s ‘ordinary’.
I see that cycle of improvement happening at a faster rate than ever before. It may be because customers have such easy access to more information than ever before – in only a few seconds and with a couple taps on their phones, customers can read reviews, compare prices from multiple retailers, see whether something’s in stock, find out how fast it will ship or be available for pick-up, and more.
Thus, how do you stay ahead of this game? Jeff Bezos offers us the answer:
There’s no single way to do it – it’s a combination of many things. But high standards (widely deployed and at all levels of detail) are certainly a big part of it. We’ve had some successes over the years in our quest to meet the high expectations of customers. We’ve also had billions of dollars’ worth of failures along the way.
For Jeff Bezos, high standards have four core characteristics:
The four elements of high standards as we see it: they are teachable, they are domain specific, you must recognize them, and you must explicitly coach realistic scope. For us, these work at all levels of detail. Everything from writing memos to whole new, clean-sheet business initiatives. We hope they help you too.
And most of all they have to be unreasonably high!
Breaking down Amazon business model
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