Amazon: Customer centric at heart


The customer focus is a cornerstone of Amazon’s philosophy. Actually, it’s more than just a focus. It’s a coronation, as for Jeff Bezos‘ retail giant, the customer is almost literally treated as queen and king. In the story Amazon tells about itself, this has been the case from the very first moments of its existence: „When 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.” This goal continues today.“ And if it’s part of your DNA to become, be and stay the best company for customers, then you have to change at least as fast and steady as the customers do. So it must also be part of your DNA to reinvent yourself forever.


The customer-centric spirit of that mission was already around in Amazon’s early days. The IPO filing of 1997 uses the word „customer“ 166 times. It was used more often than „market“ (132 times), „sales“ (102), or „revenue“ (27). The least important for the young Amazon and its leaders was obviously „profit“: the word appears only 8 times in the IPO filing. Just one quote to show the key role of the customer in Amazon’s philosophy: „The Company’s strategy is to build strong brand recognition, customer loyalty and supplier relationships, while creating an economic model that is superior to that of the capital and real estate intensive traditional book retailing business.“


Nope, Amazon does not need our advice to focus on reinvention – they already know it, and do it. The annual, now virtual, re:invent conference underlines the importance of ongoing change and invention.

Image by AWS

Naming one of the building on their Seattle campus „re:invent“ adds another anecdote to Amazon’s reinvention story.

(okay, it’s not exactly the reinvention of architecture, but don’t judge a book-store by its cover)


For Jeff Bezos, the way to stay that reinventive, that innovative is to never leave the startup mode: „At Amazon, it will always be Day One!“ And to act like a startup, Bezos requires Amazon employees to do these four things:

  • Be obsessed with the customer
  • Focus on results over process
  • Make high quality decisions quickly
  • Embrace external trends quickly

Like in every founder-led company, now at Amazon the question comes up, if the founder’s spirit will stay on board even if the founder himself leaves the ship – as Jeff Bezos announced recently. In the case of Amazon, chances are good: customer obsession is deeply rooted in the company’s DNA. Of course you can find a Day 1 building on their campus as well.


Image by Amazon

Alexa Kantrowitz: Always Day One – How the tech titans plan to stay on top forever.

An acclaimed tech reporter reveals the inner workings of Amazon, Facebook, Google, Apple, and Microsoft, showing how to compete with the tech titans using their own playbook. Amazon, „Day One“ is code for inventing like a startup, with little regard for legacy. Day Two is, in Jeff Bezos’s own words, „stasis, followed by irrelevance, followed by excruciating, painful decline, followed by death.“ (Further Infos Click here.)

More Amazon reinvention stories to come in the next weeks. Stay tuned.