In a letter to Amazon’s shareholders in 1997, Jeff Bezos outlined his strategy for the business, saying “Today, online commerce saves customers money and precious time. Tomorrow, through personalisation, online commerce will accelerate the very process of discovery." To date, Amazon has bought 180 companies over the last 10 years; their Amazon Prime service is 12 years old. They are slowly but surely dominating the world of e-commerce.
Amazon doesn’t need to create a streamlined, beautiful online experience; their website doesn’t seem to have changed since its conception. Amazon Prime doesn’t bring you the cheapest option but they’re faster than everyone else. And that’s often all that matters to consumers.
Speed and efficiency are frequently placed above cost and sometimes even ethics. Our expectations are high. When we want something, we expect it, there and then. The retail world of today has created an environment in which companies like Amazon can not only thrive, but begin to monopolise our shopping experience.
But can the brands themselves keep up with our desire to shop on demand? “Manufacturing [is] catching up to the speed of the internet” declared Rowland Manthorpe, an associate editor at Wired UK, as he explored the latest technology behind the adidas Speedfactory, more on which below. Technology is enabling businesses to improve their service design, using data and tech to deliver physical products more quickly and with a greater degree of personalisation.
Personalisation has to be contextual, relevant and appealing. And, in today’s world, it has to be done at speed. Speed equals convenience. And convenience equals a greater number of returning customers. Because ease is all we want. Isn’t it?