Jeff Bezos

built

Amazon.com Inc.

AMZN -0.39%.

of his garage with the ambition of a loser to take over the store. He has taught his employees an obsession with growing fast and attracting customers with the widest choice and lowest prices. Today, it has more than 1.1 million employees and a market value of approximately $1.6 trillion.

But the Amazon never really grew. Mr. Bezos is still running the panache of a startup trying to survive.

This spirit contributes to the development of the Amazon. Aggressive competition, including the pursuit of competitors’ market shares, is often the hallmark of a successful business. Therefore, the technology and distribution giant becomes the target of competitors, regulators and politicians who claim that its tactics are unfair and potentially illegal for a company of its size. The more a company grows, the more it is able to cope with an increasing number of competitors.

Bulk market

Amazon is constantly adding new categories to its online store.

Annual sales in the Amazon and additions to products and services

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Consumer electronics, toys, household articles

Office supplies, clothing

Products for children, cloud computing services

Amazon Kindle, the first brand gadget.

AmazonBasics Electronic Accessories

Amazon Studios develops films

Music streaming service, Echo smart speaker

Showcase of Amazon handicraft

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Consumer electronics, toys, household articles

Office supplies, clothing

Products for children, cloud computing services

Amazon Kindle, the first brand gadget.

AmazonBasics Electronic Accessories

Amazon Studios develops films

Music streaming service, Echo smart speaker

Showcase of Amazon handicraft

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Consumer electronics, toys, household articles

Office supplies, clothing

Products for children, cloud computing services

Amazon Kindle, the first brand gadget.

AmazonBasics Electronic Accessories

Amazon Studios develops films

Music streaming service, Echo smart speaker

Showcase of Amazon handicraft

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Consumer electronics, toys,

Household goods

Office supplies, clothing

Products for babies,

Cloud Computing

Amazon Kindle, the first private label.

Gadget

AmazonBasics Electronic Accessories

Amazon Studios develops films

Music department,

Echo’s clever speaker

Showcase of Amazon handicraft

To satisfy customers, which, according to Bezos, is Amazon’s strategy for setting up and growing, behind-the-scenes executives conduct methodically targeted campaigns against competitors and partners – an approach that has changed little over the years, from diapers to shoes.

None of the competitors are too small to be targeted by Amazon. They cloned a line of camera tripods that sold a third small business in Amazon, which was selling so badly that it is now only a fraction of its original size, the small business owner said. Amazon stated that it did not infringe the company’s intellectual property rights.

When Amazon decided to compete with furniture retailer Wayfair Inc., Bezos employees created a team called Parity Wayfair that watched Wayfair buy, sell and purchase voluminous furniture, and eventually copied most of its offerings, said the people who worked on the team. Amazon and Wayfair refused to comment on the issue.

Amazon has set its sights on Allbirds Inc, the manufacturer of popular shoes made from natural and recycled materials, and last year launched a shoe called Galen that looks almost identical to Allbirds best-selling shoe – without the environmentally friendly materials and for less than half the price.

You can’t help but look at this company of trillion dollars that are muscle, pockets, algorithms, classification engine and private label engine behind what you put your career behind, said the head of key account management at Allbirds.

Joey Zwillinger.

They’ve got this huge machine generating all this headwind for us.

A spokesman for Amazon said the company’s shoes would not violate Allbirds’ design: Offering products inspired by the trends to which customers respond is common practice in the retail sector.

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Amazon Implementation Centre in Eastvale, California in May.

Photo:

Terry Pearson/Orange County Register/ZUMA PRESS

Amazon’s betting at zero this year.

Shopify Inc,

a fast-growing Canadian company that helps small entrepreneurs create online stores. Amazon has set up a secret team, Project Santos, to replicate parts of Shopify’s business model, according to people familiar with the project.

Amazon executives have often started such efforts themselves, although in some cases, according to former Amazon executives and internal reporting, Mr Bezos himself was involved.

Since its foundation as an online bookstore 26 years ago, Amazon has become an online retailer with a presence in almost every major category. It is also a leading provider of cloud computing services, a gadget maker, a major player in the entertainment market and a competitor for

United Parcel Service Inc.

и

FedEx Corp.

Mr Bezos is the richest man in the world, with a net worth estimated by Forbes at $187 billion.

He always encourages employees to see Amazon as a startup. It’s always the first day, he likes to say. The second day is standstill, followed by irrelevance, then painful and agonizing decline, then death. Mr Bezos first considered calling his company Relentless, and www.relentless.com always redirects to the Amazon site.

Mr. Les Bezos refused to be interviewed. Amazon generally refuses to comment on the subject of this article and only responds to specific examples.

Some competitors and partners claim that Amazon’s competitive zeal seems to be an unfair practice. That year, the magazine reported that Amazon employees used the independent supplier’s data on its platform to develop competitive products, and that the company used its investment and contracting process in a way that entrepreneurs and others believed it could develop products that competed with potential partners. Newspaper articles have shown how Amazon has limited the ability of some rivals to promote competing streaming devices and other gadgets on its dominant e-commerce platform.

In July, Mr Bezos testified before the Antitrust Subcommittee of the Lower House about the article of the magazine on private labels: I cannot guarantee that this policy has never been violated. A spokesman for Amazon said the company does not use confidential information that companies share with the company in mergers and acquisitions and venture capital processes to create competitive products. Amazon has not directly addressed the question of whether this hampers the marketing of competitors, arguing that it is customary for retailers to choose the products they promote.

Last year, the Department of Justice launched an in-depth investigation into the market power of large technology companies, including Amazon, and the Federal Trade Commission is monitoring Amazon as part of a broader investigation into the business practices of large technology companies. Last month the European antitrust authorities accused Amazon of violating competition law. Amazon stated that he did not agree with the accusations and that he would continue to work with the committee.

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Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, testified remotely at a hearing of the Antitrust Subcommittee of the House of Representatives in July.

Photo:

Almond Ngan/Presspool

In October, the House of Representatives antitrust subcommittee concluded a 16-month investigation into technology companies with a report accusing Amazon of putting pressure on the sellers of its website. It is clear that they are using their enormous market power to maintain their dominant position.

Journalist David Cicilline

(D., R.I.), chairman of the Subcommittee, said in an interview.

Amazon challenges the monopoly. In response to the survey, she published a blog post in which she stated that large companies are by definition not dominant and that the assumption that success can only be the result of anti-competitive behaviour is simply wrong.

-Amazon Version

At its peak about ten years ago, Pirate Trading LLC sold camera tripods for the brand Ravelli, one of the best-selling cameras on Amazon, worth more than $3.5 million a year, according to the company’s owner.

Descend Thomas.

In 2011, Amazon launched its own versions of six of Pirate Trading’s best-selling tripods under the AmazonBasics brand. Mr. Thomas ordered one of the tripods from Amazon’s and thought it had the same parts and shared Pirate Trading’s design. Amazon has used the same manufacturer as Pirate Trading for its AmazonBasics products.

According to him, the price of one of the clone’s tripods on Amazon’s was lower than the price Mr Thomas paid his manufacturer for the production of the Pirate Trading version. He decided it was cheaper to buy, repackage and resell the Amazon versions than to buy and sell them on the terms he got; he objected.

Amazon stopped production of Pirate Trading’s camera tripod models, which competed with AmazonBasics versions, said Thomas, claiming its tripods had authenticity problems. Amazon rarely hung tripod models that did not compete with AmazonBasics versions, he said. According to him, Amazon suspended all of Ravelli’s products in 2015, and although the suspension has ended, his company’s tripod is only a fraction of what it used to be. Thomas said he thought it was too risky to be a salesman on Amazon and focus on investing in real estate.

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A pirate shopping tripod, according to Amazon.

Photo:

PIRATE TRADE

A spokesman for AmazonBasics said that AmazonBasics’ tripods do not infringe intellectual property rights.

Several Amazon vendors have reported receiving reports from Amazon, which fights fraud and counterfeiting on its platform, that their products are being used or counterfeited. Amazon is blocking traders’ accounts until they can prove the products are legitimate, which could result in a daily loss of tens of thousands of dollars for big sellers, they said.

To recover their bill, Amazon often asks the vendors for information about the manufacturers of their products, as well as the manufacturers’ invoices, so Amazon can verify the authenticity of the products. Several suppliers told the magazine that they provided this data to Amazon to recover their bills, but that Amazon then introduced its own version of their products using products from the same manufacturer.

A spokesperson for Amazon said the company requests invoices when there is misrepresentation and does not use the information it requests about the vendor’s manufacturer to purchase private label products.

C.J. Rosenbaum, a lawyer who works for Amazon suppliers, said some of them use black box factories to hide the identity of Amazon suppliers: They receive the finished product and send it to a black box factory, which ships their product to the Amazon.

Prisoner.

According to some estimates, more than half of all product searches start in Amazon’s search bar, making it the de facto place to find products. For many sellers, Amazon accounts for a large part of their turnover.

It’s literally like being stuck on the Amazon, he said.

Billy Carmen,

Holly, Michigan, is a terrace food vendor, so there’s no other place where companies like us can’t go to sell our products. Amazon is using it against us.

The 62-year-old manufacturer sent invoices to Amazon at the end of April because his account was in danger of being suspended due to misrepresentation during the production of the product. He is concerned about the level of information Amazons have about their supply chain, although he has not seen any counterfeit Amazon brands on the site.

Mr Bezos wants to make the Amazon a place where consumers can find everything they want, and continue to do so. If a company proposes something Amazon thinks it can be better or cheaper, they will try, he said.

Patrick Winters,

An Amazon video manager who left this summer to work for

Albertsons

Because after more than a decade on Amazonia.

It has been Amazon’s philosophy from the start, Winters says, to have almost everything a customer wants, even if few customers want it.

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It’s always the first day on the Amazon, Mr. Bezos likes to say; boxes in New York in October.

Photo:

Victor J. Bloomberg News

Quidsey, the parent company of Diapers.com and Soap.com, was targeted ten years ago when Amazon set up a team to handle it, according to e-mails sent to a congressional hearing. Amazon wanted to know how the New Jersey-based e-commerce company could deliver bulky diaper kits so quickly, said people familiar with the subject.

Luiers.com was an avid hunter, and Amazon often courted these buyers, who tended to be loyal to the sellers they liked, increasing their diaper orders with high-yield products such as baby food.

Amazon developed a 12-step plan to confront Quidsi in 2009, according to e-mails released by Congress. Among the actions mentioned in the emails are the speed of delivery of Luiers.com and the deadline of 18 hours for Luiers.com. An internal email from one of Amazon’s distribution executives this year named Quidsi as our closest and most shared competitor: We have to follow these guys, whatever it takes.

In an e-mail network of June 2010 in which Mr. Bezos participated, a senior executive described the tactics with the words : We had already launched a more aggressive plan to win against diapers.com in the diaper and baby wipes room. The plan included doubling Amazon discounts on nappies and baby wipes to 30% and a free bonus program for new mothers.

Share your ideas

Should a company like Amazons reconsider its competitive tactics as it becomes more dominant? Take part in the discussion below.

When Amazon cut the price of diapers by 30 percent, Quidsi executives were shocked and carried out an analysis showing that Amazon lost $7 for every box of diapers, according to former Quidsi board members. The managers of Quidsi were even more surprised than on the day of the price drop,

Jeff Blackburn,

The lieutenant of Bezos approached a member of the board of Quidsi and told the company to sell itself to Amazon, according to a person familiar with the subject. Quidsey was not for sale at the time and had big plans for growth.

Quidsey began to unravel after Amazon lowered prices, he said.

Leonard Lodish,

then a member of Quidsi’s board of directors, who missed his monthly internal forecast for the first time since 2005. The company believed that it had no choice but to sell because it could not compete with what Amazons do and survive. Amazon bought Quidsi for $500 million in 2010. He closed Luiers.com in 2017, said it wasn’t profitable.

What Amazons did was illegal. They were selling diapers for less, Mr Lodish said. But what should we do? Amazon’s suing for antitrust law? It will take years and tens of millions of dollars and by then we will be bankrupt.

An Amazon spokesman refused to comment on the details of the Quidsi acquisition, saying that Luiers.com was not profitable when Amazon bought it. Mr Blackburn refused to comment.

Wayfair Joint Team

In 2016, Wayfair became an online retailer of furniture such as coffee tables and bedside tables, generating $3.4 billion in sales that year, compared to Amazon’s $136 billion. Amazon had a more limited selection of furniture than Wayfair, and its team of senior vice presidents, led directly by Mr Bezos, made the market a priority, according to the people who worked in the team.

That same year, Amazon launched its Wayfair Parity team, which analyzed Wayfair’s business with the goal of selling 90% of the furniture Wayfair offers on Amazon, People said. The team has grown to 100 people. It’s been hard to find Wayfair’s suppliers. For fear of competition, Wayfair bought products from manufacturers and gave them another name to hide her identity, according to the public.

The team eventually identified manufacturers by ordering Wayfair products to check production information and go to the show to find Wayfair suppliers, they said.

The Amazon didn’t stop Wayfarer’s growth. The small company has increased its share of U.S. online furniture sales from less than 18 percent in 2016 to 25 percent last year, according to research firm 1010data – although Wayfair’s net loss has also increased over this period. Amazon’s market share remained stable at just over half of online furniture sales, including direct sales and sales to third parties on the platform.

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West Elm is located in Chelsea, Manhattan in 2017.

Photo:

Adrienne Grunwald for the Wall Street Journal.

Wayfair’s sales grew 66.5% in the last quarter and the company recorded its second consecutive quarterly profit after posting consecutive quarterly losses since its market debut in 2014.

A spokesman for Amazon, who refused to comment on the Wayfair parity team, said part of the customer loyalty makes selections and prices that are as good or better than those of the competition.

Williams-Sonoma Inc.

Success in the battle against Amazon, which allegedly copied a chair from the West Elm brand, known for its mid-century furniture. The West Elm ball table chair is a particular success, selling for more than $2 million in the first 10 months of 2018, according to a lawsuit filed by Williams-Sonoma against Amazon for patent infringement. In 2017, West Elm filed a design patent for the chair.

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Pictures from the right hand side documents show the list of the Western Elm Chair (left) and the Amazon Orb.

In March 2018 Amazon started selling the Soft Ball office chair under the brand Rivet. The president of the Amazon Orb seems so likely that a casual observer would be confused by the imitation, according to the complaint. The Williams-Sonoma complaint also revealed other furniture produced by Amazon’s private label team that looked almost identical to the design previously marketed, including a coffee table and several lamps.

Amazon removed the articles from its website and settled the case in October, in favor of West Elm, according to people familiar with the case. Amazon and Williams-Sonoma refused to comment on the trial.

Tools

When it comes to targeting competitors, Amazon’s private label team has access to a powerful tool: Amazon often uses a database of customer search terms. According to some former Amazon employees with their own names, the team can include these terms in product descriptions and on detail pages as an extra incentive to work in Amazon’s search engine.

When private Amazon employees launched the Goodthreads clothing line in 2017, z. B. military jackets and Chinese trousers, they tried to create an aesthetic similar to J.Crew’s, a former employee said. The parent company of J.Crew Group has been avoiding sales on Amazon for years. Mickey Drexler, the chairman of the Jays team, said at the 2017 conference that he would not sell on Amazon because . Number 1, they own the buyer and take every best seller and put them in their private stamp collection.

So Goodthreads took steps to ensure that J.Crew’s research results included Goodthreads, the individual said. Goodthreads is now one of Amazon’s top ten house brands, according to e-commerce research agency Marketplace Pulse.

An Amazon spokeswoman said Goodthreads strives for a common aesthetic for many brands, not just J.Crew. Jay Crew refused to comment.

Shoe retailer Allbirds also rejected Amazon’s persistent attempts to force it to sell on the technology giant’s website, co-CEO Zwillinger said. San Francisco launched its first Wool Runner shoe in 2016. It is the result of three years of research and development using a fabric from an Italian factory and a carbon-neutral sole made with a Brazilian chemical company.

The lightweight shoe was an instant success. From 2017 to 2019, Amazon was in constant contact with Allbirds for the sale of products on its site, according to Zwillinger. All the birds were still in decay.

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Allbird’s Wool Runner Sneakers, which the company claims have been copied from Amazon’s Galen shoes.

Photo:

Allbirds

The Allbirds team began noticing in mid-2017 that the highest search results from Google Wool Runner were taken over by third parties on Amazon, according to Zwillinger. Allbirds thinks Amazon’s buy Google ads to divert demand for shoes for themselves, he said.

Zwillinger said it was impossible to understand the damage to his company, but it’s really disappointing to see a company with deep pockets in the Amazon trying to divert demand and give it to wannabes.

Then came Galen’s shoe. Zwillinger said he believes the research data has influenced Amazon’s decision to clone its flagship product, which he believes bears a striking resemblance to his shoe.

I’m not saying if they raped or not. We don’t have a lawyer involved, he said. Because of the size of the Amazon, he said: It looks like it’s going to be a tough fight that’s not worth fighting for.

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Amazon Galen.

A spokesman for Amazon said the company had not targeted Allbirds in Google ads and it was clear that woollen shoes were fashionable.

Amazon is currently targeting one of the biggest beneficiaries of the pandemic: Shopify, a platform that helps to create online shops. As it has caused Coronavirus stores to close, many small retailers have invested in creating online stores with Shopify technology.

Shopify’s small retailers sold a total of $5.1 billion during the Black Friday weekend, surpassing the $4.8 billion Amazon received from its third-largest sellers. Amazon has not disclosed the amount of income it received from its first transaction, in which it bought and resold inventory. The price of the 14-year-old Shopify share almost tripled last year.

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Shopify 2018 office in Waterloo, Ontario.

Photo:

Cole Burston/Bloomberg News

Amazon fired the Canadian company internally for the most part, said concerned workers and not concerned, but that changed last year because it now appears to be a major threat. It’s very high on our radar, one of the men said.

In roundtable discussions with its suppliers, Amazon says it has learned that many have defected to shop because of Amazon’s rising costs. Amazon collects on average 30% of each sale on its platform from third-party vendors, an increase of 19% five years ago, according to the Local Self-Reliance Institute. The Shopify fee is 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction.

Earlier this year, Amazon set up a top-secret task force to study the Canadian company and copy parts of it, company officials said. To lead the team, Amazon used

Peter Larsen,

a long-time executive and vice president, a consumer. Mr Larsen has involved dozens of executives who have signed non-disclosure agreements. The internal chats are filled with other Amazon employees who provide information about the Santos project, the employees said.

Amazon and Mr. Larsen refused to comment on the Santos project. Shopify has not responded to requests for feedback.

In October, the team presented its work to Bezos, who was excited that the project could help prevent the Canadian competitor from falling behind, according to the employees. Amazon hasn’t launched the project yet, he says.

Mr. Larsen’s direct reports contain cryptic descriptions on their LinkedIn profiles of what they are doing. One lists the new things on the horizon and the other writes: Good things are happening.

-Sebastian Herrera contributed to this article.

Email Dana Mattioli at [email protected]

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