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Prize winner
Subject category: Marketing
Authors: Marika Taishoff (Imperial College London); Sandra Vandermerwe (Imperial College London)
Published in: 1998
Length: 36 pages
Data source: Published sources
Notes: To maximise their effectiveness, colour items should be printed in colour.

Abstract

This case opens at the end of 1998, three years after Jeff Bezos created the online book service, a company now considered one of the icons of the e-Commerce era. With no experience in the book industry, Jeff Bezos, aged 30, saw what the industry giants in book publishing and retailing failed to see: the huge opportunities to be realised in selling books over the Web. His hunch seemed to prove right: in its short existence amazon.com (although yet to show a profit) had been generating sales at an annual rate of USD600 million, and was growing at around 30% every three months. Not only was it the leading online shopping site in any category, it had begun internationalising as well, setting up amazon. com web sites in the UK and Germany, and Bezos himself was now worth over USD2 billion. The case asks: how had he done it? Was it simply a technology or price strategy? Or had Bezos intuitively understood the new market and economic dynamics, creating a new business model accordingly? And what must he do now, as competition intensifies from the traditional publishers and retailers, such as Bertelsmann and Barnes & Noble. How should Bezos respond?

Teaching and learning

This item is suitable for postgraduate and executive education courses.

Time period

The events covered by this case took place in 1995-1998.

Geographical setting

Region:
World/global
Countries:
United States; United Kingdom; Germany
Location:
Seattle

Featured company

Amazon
Industry:
E-Comerce

Featured protagonist

  • Jeff Bezos (male)

About

Abstract

This case opens at the end of 1998, three years after Jeff Bezos created the online book service, a company now considered one of the icons of the e-Commerce era. With no experience in the book industry, Jeff Bezos, aged 30, saw what the industry giants in book publishing and retailing failed to see: the huge opportunities to be realised in selling books over the Web. His hunch seemed to prove right: in its short existence amazon.com (although yet to show a profit) had been generating sales at an annual rate of USD600 million, and was growing at around 30% every three months. Not only was it the leading online shopping site in any category, it had begun internationalising as well, setting up amazon. com web sites in the UK and Germany, and Bezos himself was now worth over USD2 billion. The case asks: how had he done it? Was it simply a technology or price strategy? Or had Bezos intuitively understood the new market and economic dynamics, creating a new business model accordingly? And what must he do now, as competition intensifies from the traditional publishers and retailers, such as Bertelsmann and Barnes & Noble. How should Bezos respond?

Teaching and learning

This item is suitable for postgraduate and executive education courses.

Settings

Time period

The events covered by this case took place in 1995-1998.

Geographical setting

Region:
World/global
Countries:
United States; United Kingdom; Germany
Location:
Seattle

Featured company

Amazon
Industry:
E-Comerce

Featured protagonist

  • Jeff Bezos (male)

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