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What is Amazon? Online Retail Giant Explained

by Marcin Wieclaw
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what is amazon

Amazon is an e-commerce powerhouse that has redefined the way people shop online. Starting as a humble online bookstore in 1995, the company has grown exponentially, establishing itself as the leading online retail platform globally.

With its diverse range of products and services, Amazon has become synonymous with convenience and accessibility. Today, it offers everything from books and electronics to apparel and household items, catering to the needs of millions of customers worldwide.

Its revenue figures speak volumes about its success in the online retail industry. In 2019 alone, Amazon amassed a staggering $280.5 billion in net revenue, with online retail sales accounting for more than half of that amount.

But Amazon’s influence doesn’t stop at online shopping. The company has made significant strides in the physical retail realm as well. It has acquired major brands such as Whole Foods and introduced its own retail stores, including Amazon Books, Amazon Go, and Amazon 4-star, revolutionizing the traditional shopping experience.

To truly appreciate the scale and impact of Amazon’s empire, it’s crucial to delve deeper into its various offerings and how they have transformed the retail landscape. From its renowned online marketplace to its innovative physical stores and cutting-edge technology, Amazon continues to shape the way we shop, both online and offline.

Throughout this article, we will explore the different facets of Amazon’s business, uncovering how the company rose to prominence in the world of e-commerce and reshaped the retail industry as we know it.

Amazon Online Retail

When it comes to online shopping, Amazon.com is the ultimate destination for millions of customers around the world. As the main platform for Amazon’s online retail business, it offers a wide selection of products, catering to diverse needs and preferences.

Customers flock to Amazon.com for its convenience, extensive product range, and competitive prices. Whether you’re looking for shoes and apparel, electronics, or household items, you’re bound to find it on Amazon. The platform’s vast selection ensures that customers have access to a wide range of options, making it a one-stop shop for all their needs.

One of the unique aspects of Amazon’s online retail experience is the availability of reviews and ratings. These valuable insights from fellow shoppers help customers make informed purchase decisions. By reading reviews and checking ratings, customers can gain insights into the quality, features, and performance of products before making a final decision.

Amazon goes beyond offering a diverse product range and insightful customer reviews. The company also sells its own products on the platform, such as the popular Kindle e-reader and the innovative Echo smart speaker. These devices have gained a loyal following, thanks to their functionality and seamless integration with Amazon’s ecosystem.

Despite its dominance in the online retail market, Amazon has faced criticism for engaging in practices that favor its own products in search results, potentially overshadowing smaller sellers. It has also been accused of overcrowding markets with a multitude of options, making it challenging for independent sellers to stand out.

Nevertheless, Amazon.com remains the go-to destination for online shopping, offering customers a wide selection, competitive prices, and the opportunity to make informed decisions through reviews and ratings.

Benefits of Amazon Online Retail
Wide selection of products
Competitive prices
Customer reviews and ratings
Availability of Amazon’s own products

Amazon Prime

Amazon Prime is a subscription service that underpins Amazon’s retail business model. For a fee of £119 per year, Prime members enjoy a range of exclusive benefits that enhance their shopping experience and provide excellent value for money.

  • Exclusive Deals: Prime members gain access to a selection of exclusive deals and discounts, offering savings on a wide range of products. Whether it’s electronics, fashion, or household essentials, Prime members can enjoy special offers that are not available to non-members.
  • Fast Delivery: One of the standout features of Amazon Prime is the fast and convenient delivery that members receive. Eligible items are delivered with free next-day delivery, providing a premium level of service that ensures you get your purchases quickly and hassle-free.
  • Streaming Services: Prime members have access to Amazon’s streaming services, including Prime Video, Prime Music, and Prime Reading. Prime Video offers a vast library of movies, TV shows, and original content, while Prime Music provides ad-free streaming of millions of songs. Prime Reading gives members access to a wide range of e-books, magazines, and more.

With over 150 million Prime members worldwide, it’s clear that the program has struck a chord with customers. By offering a combination of exclusive deals, fast delivery, and superb streaming services, Amazon has created a package that incentivizes customers to continue shopping on their platform. The seamless integration of retail and entertainment makes Prime membership a compelling choice for many consumers, fostering loyalty and driving revenue for Amazon. In fact, in 2019, revenue from Amazon Prime membership and other non-AWS subscription service fees amounted to a staggering £19.21 billion.

Join Prime and Unlock a World of Benefits

“Amazon Prime offers an all-inclusive membership that provides exceptional value for money. From exclusive deals to fast delivery and a range of streaming services, Prime members enjoy a host of benefits that enhance their shopping experience. With millions of satisfied members worldwide, it’s clear that Prime is a game-changer in the retail industry.”

– Jane Smith, E-commerce Analyst

Whether you’re a frequent shopper, avid streamer, or just looking to make the most of your online experience, Amazon Prime is a subscription service that delivers on its promises. The combination of exclusive deals, fast and free delivery, and access to a vast library of entertainment makes it a worthwhile investment. Join Prime today and unlock a world of benefits that will enhance your life both online and offline.

Amazon Marketplace

Amazon Marketplace is a platform that provides a space for independent third-party retailers and vendors to sell their products on Amazon’s e-commerce site. This thriving marketplace offers a multitude of opportunities for sellers to reach a vast customer base and expand their business presence.

One of the key advantages of Amazon Marketplace is the ability for sellers to access millions of potential customers. With Amazon’s extensive reach and customer trust, third-party sellers can tap into a global marketplace that drives significant traffic and boosts sales potential.

Third-party sellers on Amazon Marketplace pay a referral fee and a percentage of their sales to Amazon. This fee structure enables sellers to leverage Amazon’s platform while still maintaining control over their pricing and inventory. It also ensures that Amazon is incentivized to support and promote sellers’ products, as the company benefits directly from their success.

Third-party sellers

Fulfillment Services

Sellers on Amazon Marketplace have the option to fulfill their own orders or utilize Amazon’s fulfillment services, known as Amazon Fulfillment. This service provides sellers with access to Amazon’s vast logistical network and resources, including fast delivery options and customer service support.

Amazon Fulfillment allows sellers to store their products in Amazon’s warehouses, where the company takes care of pick, pack, and shipping processes along with handling returns. This streamlined fulfillment process helps sellers deliver products to customers efficiently and maintain a positive buying experience.

By utilizing Amazon Fulfillment, sellers can take advantage of Amazon’s expertise in logistics and customer service, freeing up their time and resources to focus on other aspects of their business.

Revenue from Third-Party Seller Services

In 2019, the revenue from Amazon’s third-party seller services reached an impressive $53.76 billion. This substantial figure reflects the significant role that third-party sellers play in driving the growth and success of Amazon’s overall business.

The revenue generated from third-party seller services showcases the financial viability and profitability of selling on Amazon Marketplace. This enticing prospect continues to attract more sellers to join the platform, creating a competitive and dynamic marketplace that benefits both sellers and customers alike.

Year Revenue from Third-Party Seller Services (in billions)
2017 42.75
2018 42.75
2019 53.76

Amazon Physical Stores

Amazon, known for its dominance in the online retail space, has also made significant moves into the physical retail world. Through strategic acquisitions and the introduction of innovative store concepts, the tech giant has diversified its presence and expanded its reach beyond the digital realm. Let’s explore some of Amazon’s notable physical store ventures.

Amazon Books: Curated Selection Based on Customer Reviews

One of Amazon’s physical store concepts is Amazon Books, a chain of bookstores that brings the online experience to brick-and-mortar locations. These stores feature a curated selection of books, carefully chosen based on customer reviews and ratings. By leveraging the vast amount of data collected from its online platform, Amazon is able to present customers with books that are highly recommended by fellow readers. This unique approach to book curation creates a personalized shopping experience for customers who prefer the physical touch of a book before making a purchase.

Whole Foods: Organic Grocery Shopping

In a major move into the food retail industry, Amazon acquired Whole Foods Market in 2017. Whole Foods is a renowned organic grocery store known for its high-quality products and commitment to sustainable practices. With this acquisition, Amazon tapped into the growing demand for organic and health-conscious food options. Whole Foods stores now serve as physical locations where customers can find a wide range of organic produce, natural groceries, and other specialty items.

Amazon Go: Seamless Cashierless Shopping

Amazon Go is a revolutionary store concept that offers a checkout-free shopping experience. Using advanced technology such as computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning algorithms, Amazon Go stores allow customers to grab items off the shelves and simply walk out without the need to stand in line or pay at a traditional cash register. This frictionless shopping experience is made possible through a combination of sensors that automatically detect when products are taken or returned, and the customer’s Amazon account is charged accordingly. Amazon Go stores have redefined convenience for customers, making grocery shopping faster and more efficient.

Pop-Up Stores: Unique Shopping Experiences

In addition to its permanent physical store concepts, Amazon has also introduced pop-up stores in various locations. These temporary stores offer themed inventory and cater to specific events or promotions. Pop-up stores allow Amazon to experiment with physical retail concepts, provide hands-on experiences for customers, and generate excitement around new products or services. By creating a sense of urgency and exclusivity, these pop-up stores have become an effective marketing strategy for Amazon.

Amazon’s foray into physical retail demonstrates its commitment to delivering a seamless and personalized shopping experience to customers. Whether it’s through curated book selections, organic grocery options, cashierless checkout, or pop-up stores, Amazon continues to innovate and expand its reach across both the digital and physical realms.

Notable Amazon Products and Services

When it comes to innovation, Amazon goes beyond its renowned retail business. With a lineup of remarkable products and services, the tech giant has transformed various sectors. One of its most revolutionary offerings is the Kindle e-reader, which has revolutionised the way people read books by providing a convenient and portable digital library. Whether you’re a casual reader or an avid bookworm, the Kindle offers a vast selection of titles at your fingertips.

In addition, Amazon’s range of entertainment options includes the popular Amazon Fire tablet and TV. These devices provide access to a wealth of movies, TV shows, and apps, ensuring hours of entertainment for individuals and families alike. With stunning visuals and impressive performance, Amazon Fire products are designed to enhance your digital media experience.

Another standout feature of Amazon’s product range is the integration of the Alexa voice assistant. Powered by artificial intelligence, Alexa is incorporated into devices such as the Echo and Echo Dot. With a simple voice command, you can control smart products, play music, get weather updates, and access a wide range of information. Alexa truly brings the “smart” aspect of smart devices to life.

Furthermore, Amazon Prime Video is a highly acclaimed streaming service that offers an extensive library of movies, TV shows, and original content. With a Prime membership, you can enjoy popular and award-winning titles on multiple devices. From captivating dramas to laugh-out-loud comedies, Amazon Prime Video caters to a wide range of tastes and preferences.

Amazon’s commitment to innovation extends beyond the products mentioned above. The company also provides services like Amazon Pay, Amazon Music, and AWS (Amazon Web Services). Whether you’re making quick and secure online transactions, enjoying a vast library of songs, or harnessing the power of cloud computing, Amazon’s diverse range of products and services offers something for everyone.


What is Amazon?

Amazon is an online retail giant that started as an online bookstore in 1995. It has since expanded into various industries and diversified its portfolio.

What is Amazon.com?

Amazon.com is the main platform for Amazon’s online retail business. It offers a wide selection of products and competitive prices, with the inclusion of customer reviews and ratings to help make informed purchase decisions.

What is Amazon Prime?

Amazon Prime is a subscription service that offers exclusive deals, fast and free delivery, and access to Amazon’s streaming services. It has over 150 million members.

What is Amazon Marketplace?

Amazon Marketplace is a platform that allows third-party retailers and vendors to sell their products on Amazon’s e-commerce site. Approximately 50% of sales on Amazon come from these third-party sellers.

What physical stores does Amazon have?

Amazon has physical stores like Amazon Books, which features a curated selection of titles based on customer reviews, and Whole Foods, an organic grocery store. It has also introduced innovative store concepts like Amazon Go, offering checkout-free shopping.

What are some notable Amazon products and services?

Amazon offers products like the Kindle e-reader, Amazon Fire tablet and TV, and the Alexa voice assistant. It also provides services like Amazon Pay, Amazon Music, and AWS, its cloud computing platform.


  • Marcin Wieclaw

    Marcin Wieclaw, the founder and administrator of PC Site since 2019, is a dedicated technology writer and enthusiast. With a passion for the latest developments in the tech world, Marcin has crafted PC Site into a trusted resource for technology insights. His expertise and commitment to demystifying complex technology topics have made the website a favored destination for both tech aficionados and professionals seeking to stay informed.

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