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                                  Become the best by learning from the best.

                                                        BY CINDY HANAUER

                They started out selling books. We started out selling flowers.   billion per year, with serious investments in data centers, warehous-
             Our total-industry floriculture sales are $31 billion annually. Their   es and air cargo hubs.
             annual single-business sales top $136 billion, with conservative
             analysts estimating a revenue trajectory reaching $1 trillion dollars   4. CUSTOMER-FIRST, “CAN-DO”
             within the next decade.                             ATTITUDE considers itself a completely
                Amazon, founded in 1994 in Seattle, Wash. Yes, that’s what   customer-centric company. In fact, it has described itself as
             everyone’s talking about.                           “customer-obsessed.” The company really believes that if it
                Their success, however, isn’t singularly about Whole Foods   doesn’t listen to customers, it will fail.
             Market, but rather about their seamless approach of getting
             products into the hands of consumers by putting consumers not   5. NEIGHBORHOOD PRESENCE Most recently,
             the system but in the center of every transaction. Regardless of   Amazon has been making big waves on the retail front with the
             whether the product is flowers, books, blouses or fishing poles,   recent offer to purchase 450 Whole Foods Market locations for
             Amazon products-like ours all qualify as gifts. Their online and   $13.7 billion dollars. However, this is not their first inroad into
             physical presence are complementary, not rivals, and it’s worth   retail. In fact, indicators of building a disruptive neighborhood
             making note of the common components of both of our businesses   retail presence began with HomeGrocer at the very beginning of
             in which Amazon has thrived by creating a breakout approach to   the dot-com days; followed by Amazon Fresh in 2007; and Prime
             total customer engagement.                          Now, which offers groceries and other items delivered to custom-
                                                                 ers’ doorsteps within hours of placing the order. Amazon is also
                1. LOYAL FAN BASE Amazon and the customer have   testing a concept called Amazon Go, a physical grocery store that
             become one, with 60 million Amazon Prime subscribers valued at   allows customers to purchase items without the interaction of a
             $6.4 billion in annual company revenue.             cashier. The store uses computer imaging and payment technology
                                                                 so shoppers can select products and simply walk out whenever
                2. INTEGRATED SUPPLY NETWORK They’ve             they want.
             built a diverse yet efficient supply chain, with third-party revenue
             growing at a pace of more than 43 percent versus prior year and   6. ONLINE CONVENIENCE As of 2016, Amazon
             valued at $23 billion dollars annually.             surpassed Google as the “go-to” product search engine, with 55
                                                                 percent of U.S. consumers beginning their shopping search on
                3. EFFICIENT LOGISTICAL FOOTPRINT       Even when shoppers find products they want on
             The investment of Amazon’s logistics infrastructure alone tops $6.7   retailers’ pages, roughly 90 percent said they’ll still compare

             14 / september 2017
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