Retail

Jeff Bezos reveals huge Amazon Prime milestone: What we learned from his annual shareholder letter

Emma Koehn /

Borrowing an analogy from the world of gymnastics, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos says he “certainly can’t do a handstand” to take full credit for the retail giant’s successes, as he revealed for the first time overnight the true reach of his company’s Amazon Prime shopping option.

In his annual letter to shareholders, Bezos observed that one thing he “loved about customers” was that they are “divinely discontent”, making it critical that retail businesses understand consumers will never be quite satisfied with any new innovation.

The only solution to this problem is to keep “high standards” across everything you do, he said.

This approach has led to success in the retailer’s Amazon Prime membership program, which Bezos says has now passed the 100 million customer milestone worldwide.

It’s the first time Amazon has delivered these kinds of metrics on the Prime program, with Bezos outlining that, “in 2017, Amazon shipped more than five billion items with Prime worldwide”.

Prime is yet to be rolled out in Australia, but Bezos also highlighted the speedy global expansion of the program over the past year.

“We expanded Prime to Mexico, Singapore, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, and introduced Business Prime Shipping in the US and Germany,” Bezos wrote.

Meanwhile, Amazon is also looking to make its delivery even faster, with 8000 cities and towns worldwide now getting access to free same-day shipping, he said.

Using the example of learning to do a perfect free-standing handstand, Bezos argued that almost all skills take a long time to master, including growing a retail business.

If you have an unrealistic timeline, you could end up quitting too early, he said.

“While I certainly can’t do a handstand myself, I’m extremely proud to share some of the milestones we hit last year,” Bezos said.

What’s next for Amazon? Apparently there’s still plenty of work to do.

“We continue to aspire to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, and we recognise this to be no small or easy challenge.”

NOW READ: Amazon’s warehouses are complete chaos, but its disorganisation speeds up delivery

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Emma Koehn

Emma Koehn is a former senior SmartCompany journalist.

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