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The Amazon Effect: How to Prepare and Adapt to Win

Adam Hughes
The Amazon Effect has changed the way business is done.

With so many ways its affected how consumers consume and how businesses serve their clients, it’s no wonder the “Amazon effect” has become a phenomenon business schools will analyze for years to come.

Everywhere you look, the behemoth is around. One of your friends probably just used Amazon to buy a new book. Maybe your significant other researched and eventually purchased new sneakers. Perhaps you’ve downloaded a movie or TV show on your phone, tablet, or laptop for a long airplane ride.

But as much as the simplicity of Amazon has changed the game for consumers, it’s drastically changed the retail and e-commerce landscapes and shifted what it means to have a modern, agile supply chain.

What is the Amazon Effect?

According to Tech Target, the Amazon effect is “the ongoing evolution and disruption of the retail market, both online and in physical outlets, resulting from increased e-commerce.” It has its own name because of what the online e-commerce giant has done to transform the customer experience and the omnichannel business model, as well as the downstream effects it’s had on a variety of market segments.

Because of Amazon, consumers not only demand but now expect their online shopping experience to feature all of these things at once:

  1. Competitive pricing
  2. Highly available inventory
  3. Lightning-fast fulfillment (and the ability to change an order)
  4. Real-time tracking information
  5. Mobile support
  6. An easy return process

Rather than mostly brick-and-mortar experiences, customers are now accustomed to a dependable online and mobile experience. The idea of Amazon even getting an order wrong is almost shocking; anything less than 100 percent accuracy for customers is almost laughable, and we have Amazon to thank for that.

Additionally, for its loyal customers, Amazon features additional membership levels, each with its own benefits. Amazon Prime has free two-day shipping, access to a video streaming service, and other perks. Prime Now is only available in certain areas to Prime members but offers a two-hour (!) shipping option in an effort to further blow our collective minds.

It’s nearly impossible to beat Amazon on pricing, selection, and service, so the question becomes, how do companies adapt to the Amazon effect on retail – and its game-changing disruption inevitably threatening other segments – and position themselves to take advantage?

As Amazon has proven, the name of the game is service. The ability to find anything at any time and have it in your hands in a couple of days is now possible. In order to adapt, companies must utilize modern technology designed to run in real time that enables your company to provide customers the services that they now expect. If anything, the really amazing thing Amazon does is it reinforces the importance of a frictionless customer experience.

How to Be Like Amazon

Companies must operationalize technology infrastructures to integrate systems and applications to support a variety of data-driven business processes with third-party logistics organizations, suppliers, distributors, retailers, and a host of other trading partners. Aligning these parties begins a modern approach to support the fast delivery of goods and services, and it’s crucial to be able to minimize the time it takes for a customer to receive his or her goods, but also to offer a personal touch.

An integrated supply chain that’s responsive and reliable will continue to be the fundamental difference that separates businesses from the competition, and without an effective supply chain integration strategy in place, the idea of competing in today’s Amazon-effected world is a broken pipe dream.

Organizations today require a comprehensive technology solution that enables multi-enterprise, application, and data lake integration to improve service levels and enhance the customer experience into a predictable, repeatable process.

  • Multi-enterprise integration provides the ability to rapidly integrate with new customers and onboard trading partners, secure and encrypt EDI and non-EDI file transfers, provide audit trails, automate data mapping, and make better analytical decisions via increased visibility throughout your entire supply chain.
  • Application integration eliminates manually intensive file transfer processes, enables modernization and a way to migrate off legacy systems, and ends process disruptions via comprehensive monitoring features.
  • Big data integration enables businesses to handle large files and massive data volumes flowing into and out of its data lakes for accurate, real-time analytics initiatives.

Learn how advanced integration solutions deliver the cutting-edge integration technology that enables companies to not only limit the Amazon effect on their businesses but embrace the brave, new world it’s brought forth. It’s time to become a fully-optimized organization that’s prepared to deliver the thing that matters most – a seamless interaction delivering an enhanced, predictable customer experience.

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