Amazon Kindle – it’s not the device, it’s Design Thinking that drives it’s success.
When I go online to buy something, 80% of the time I start and end at www.amazon.com. Recently I got a Kindle so that number will probably go even higher…..and Amazon does a superb job of making sure that it does.
What makes the Amazon experience so remarkable, is that the component parts of their service come together to create a superior whole. Amazon exemplifies idea of “positioning within an existing market to redefine the market in their favor so that their offering cannot easily be imitated by competitors” [from the late business guru C.K.Prahalad]. With Amazon, like McKinsey Quarterly (see prior post), all the parts work together in a system design that is extremely difficult to replicate.
Here is a synopsis of Amazon’s different components and how they come together:
- Amazon Account: the foundation of Amazon’s system. It ties to your historic purchases, credit card info, preferences, wish lists, Kindle devices and contact info.
- Kindle: the Kindle is a well made, purpose built reading device that is “registered” to your Amazon Account so that you can get downloads directly from Amazon and email docs to your Kindle for reading.
- 1- Click Purchase: Find a new book and with a single click, you can buy that item. Your Credit Card on file then gets charged. You also get an email confirmation.
- Whispernet Delivery: With Whispernet Delivery you make a purchase and then get the content sent to your Kindle. No connection fees or syncing needed.
- Content Is King: Not only does Amazon have a tremendous volume of content, but they also have:
- Content Recommendations: each user’s preference and purchase history is stored and used to provide targeted content recommendations.
- Low Content Costs: there has been a bit of a dust-up recently between Amazon, Apple and the content publishers over pricing, but Amazon’s costs still are the cheapest around.
- Extensive Search: Amazon includes very strong site search capabilities that make it easier to find content.
- Recommendations: the Amazon community is very active and content (+ product) recommendations are invaluable to supporting informed purchase decisions. Amazon takes your likes / preferences and then combines them with the recommendations of people that have made similar purchases.
- Direct Marketing: With all of a user’s preferences and history in their database, Amazon can deliver highly targeted opt-in emails that drive additional purchases.
Despite their integrated system, Amazon is facing a huge threat from Apple, another master of design thinking. Will Amazon end up as the winner? Who knows, but the battle between these two will be an interesting one.