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Jeff Bezos and his legacy: a page turned for Amazon

Jeff Bezos took on the big bookstore chains when he started selling books online in 1994. Three years later it carried millions of dollars.

On Tuesday, Jeff Bezos said he is stepping down as CEO, 27 years after founding Amazon out of his garage and turning it into one of the world’s most valuable companies.

Jeff Bezos’ Legacy

It all started with books

Jeff Bezos took on the big bookstore chains like Borders and Barnes & Noble when he started selling books online in 1994. By the time the company went public three years later, it carried more than 2.5 million titles and generated annual sales of $148 million. By 1998, Amazon had expanded to include a variety of different products.

The history of third-party sellers

In 1999, Amazon invited third-party sellers to begin listing merchandise on its marketplace and these sellers make up approximately 60% of its product sales today.

When two days of shipping become reality

In 2005, Bezos introduced the loyalty program Amazon Prime which meant that customers (for subscription fee) could receive free, two-day shipping on their orders. They have over 100 fulfilment centres to make this all possible and it has its own transportation fleet that delivers around two thirds of its products. In 2019, it said it would invest further to bring one-day shipping to its Prime members.

The finance of the retail business

In 2006, Amazon began offering cloud computing services to other businesses. Amazon Web Services attracted customers from NASA to Netflix and generated $35 billion in sales in 2019.

Appearance of physical stores

In 2017, Amazon made its first investment in brick-and-mortar retail, when it announced it was buying Whole Foods for $13.4 billion.

Automated payment, the revolution

Amazon opened its first Amazon Go store to the public in 2018, which allows shoppers to pick up items and leave without waiting in line to checkout. Its “Just Walk Out” technology, uses a combination of cameras and artificial intelligence to automatically track what items shoppers put in their carts.

The richest person on the planet along the path

Bezos first appeared on the Forbes 400 list in 1998 after taking his company public with a net worth of $1.6 billion, making him the 102nd richest person in the nation and earning him his first spot on Forbes’ cover. In 2017, he overtook Bill Gates for the first time as the richest person in the world. He is currently the richest person on the planet with a net worth of $196 billion, thanks to an 11% stake and massive stock. In August 2020, he became the first person ever to be worth over $200 billion.

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