Bezos releases annual shareholder letter: Amazon Prime has 100 million members, high standards matter
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Bezos releases annual shareholder letter: Amazon Prime has 100 million members, high standards matter

Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Ecommerce giant Amazon, has released his latest letter to shareholders. This document, produced since 1997, has become a “must read” for many business professionals, and offers investors an insight not only into the operations of the company, but into the mind of a man who is its driving force. This year, Bezos described the success that Amazon’s Prime membership scheme – long touted by analysts as a key factor in Amazon’s success – is having, as well as the importance of high standards.

Amazon’s share price is up by 31% so far this year

graph 2004 bezos

SOURCE: Yahoo Finance

According to Bezos, holding yourself to high standards is a crucial element in remaining on top in a competitive market. He wrote: "How do you stay ahead of ever-rising customer expectations? There's no single way to do it – it's a combination of many things. But high standards (widely deployed and at all levels of detail) are certainly a big part of it."

He also revealed that Amazon Prime members now number 100 million worldwide. In 2017, the company added more members to this scheme than in any previous year, and shipped “over five billion items worldwide,” through it. Bezos also offered brief updates on two of Amazon’s most important business segments.

The Echo (Amazon’s virtual personal assistant, often termed “Alexa”) came into its own, as customers bought “tens of millions” of devices in 2017 – more than any previous year. Whole Foods is currently being integrated into the Prime scheme, with “technical work” currently underway to realise benefits.

Talking in greater depth about the kind of standards he sets for success, Bezos said: "So, the four elements of high standards as we see it: they are teachable, they are domain specific, you must recognize them, and you must explicitly coach realistic scope. Building a culture of high standards is well worth the effort, and there are many benefits."

Disclosure

Dominion holds Amazon in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund.


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