Amazon long ago outgrew their original business model of an online bookshop. They are now one of the world’s largest retailers of physical goods, virtual goods such as ebooks and streaming video and more recently Web services.
Much of this has been built on top of their pioneering use of “recommendation engine” technology – systems designed to predict what we want, when we want it and of course offer us the chance to give them money for it.
With this ethos in mind, Amazon have also moved into being a producer of goods and services, rather than just a retailer. As well as commissioning films and TV shows, they build and market electronics, including tablets, TV boxes and streaming hardware.
Even more recently, they have moved to take on food supermarkets head-on by offering fresh produce and far quicker delivery through their Amazon Now service.
Information overload is a very real problem, and retailers have more to lose from it than most of us. Online retailing relies on making as large a number of products or services available as possible, to increase the probability of making sales. Companies like Amazon and Walmart have thrived by adopting an “everything under one roof” supermarket model.
The problem here is that a customer can often feel overwhelmed when presented with a huge range of possible options. Psychologically, worries about ...