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Amazon Premier Table Word Flags Decoration Plastic Chip 399 – As I sit down to write my second annual shareholder letter as CEO, I feel optimistic and energized about Amazon’s future. 2022 was one of the toughest macroeconomic years in recent memory, and despite some of our operational challenges, we still found ways to grow demand (the first half of the pandemic (in addition to record growth in the year). To significantly improve the customer experience in the short and long term we’ve innovated across our larger business We’ve also made important changes to our investment decisions and how we innovate going forward, while maintaining long-term investments that will transform the future of Amazon for our customers, shareholders and employees.
Last year saw an incredible number of simultaneous challenges, but the reality is that there are many capable and well-funded competitors (Amazon runs its own business). stagnation is rare.
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My 25 years at Amazon have seen constant change, many of which we initiated. When I joined Amazon in 1997, we had $15 million in revenue in 1996, were an exclusive bookseller, had no third-party marketplaces, and shipped only to US addresses. Today, Amazon sells almost all physical and digital retail products. With a vibrant third-party seller ecosystem that accounts for 60% of Amazon’s sales volume, we reach customers in nearly every country in the world. Likewise, building a business around technology infrastructure services in the cloud wasn’t obvious back in 2003 when I started pursuing AWS. It wasn’t even when we launched our first service in 2006. , when we launched the Kindle in 2007, storing and retrieving them in a lightweight digital reader was still not a “problem” and there was no voice-controlled personal assistant like Alexa (launched in 2014). It’s entertainment, smart home management, shopping and searching for all kinds of information.
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There were also times when macroeconomic conditions and operational inefficiencies brought new challenges. For example, the dot-com crash of 2001 required letters of credit to purchase holiday inventory and cut costs to make the business profitable. (If you remember, we cut prices in most categories during the dark days of 2001). We saw this balancing act again in 2008-2009 when we went through the recession caused by the mortgage-backed financial crisis, but at the same time we balanced that streamlining with investing in the customer experience. We believe this could be a significant future business with significant returns for our shareholders. In 2008, AWS was still a fairly small, fledgling business. We knew we were on to something, but it still required significant capital investment. People inside and outside the company questioned why Amazon (then known primarily as an online retailer) would invest heavily in cloud computing. But we knew we were coming up with something special that would mean a lot to our customers and Amazon in the future. We started against potential rivals. If anything, we wanted to accelerate the pace of innovation. We have made a long-term decision to continue investing in AWS. Fifteen years later, AWS is now a business with $85 billion in annual revenue, strong profitability, and customers—from startups to multinationals to public sector organizations—managing their own technology infrastructure. We are changing the way we do things. If Amazon had delayed its investment in AWS in those 2008-2009 years, Amazon would be a different company.
Change is always around the corner. Sometimes they actively invite, sometimes they just knock. But once you know it’s coming, you have to accept it. And companies that do this well over the long term are usually successful. I am optimistic about the future because I love how the team is responding to the changes that lie ahead.
Over the past few months, we’ve taken an in-depth look at the entire company, business-by-business, invention-by-invention, to see if each initiative has sufficient revenue, operating income, free cash flow and return on invested capital. In some cases, we decided to close some businesses. For example, we stopped pursuing brick-and-mortar concepts like bookstores and four-star stores, discontinued our Amazon Fabric and Amazon Care efforts, and moved into several new devices that did not allow significant revenue. In other cases, we’ve looked at some programs that weren’t generating the revenue we wanted (eg, free shipping on all online grocery orders over $35) and fixed them. It also re-examined where resources should be spent, ultimately leading to the difficult decision to eliminate 27,000 corporate roles. Over the past few months, we’ve made many other changes to streamline overall costs. Like most leadership teams, we continue to evaluate and adapt what we see in the business.
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We also looked closely at how they worked as a team and asked staff to return to the office at least three days a week from May. During the pandemic, employees came together to complete work from home and did everything possible to cope with the unexpected. It was impressive. I am proud that our collective team has come together to overcome unprecedented challenges for our customers, communities and business. By working together and learning directly from each other, we’ve made it easier and more efficient to collaborate and innovate. Energy and riffing off each other’s ideas is more free, and many of Amazon’s best inventions are working on ideas on the whiteboard after a meeting or continuing the conversation after a meeting. , or just stopping by a teammate’s office in the evening with another thought. Inventions are often messy. He wanders, wanders and marinates. Unexpected interactions help with this, and more people than virtual ones. Also, spending most of our time in an office and surrounded by colleagues makes it much easier to learn, model, practice and reinforce our culture. Innovation and a unique culture have been essential in our first 29 years as a company, and we expect them to be just as important in the next 29 years.
The main issue we are dealing with is the cost of service (ie the cost of getting products from Amazon to your customers) in our store fulfillment network. cost and delivery time.
Although many brick-and-mortar stores closed at the start of the pandemic, the consumer goods business has seen tremendous growth, with annual revenue growing from $245 billion in 2019 to $434 billion in 2022. This means that the footprint of our fulfillment centers has doubled. We have greatly accelerated the construction of the last mile transportation network that we have built over the last 25 years and are now at the size of UPS (which helps with efficiency and speed when items need to travel long distances) (along with a new sorting center). network) — in about two years. This is not an easy task and hundreds of thousands of Amazonians have worked hard to make it happen. But not surprisingly, the speed and scale of this change required a lot of optimization to get the expected performance. Over the past several months, we have carefully reviewed all process pathways in our fulfillment centers and transportation network and redesigned many processes and mechanisms, resulting in sustained productivity gains and cost savings over the past several quarters. There is still work to be done, but we are pleased with our trajectory and the meaningful ups and downs ahead.
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We’ve also taken this opportunity to make some major structural changes that will allow us to deliver cheaper and faster speeds for years to come. A good example is the re-evaluation of the structure of the US enforcement industry. Until recently, Amazon operated a single national fulfillment network, distributing inventory to fulfillment centers spread across the country. If a customer’s order is not available at the local fulfillment center, it will be shipped from other parts of the country, increasing costs and delivery times. This challenge has become more apparent over the past few years as fulfillment networks have expanded to hundreds of additional nodes, inventory has spread over more locations, and fulfillment center communications have become more complex.
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