History and Background
Amazon was founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos, who is still the head of the company at the time. Based in Seattle, Amazon started out as an online bookseller and went on to become the world 's largest non-travel e-commerce business. Once the website was established as a bookseller, it was a logical step into the sale of other entertainment products, such as music and films, and also into the hardware used to deliver home entertainment.
Amazon was a pioneer in the use of software that monitors each online customer 's preferences, enabling the company to suggest other products that may be of interest to the individual, either on their personalized web page or via e-mail. A book customer who walks out of a bookshop, with or without a purchased book, is effectively `lost ' to the store, but Amazon can target registered customers — with their permission — with messages such as `Recommended for you ' or `Customers who bought this item also bought '. Like other successful websites (e.g. eBay and TripAdvisor), Amazon has worked on creating a community feeling by allowing registered customers to upload reviews, create lists of their favorite books, etc. In this way, it has personalized the online shopping experience for mass-market products.
Other important innovations in Amazon 's history have included: • gift vouchers • the personal Wish List page, which friends or family can use to select gifts for someone • Amazon Marketplace, for third-party sellers of new and used goods • Amazon Associates, allowing customers to act as third-party traders of Amazon products from their own websites • online DVD rental • a succession of new departments, including sports equipment, house and garden, jewelry and, most recently, baby and shoes departments • Amazon Prime, a subscription service offering any number of next-day deliveries of goods in return for an annual fee (£49 in the UK).