Amazon, Food Stamps, and Jeff Bezos.

Jeff Bezos has yet again cemented his position as the worlds richest man, increasing his wealth by an estimated $2.8 Billion in a day, bringing his net worth up to an estimated $116.6 billion (at the time of writing), based on Forbes current estimates. This makes him worth $20 Billion more than the likes of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. Most of Jeff Bezos wealth comes from his 16% stake in Amazon. The company itself is worth over $650 Billion, making it one of the most valuable business in the world. This daily growth of $2.8 Billion, is mostly down to Amazon opening their first Amazon Go store in Seattle. This is Amazon’s first physical store, that also features a cashier-less experience. Instead it runs off cameras and honesty, an interesting new concept which is still to be tried and tested.

Amazon has always been at the forefront of consumer interaction, and creating ideas that enable shoppers to impulse buy without second thought. One Click Checkout on Amazon prevents consumers from always going through the normal, long winded way of paying for their basket, meaning shoppers don’t second guess their products and remove goods when they normally would.

Jeff Bezos has only recently started to build his Multi-Billion Dollar empire, when compared to the likes of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. Amazon is a fairly young company that is showing the ability to adapt and change within the market, setting new industry trends and investing in new ways to interface with their customers. Amazon was only founded in 1994, with Microsoft being founded 19 years before. Jeff Bezos is the son of a Cuban Migrant, and has always shown a knack for all things technological; from wiring up old electrical alarms to keep his siblings out of his room, to finishing top of his class at high school and graduating in the top percentile at Princeton University in electrical engineering, and computer science. With this academic background it’s no wonder Jeff Bezos is successful, however you can’t deny his team of entrepreneurs, and Amazon’s approach of testing new concepts has brought Amazon to the forefront of online sales, making sites like eBay becoming the consumers 2nd choice, when it used to be the dominating force of online sales. Jeff Bezos, being an entrepreneur who didn’t have masses of start up money readily avaidable to him, recognises the need for investment in small businesses and business ideas in general, and subsequently has invested money into small, yet promising businesses to help them take off; often providing them with the infrastructure they need to become successful and sustainable business. After investing in business such as Airbnb, Uber, Twitter and Google, it shows that the businesses he invests in are often a success, and the support structure he creates is one that will boost the company and not just his short-term profits; as well as proving his overall business knowledge. Jeff Bezos has also created a slight name for himself as a philanthropist, giving away $2.5 Million to support same-sex marriage in Washington. The bill was successfully passed in 2012, with Jeff Bezos recognised as one of the significant driving forces behind this. Jeff Bezos has provided more that $33 Million to TheDream.US, this organisation provides university scholarships to young migrants who where undocumented when they first moved to the USA, as well as this he has provided more than $200 Million dollars to multiple charitable causes. While not recognised as a big philanthropist, unlike Bill Gates and Warren Buffet he has stated that philanthropy is something he would concentrate on later in his career, suggesting he will concentrate on building his empire in the time being, before he looks at giving chunks of his wealth away.

Amazon has always been Jeff Bezos pride and joy, as well as his cash cow, providing him with most of his income and massive wealth. Amazon as a company, is a highly adaptive organisation, which both listens to it’s customers needs, as well as making its customers experience as quick, and smooth as possible. In-turn this benefits Amazon with more impulse sales. This is the growing trend with Amazon with services such as Amazon Prime and One-Click Checkout driving huge growth for Amazon in sales. This quick shopping experience, not only aims to make the experience more pleasant for the consumer but drives impulse shopping, meaning you’d buy things you normally wouldn’t and you don’t second guess the items in your basket.

However, Amazon Go has cause quite the stir within social media and has caused some interesting (and not entirely intentional headlines), see below (credit to Bill, my flatmate, for the screenshot).

You can see this doesn’t exactly create the best image for Jeff Bezos and Amazon. Yet Amazon does employ over 542,000 people worldwide and is constantly looking to increase this inline with its ambition for growth. With the use of wireless technology, infrared cameras and providing a luxury service, you can understand why the new Amazon Go may not accept food stamps, as these would slow, and complicate the service that the concept of Amazon Go provides. It is important we remember that Amazon Go is just that, a concept. Depending on the success of the Seattle store we may or may not see the rise of Amazon Go in cities across the US and the globe. While the concept is one of speed and convenience, it relies heavily on trust and could be easily deceived. In-turn its not hard to believe that in the future these services will only be available to Amazon Prime subscribers. Even though these combined headlines don’t paint the best portrait for Jeff Bezos and Amazon, the surge of Amazon’s share price and Jeff Bezos’ wealth shows that overall the concept of Amazon Go has been embraced by the public.

I believe that exciting times are ahead for both Jeff Bezos, and Amazon. With Amazon, and all of Jeff Bezos portfolio picking up speed, we could see him at the top of the Forbes Richest List for years to come. I for one, will certainly be following him, and watching his moves as he tries to cement Amazons position as a leading global retailer, and branching out into new sectors. I do believe the future is bright for Jeff Bezos, but we will see if he uses his wealth for the good of himself, or the good for the world-wide community.

Written by, Steven Anthony Moore.

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