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Assignment 1: Retailer Relationships, Consumers, and Innovation

Heather Ureno

Dr. Gillian Martin

Retail Management MKT310

October 28th, 2018


Established in 1994, Amazon remains to be among the world’s largest retailer being ranked 16th in 2017 (Farfan, 2017). The company has a dominant position in e-commerce and leads in cloud computing, e-books, and voice-activated technology like Alexa. Amazon is attractive to investors due to the fact that it resists conventional definitions thus standing out from its competitors. Over the years, Amazon has been successful and responded to leadership challenges that have come its way in the online retail sector. The company is very much committed to focusing on long-term goals, sees opportunities and not failures, has strong values and culture, and most importantly aims at customer satisfaction rather than the competitors. Within two decades, the company has grown from book sales to electronics, toys, store, music, and so on. In May last year, Amazon was ranked the world’s most innovative company and was fourth in market capitalization.

Below is a discussion of Amazon’s strategic planning and relationship building. Three actions on which Amazon can enhance customer relationships will be recommended. In the paper, there will also be a discussion of Amazon’s characteristic ownership with a justified logic. An analysis of the nontraditional forms of the company’s retailing sector will be made as well as two actions that can be made to take advantage of the consumer trends in retail. Finally, a description of Amazon’s target consumer and their specific buying process will be given.

Strategic Planning and Relationship Building

Through speedy services, Amazon ensures that customer satisfaction is excellent by emphasizing the importance of fast customer delivery. The company also takes into consideration value efficiency in its operations as well as the affordability of the consumer by keeping all costs low to provide low prices (Canzer, 2006). As a result, unnecessary expenses that would have caused the consumer to pay more are avoided. Salary restriction is one of the ways in which costs are kept low but in order to counter this, employees have stock options as a form of ownership in the company.

As earlier mentioned, Amazon has a strategy that focuses on long-term goals and objectives. Their marketing strategy aims at providing great service that enhances positive word of mouth focusing on Pay-Per-Click and search engine optimization. All employees are trained to be well conversant with customer experience as a way of knowing and understanding their customer needs (Canzer, 2006). Managers are encouraged to be sensitive to the customer experience by showing humility. One of the ways this was demonstrated is when Amazon sent personal apologies to their customers when they mistakenly deleted customers’ e-books. This approach was enforced to ensure that the affected customers would be retained and forget about the incidence.

Actions to Enhance Customer Relationships

For businesses to grow there is the need to develop strong relationships with customers in order to gain their attention and retain them. Customers are the heartbeat of all businesses thus a healthy relationship with them is very important to their success. In good and bad times, this relationship should be maintained even if it requires time and dedication before coming up with the appropriate strategies. Customer relations mostly involve constant communicating with customers, especially in conflicts resolution, and addressing complaints and questions. The end result is ensuring customer loyalty is maintained, the establishment of new connections reduces market rejection, and most importantly it increases the lifetime value of customers (Combe, 2013).

One of the actions in which Amazon could take to enhance customer relationship would be the recognition of regular customers and investing more in them. Most businesses depend on their customers, especially those that do business with them more than once. It is more promising to retain the regular customers and investing heavily in them rather than more customers who are not guaranteed to stay for long. Through social media, word of mouth or other means, loyal customers are likely to refer their close friends, family members, and relatives to products and services offered if they are satisfied.

Secondly, being honest at all times is an action Amazon could take even if it means no business for them or apologizing for mistakes done. Also, the company should be aware that customers have different tastes and not every product or service might be of interest to them. Transparency should be ensured at all costs which is a clear indication that the customer’s needs are the company’s first priority. The company should have the courage even to the extent of recommending a competitor’s product if it meets the customer’s need better.

Thirdly, Amazon should consider paying attention to minute details especially those that might not seem of much significance to them. In as much as Amazon learned a lesson and people turned back to Amazon after the heartfelt apology for Jeff Bezos, there was a scar left behind. In order to avoid anything similar to this in the future, Amazon should strive to ensure that they make better and informed decision in the future without overlooking minor details that might mean a lot to loyal customers.

Ownership Characteristics

Amazon began as the world’s biggest bookstores and has now become one of the leading retailers (Hill & Jones, 2009). The company carries its operations in North America which consists 60% of its revenue, International for 30%, and Amazon Web Services for about 10%. In North America, the company deals with subscriptions and retail sales sold through websites and grocery stores. The international segment has its operations on Amazon sites serving the United Kingdom, Japan, and other countries. AWS includes global revenue from database, storage, cloud, and other services. Geographically, the United States holds the largest market segment for the company followed by the United Kingdom and Japan. Consumers are served in Amazon’s online or physical stores.

Amazon’s strategy is oriented towards more services, products, industries and faster delivery options for more customers, revenue and profit. By moving into new areas through acquisitions and mergers, the company has achieved unprecedented growth (Hill & Jones, 2009). Amazon closed a deal on August last year and bought Whole Foods Market which gave access to entry into a significant business in the US economy. In 2018, the company bought PillPack, an online pharmacy that ships medications and under license authorization deliver in 49 states. Other purchases include California-based Graphic and Souq.com form search technology and e-commerce seller in the Middle East respectively.

Non-Traditional Forms of Retailing

The success Amazon Inc. is more than just lower prices. The company has a competitive business model, offers creative services and innovative feature that has helped in creating a new era of retail industry. People nowadays are spending more time online, something which Amazon sees as an opportunity. The brick-and-mortar retail and other traditional forms of commerce have now been overshadowed. Amazon introduced customers to a frictionless shopping process within which immediate results are achieved creating a similar experience of whether in a mall or in front of a computer or mobile device.

Amazon has gained a foothold in nontraditional e-commerce. One of the earliest forms of this is the 1-click shopping that was introduced to eliminate the need for shoppers to re-enter payment details every time they made a purchase. Amazon was awarded a patent for this technology for the significant contribution of eliminating data redundancy. The company aims at creating long -term goals that are rooted in innovation and doing what is right to their customers even if it means sacrificing benefits and profits (Hill & Jones, 2009). A good example is the initial public offering and trading that Amazon announced in 1997 which did not yield any profit until the beginning of the year 2004.

By investing on reviews, user-generated ratings, recommendations based on previous purchases and automated email, Amazon has significantly shaped customer buying. In order to eliminate customer uncertainty and questions, Amazon is very much aware that there is no replacement for using event-based communication techniques. As a result, greater transparency and strong consumer trust are enhanced especially from the user-generated content. The company is now delivering game-changing solutions to a wide range of consumers which is making traditional retailers go out of business.

Implementations to Take Advantage of the Consumer Trends

Entrepreneurs should be conscious of the fact that online retail is thriving at the expense of traditional brick-and-mortar retailers. Therefore, it is very important, especially for online retailers to be aware of consumers’ online purchasing patterns in order for them to identify what it will take to target them. Most of the time retail companies optimize their websites for personal computers, smartphones, and tablets for optimal customer experience. In order to have a large market share, online retailers ought to make the most out of their customers’ trends while at the same time understand their needs (Pride & Ferrell, 2010).

One of the ways in which Amazon can take advantage of the consumer trends in retailing is by working towards supply chain logistics and home delivery. The Millennials want to have a complete frictionless shopping experience where their purchased products are delivered within no time at their convenience. Amazon should consider acting upon the frustration of customers who are compelled to wait for several days or weeks for purchased products. Many of the customers avoid online shopping simply because of this long wait though it only took less than half an hour to buy and pay. The company should build networks that will aim at satisfying coast-to-coast demands. Moreover, they should try their best to deliver all products within 48 hours.

Secondly, the company should liaise with other health distributors for better services now that it ventured into the pharmacy industry. By combining efforts with health distributors, Amazon can easily reach out to medical hospitals and other health facilities (Hill & Jones, 2009). There will be a likely evolved process of medication delivery from which consumer will benefit from. Drug sorting capabilities which are of great assistance to people in with multiple chronic conditions should be one of the ways in which Amazon should ensure their customers’ health and well-being.

Target Consumer and Buying Process

Amazon has a wide audience specifically those who have an interest in online shopping. The consumer target cuts across people different walks of life and ages whether old or young where the site is designed in an easy to use way. Amazon’s marketing strategy is mostly based on actual purchase behavior rather than what seem to be of interest to consumers (Pride & Ferrell, 2010). The mostly targeted consumers, however, are those that fall under the middle or upper class and have some experience in basic technology. Most of these consumers do not have time or prefer to shop from physical outlets especially the Millennials.

Picchi in the CBS News article asserts that Amazon is coming up with a new service for teens to shop but with the approval of their parents via an email or text message. The target group is of the age 13-17 years who are part of Generation Z that surpasses the Millennial and probably spending power in the future. Amazon is now eyeing this audience which is showing a promising future bearing in mind that it comprises the largest media audience.

The buying process for Amazon consumers is just a matter of a few clicks of the keyboard and mouse. The website has a unique layout based on previous searches made and products purchased. Once the user is logged in and finds a desired product, he/she adds it to a shopping cart which leads them to another page for shipping and billing information. Once every detail is filled out and the order is completed, Amazon’s backend systems take over from there up to the point where the product is delivered to the customer. In case a customer is not satisfied with their purchase, they are fully refunded without any questions asked.


Retail companies are facing stiff competition from the large retailers that have the resources to market their products across the globe. Amazon has been able to have a wide market share through ensuring customer satisfaction, low prices and effective marketing. In order for a retailer to be more competitive, they must understand the market and the consumers.


Farfan, B. (2017). The World’s Largest U.S. Retail Chains in 2017. The Balance Small Business. Retrieved from https://www.thebalancesmb.com/worlds-largest-us-retail-chains-2892856Top of Form

Canzer, B. (2006). E-business: Strategic thinking and practice. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

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Combe, C. (2013). Introduction to e-business: Management and strategy.

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Hill, C. W. L., & Jones, G. R. (2009). Essentials of strategic management. Mason, OH: South-Western/Cengage Learning.

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Pride, W. M., & Ferrell, O. C. (2010). Marketing. Mason, OH: South Western/ Cengage Learning.

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Picchi, A. (2017). Amazon Eyes a New Audience: Teenagers With Spending Money. CBS News. Retrieved from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/amazon-eyes-a-new-audience-teenagers-with-spending-money/

Source list

1. Farfan, B. (2017). The World’s Largest U.S. Retail Chains in 2017. The Balance Small Business. Retrieved from https://www.thebalancesmb.com/worlds-largest-us-retail-chains-2892856Top of Form

2. Canzer, B. (2006). E-business: Strategic thinking and practice. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

3. Top of Form


3. Combe, C. (2013). Introduction to e-business: Management and strategy. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=ddqMqmV_pdAC&pg=PA354&dq=Amazon%27s+strategic+plan+to+win+customers&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi-n4ryiabeAhWrI8AKHcnbAsUQ6AEIMjAC#v=onepage&q=Amazon’s%20strategic%20plan%20to%20win%20customers&f=false

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4. Hill, C. W. L., & Jones, G. R. (2009). Essentials of strategic management. Mason, OH: South-Western/Cengage Learning. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=Sy8vejqbcocC&pg=RA1-PA36&dq=Amazon+began+as+the+world%E2%80%99s+biggest+bookstores+and+has+now+become+one+of+the+leading+retailers.&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiJ59-qjKbeAhXHK8AKHa1VAkYQ6AEIKDAA#v=onepage&q=Amazon%20began%20as%20the%20world%E2%80%99s%20biggest%20bookstores%20and%20has%20now%20become%20one%20of%20the%20leading%20retailers.&f=false

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Pride, W. M., & Ferrell, O. C. (2010). Marketing. Mason, OH: South Western/ Cengage Learning. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=-R1zRakeLJgC&pg=PA218&dq=Amazon+Target+Consumer+and+Buying+Process&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjbuMKqjqbeAhVLJ8AKHRsvDuQQ6AEIKDAA#v=onepage&q=Amazon%20Target%20Consumer%20and%20Buying%20Process&f=false

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6. Picchi, A. (2017). Amazon Eyes a New Audience: Teenagers With Spending Money. CBS News. Retrieved from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/amazon-eyes-a-new-audience-teenagers-with-spending-money/

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