The secret behind Amazon’s success isn’t really a secret at all.
The world’s largest online retailer generated some $34bn in revenue last year. Its Kindle device is more popular than ever. And in the UK, its games team is doing the business, picking up a well-deserved MCV Award for its efforts.
But whereas its video game rivals are toying around with loyalty cards, buy back schemes, digital ventures and so on, Amazon UK has grown its business by focusing on two very basic principles – by stocking more games than its competitors and selling them for the lowest prices.
It is the reason millions of cash-conscious gamers bought from them last year, and it’s the reason they’ll probably stick around this year, too.
“We continue to focus on what’s important to customers by providing a vast selection of video games at great prices with lots of information to help them find the product that is right for them,” says Amazon.co.uk’s video games manager Liz Hosmer.
“We’re pleased with the year so far and video games continue to perform well for us with the likes of Call of Duty: Black Ops and Just Dance 2 amongst the bestsellers on the site as a whole, whilst Nintendo 3DS became our most pre-ordered console of all-time.”
DOWN WITH THE INDIES
Of course when you are a multi-billion dollar global retail giant, selling games at competitive prices isn't such a tall order. Amazon can afford a loss-leader or two and they are large enough to demand the best deals from suppliers.
But when it comes to stocking the largest range of games, that’s a different matter entirely – Amazon has needed some help from indies.
There are hundreds of independent retailers selling games through Amazon’s marketplace, so consumers can find pretty much anything through the site – collectables, merchandise, even retro titles.
Not only can indies use Amazon’s secure payment mechanics, the retail giant will even store, pack and ship products on their behalf.
Hosmer adds: “We are always happy to see an increasing number of sellers on Amazon.co.uk because they broaden our offering.
“Amazon appeals to sellers because it provides access to a high number of customers while being easy to use. Also, with Fulfilment By Amazon, a service where we store, pack, and ship sellers’ items, it is easier than ever to sell on Amazon.”
Of course, there’s more to Amazon than simply selling lots of games cheaply.
The US arm has a range of new digital services, such as PC downloads and an Android App store. Meanwhile over here the games team is now accepting trade-ins.
So what’s next for Amazon UK’s games team? The firm is notoriously secretive. When pushed, Hosmer would only promise to ‘focus on improving the shopping experience’ for her customers. No word on the US’ digital services, then.
But what about LOVEFiLM? Amazon acquired the online rental company earlier this year. What does this mean for the games team?
“We are delighted to welcome the LOVEFiLM team to the Amazon family and look forward to a productive and innovative future together,” says Hosmer. Before adding:
“There are a number of exciting opportunities, but it’s too early to go into details.” Of course.