- 20 years of digital innovation in Germany: product recommendations, customer reviews, machine learning – always with the aim of making customers’ lives easier.
- Firmly anchored in Germany: 18,000 employees by the end of the year, from software developers, linguists to logistics experts – plus a partner network with tens of thousands of small and medium-sized companies as sellers, authors, content creative and developers.
- Large selection of products: More than 300 million products now on offer at Amazon.de
- Day one for Amazon’s culture of innovation: More than 560,000 Amazonians worldwide work daily to develop new services for customers – from the cashless supermarket Amazon Go to low-emission delivery with Prime Now
Munich, 15 October 2018 – Amazon in Germany is turning 20. On 15 October 1998 it clicked on Amazon.de for the first time. The ordered product was called “Mastering Simulink 2”, a software textbook written in English, shipped from Amazon’s first location in Regensburg.
Amazon in Germany was created through the integration of ABC Bücherdienst GmbH from Regensburg, which had operated its own online shop www.telebuch.de since 1995 – a digital pioneer at the time. The offer at the start of Amazon.de contained approximately 700,000 German and English-language books, a search machine, best-seller lists and a gift service, through which books packed in gift paper were dispatched to customers.
The product selection at Amazon.de has now risen to over 300 million articles – from A for car accessories [Autozubehör] to Z for magazines [Zeitschriften]. While in the beginning books were the top sellers, other categories such as films, computer games and electronics are among the most popular products of the last 20 years:
· 1998: The road to financial freedom: the first million in seven years
· 2008: World of WarCraft: Wrath of the Lich King
· 2018: Fire TV stick with Alexa voice remote control
In 1998, a few dozen employees were responsible for the product range, shipping and customer service – seven of them still work at Amazon today. In the meantime, Amazon has become an important component of the German economy and has invested more than eight billion euros in this country. At the beginning of 2018, the company employed more than 16,000 permanent employees at over 30 locations in Germany. A further 2,000 permanent jobs are to be added by the end of the year. Since its launch, Amazon.de has become the website with the highest turnover after Amazon.com.
Amazon’ vision has remained the same over the years, namely to be the most customer-centric company in the world and to create innovations every day that make customers’ lives easier. In the beginning still unthinkable, delivery on the same day is common practice in many German cities today, via the Prime Now service even in an hour.
Many of Amazon’s most important inventions have been successful because they enable other companies to participate – family businesses, start-ups, craftsmen, creative people, authors and many more. “Partnership is our business: only through our local partners is it possible to offer customers the widest possible range of products – at the same time we offer our partners access to over 300 million customers worldwide,” says Ralf Kleber, Country Manager of Amazon.de and with the company for 19 years.
Some examples of the close partnerships:
- Selling via Amazon.de: A good 18 years ago, Amazon opened its own website to other sellers in order to expand the product range for customers. Many initially took a critical view of bringing supposed competitors onto their own websites. Today, third-party providers account for 50 percent of Amazon’s products sold worldwide, and tens of thousands of small and medium-sized companies from Germany alone use Amazon to expand their business and create new jobs. Customers today have the opportunity to purchase products from craftsmen, artists and hobbyists, but also from start-ups, producers and small family businesses through services such as Storefronts, Handmade and Launchpad.
- Amazon Prime: Since the launch of Prime in Germany in 2007, customers have benefited from a convenient shopping experience through premium mail order, which has been continuously enhanced with many more benefits for members: unlimited streaming of more than 20,000 films and series episodes with Prime Video, unlimited access to over two million songs with Amazon Music, Prime Reading, Prime Photos, Twitch Prime and premium access to flash offers.
- Kindle Direct Publishing: Since 2013, Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) has enabled authors and publishers to publish their own books in different languages – free of charge, quickly and easily. Via Amazon, they have access to almost every country in the world. So even unusual stories have the chance to find an audience. For customers, KDP means the widest possible range of books. The authors, who remain in possession of the copyright, have full control over the content and benefit from up to 70 percent royalties for eBooks and 60 percent for paperbacks. The service has been available in Germany since 2013.
- Amazon Alexa: What was unthinkable 20 years ago is now reality – thanks to the cloud-based voice service Alexa, Amazon customers in Germany can use their voice alone to play music, call your friends, find out the weather for tomorrow or control compatible Smart Home devices. With the freely available Alexa Skill Kit, independent software developers can create their own skills and individual language experiences. Thus they reach their users over several million Alexa-enabled devices everywhere. Hardware manufacturers also have the possibility to integrate Alexa into various products.
More information about milestones, Amazon’s culture of innovation and the best-selling products in 20 years of Amazon.de can be found here.