While many public companies focus their attention on embellishing their quarterly results, Amazon has always taken the long view.
The online retailer leader has invested heavily in infrastructure including a nationwide network of warehouses, robots which help ship orders, and even predictive technology that helps the company know what a customer plans to buy before he or she orders it.
Amazon even has a pioneering deal with the United States Postal Service which allows for Sunday delivery in some markets.
All of this has not come cheap, and it has hurt Amazon’s short-term profitability in some quarters, but it has helped the company build a strong competitive advantage over its chief rivals Wal-Mart and Target.
Those two physical retailers are struggling to change their supply chains to meet the needs of individual digital customers rather than stores. That’s a radical switch that requires major changes to how both brick-and-mortar chains operate.
But if either Wal-Mart or Target can hope to compete with Amazon, they have to recreate the digital leader’s ability to ship millions of products in a two-day window efficiently. Both companies seem to at least understand the problem and are taking steps to catch up.
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