Case Detail

Case Summary

Amazon.com: Winning the Online Book Wars

Case Number: 5-104-027, Year Published: 1998

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Authors: Mohanbir Sawhney; David Contreras

Key Concepts

Market Opportunity Analysis, Channel Structure and Analysis, Brand Extension, Market Expansion, Backward Integration, Product Differentiation

Abstract

Despite a year of dramatic revenue growth, losses were still mounting at Amazon.com, and its founder and CEO Jeff Bezos was under increasing pressure from Wall Street to show a move towards profitability. The case explores Bezos’ strategic options in his quest for growth and profitability. Growth options for Amazon included expansion into overseas markets, brand extension into music sales and backward integration into self-publishing of books. In evaluating these opportunities, Bezos faced the question: how can Amazon.com differentiate its service offering in order to attract and retain customers used to shopping at brick-and-mortar stores? Bezos’ decisions will impact Amazon’s future far beyond 1998.

Number of Pages: 26

Extended Case Information

Teaching Areas: Marketing, Technology

Geographic: Seattle, WA

Industry: Online Retail

Organization Name: Amazon.com

Organization Department: Executive Management

Organization Size: Large

Decision Maker Position: CEO

Decision Maker Gender: Male

Year of Case: 1998