Business Insider reports that Jeff Bezos has taken on a more active daily role again at Amazon after having spent the last few years focusing on long term projects.
According to Amazon insiders, this year Bezos became involved in COVID-related challenges, fighting counterfeits on the platform, expanding workplace diversity, and considering competitive threats. Apparently, one of the competitive threats that landed on top of Bezos’s list is Shopify.
Over the past few years, the Shopify platform grew to power over a million online stores, including launching a fulfillment service similar to Amazon FBA. Recently, the company also partnered with Walmart to enable Shopify store owners to tie into Walmart.com’s marketplace platform, a tie-up that was promoted by Walmart and Shopify and clearly aimed at Amazon.
In theory, Shopify could expand its platform to include a full marketplace by pooling Shopify stores that use its fulfillment service, thereby creating a similar shopping experience for shoppers as is found on Amazon. If the company has such ambitions is just speculation — the tie-up with Walmart seems to suggest that isn’t the case. But ecommerce keeps evolving and who knows what may happen down the road, especially if Walmart decides it can do better by focusing on grocery and everyday items, the real growing part of its online business.
From a revenue point of view, Shopify isn’t an existential threat to Amazon. But Amazon cannot just dismiss the one million plus store owners that are happier building their own shopping brand instead of being part of the Amazon marketplace.
Therefore, “Bezos and his executive suite considered launching the service under the Amazon Web Services cloud unit and having Yunyan Wang, the technical advisor to retail CEO Jeff Wilke, run the business,” people familiar with the discussions told BI. However, BI said there was also pushback from executives as the company already tried this route with Amazon Webstore and failed as it shut down the service five years ago.
Could it do better a second time around? That’s the million Dollar question apparently being considered at Amazon in light of Shopify’s rapid growth.