The Amazon eCommerce Empire—An Overview of Everything Amazon

Updated · Mar 06, 2023

Amazon is a massive business. Not just in scale, but in scope as well. With so much going on at Amazon, we thought we’d put together a guide to give you an overview of Amazon, before ending off with some direction on how you can make the company work for you. 

Without further ado, let’s begin exploring the world of Amazon ecommerce.

What Is Amazon?

Amazon is one of the world's largest companies, and it has come to dominate many areas of the internet. 

Founded in 1994 as an online bookstore, by “sometimes world’s richest man” Jeff Bezos, Amazon has since expanded into a vast ecommerce platform, selling everything from books to clothes to furniture.

In addition, Amazon has also become a major player in the world of web hosting, providing cloud-based services to businesses and individuals around the globe.

It has also entered the arena of video streaming, with its Prime Video service. 

Let’s take a closer look at each area.

Amazon Retail

Amazon commerce is perhaps the best-known division of the company.

Through it, shoppers can buy almost any retail product imaginable.

These offerings become even more tempting with the Prime program, which includes free two-day shipping in applicable regions (on top of other services for video and music streaming).

Many of the service’s products are its own, but it also allows retailers and even businesses of one to sell through the platform.

This part of Amazon has over 310 million active users.

Amazon Video

Amazon launched Prime Video all the way back in 2006 as Amazon Unbox, a platform for downloading videos, but has since gone through numerous changes.

Now everything is about streaming, so that’s what Amazon Prime Video has shifted to. 

It’s currently the second biggest streaming service, and it may well have a shot at becoming the biggest, but as you’ll see soon, Amazon faces strong competition in every arena. 

Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the company’s cloud computing platform that delivers a wide variety of services, including storage, security, analytics, and more.

AWS is one of the most popular choices for cloud computing, in fact, it holds roughly 31% of the global cloud market.

AWS is used by services like Facebook, Netflix, LinkedIn, and the BBC. 

Top Amazon Competitors 

As we’ve mentioned, Amazon commerce is facing stiff competition in many areas, but doing very well at holding its ground. 

Amazon Store Competitors

Amazon is the undisputed leader in online retail, but it still faces strong competition from the world of brick-and-mortar. 

The Covid Pandemic did a lot to boost the use of Amazon, but giant Walmart is hanging on with its vast physical presence and a huge customer base. 

In recent years, Walmart has been aggressively expanding its online offerings in an attempt to eat into Amazon's market share. 

Across the sea, Amazon vs Alibaba is brewing, as the latter steps up its game. Based in China, Alibaba is one of the world's largest e-commerce companies. In 2021, it recorded a revenue of $109.48 billion

It has a vast network of vendors and customers, and it offers a wide range of products and services.

Alibaba is also seeking to expand its reach into new markets, including the United States.

AWS Competitors 

On the cloud front, Amazon’s two biggest competitors are Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure. 

Google Cloud is often seen as the more flexible and developer-friendly option. It offers a wide range of tools and services, and its prices are typically very competitive.

AWS vs Microsoft Azure seems to be the major rivalry though, as both are generally seen as being more enterprise-oriented.

It’s the cloud company that’s usually in more direct competition with AWS, and sometimes it even turns nasty.

Prime Video Competitors

The streaming industry is booming, and more and more companies are muscling in.

Of course, Prime Video’s biggest competitor at the moment is Netflix, the industry leader, but HBO is also on the rise with 142 million subscribers.

Hulu is close behind with 100 million viewers, and the more recent Disney+ platform, which saw 10 million subscribers on launch day is breaking out as well. 

How You Can Make Use of eCommerce on Amazon

As you can see, Amazon is massive, but that can be a benefit for you if you decide to become a seller.

In this section, we’ll talk about some ways in which you can start selling on Amazon, and if one takes your interest, be sure to check out our more advanced guides. 

Amazon Selling

You can start selling on Amazon by creating a seller account and registering as an individual or professional seller. 

You will need to provide your credentials. Once you have registered, you can start listing items for sale.

While the Amazon ecommerce business environment is highly competitive, it’s also home to millions of users who may be interested in your product.

That’s one advantage selling on Amazon has over other methods, like creating a Shopify store.

Of course, another trade-off is that you won’t be able to promote your brand, as it gets buried under Amazon.

One of the keys to selling on Amazon is to know about the buy box, and how to win space in it. 


Another way to sell on Amazon is through dropshipping.

This model lets you sell products without any inventory. 

When you receive an order from a customer on Amazon, you simply contact the supplier, who will then ship the products directly to the customer’s doorstep. 

Amazon dropshipping is a popular business model because it’s relatively easy to set up and requires very little upfront investment. 

Plus, there are fewer costs involved since you don’t have to worry about carrying inventory or managing shipping logistics. 

However, dropshipping does have some downsides, such as low-profit margins and the fact you’re selling generic products.

Amazon SEO

When it comes to selling on Amazon, using SEO can be a major advantage. 

By optimizing your product listings for relevant keywords, you can make it easier for potential customers to find your products. 

In addition, by providing relevant and well-written product descriptions, you can help to set your products apart from the competition. 

With a little effort and the right tools, you can use SEO to help increase your visibility on Amazon and reach a larger audience of potential buyers.


That does it for our overview of the Amazon ecommerce empire.

As you can see, “titanic” isn’t an understatement when it’s used to refer to this company. 

Amazon seems to have every big area of “ebusiness” cornered, and therein lies opportunities for smaller businesses to get a foothold in ecommerce.

Naturally, you don’t have to stop at Amazon, it can also be thought of as a way to experiment before moving onto a site of your own creation.  

Garan van Rensburg
Garan van Rensburg

Garan is a writer interested in how tech reshapes the environment, and how the environment reshapes tech. You'll usually find him inoculating against future shock and arguing with bots.