How Would Jeff Bezos Run a Subscription Box Company?


Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, has spent decades revolutionizing e-commerce and building Amazon into a company worth $750B. So what if he approached you with his advice on how best to grow your subscription box company? Chances are good his advice would align with the five business principles he reinforces with employees in every annual letter since 1997. His advice also could accelerate your business on a path to great success.

  1. Obsess over customers, not competitors. Strive to earn every customer’s next order, and constantly seek their feedback and ideas so that you can sustain your relevance and momentum.  
  2. Take risks for market leadership. In his first annual letter, Bezos wrote “Failure and invention are inseparable twins. To invent you have to experiment, and if you know in advance that it’s going to work, it’s not an experiment.” In other words, to lead you have to be bold, take risks, and be willing to learn from your mistakes.
  3. Make employees think like owners. From sharing goals to sharing profits, there are many ways to give workers a stake in the outcomes and success of your company.
  4. Build a culture that’s right for your company. At Amazon, the culture is extremely fast-paced and cost-conscious. But this may not be what your business is about. The best culture is one that is authentic to your company and furthers your mission for customers.
  5. Empower people – up to a point – to avoid bureaucracy. Bezos says that to keep innovating, a company must push decision-making deep into the organization. To mitigate risk, he suggests that employees with good judgment be empowered to make quick tactical decisions on behalf of customers.

How Productiv can help you turn this advice into growth and profits.As a supply chain partner to subscription box companies, Productiv likes to follow Amazon’s best-in-class practices for our own customers.First, we obsess about your customers, too! We consult with you on important matters, even before the first pallet of goods arrives. We advise on such matters as product selection, packing materials, quality specifications and shipping methods. Our goal is to support your mission of delivering “Wow!” to extend the customer life cycle, and to turn current customers into brand ambassadors for new customers.Second, we make it easier for you to take risks to become a market leader because of our flexibility and passion for problem solving. Want to offer a weekly subscription box? Geo-target a promotion? Do something no one else has thought of? Because of our experience and agility, we get excited by “out of the box” thinking, and are highly responsive to it.Third, we help you set (and stretch!) the goals that lead to success for you, and engage your employees like owners. We can lend our expertise in warehousing best practices, lean-engineered assembly or shipping, and we educate your team in the process so they own the daily KPIs and overall business outcomes.[caption id="attachment_1740" align="aligncenter" width="385"]

While most warehouses are arranged in stacks, Amazon primarily uses floor-loaded systems as you see on the right. Whatever the challenge, the right solution is the one that works for your customers, and fosters a sense of ownership among your employees.[/caption]Fourth, whether we assemble in one of our facilities or embed a team into your operation, we assimilate your culture so there is total synchronicity among our teams. What’s important to you, is equally important to us.Finally, we use our expertise to collaborate with you on strategic decisions while empowering your teams to make real-time low-risk decisions that benefit customers.Whatever your vision for your subscription box company, we can all benefit from Jeff Bezos’ advice. Now’s the time to leverage our respective strengths – your deep knowledge of your customer, and our deep knowledge of the logistics and fulfillment process -- to pave your path toward greatness.To see an archive of all Jeff Bezos’ letters to employees, click here.


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