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Amazon's Grand Ambitions

Stocks in this article: AMZN AAPL GOOG

Some of Amazon's bolder ambitions in recent years have included Amazon Fresh, its grocery delivery service, as well as Amazon Web Services and the company's fast delivery solutions, including drones.

Amazon Fresh, which costs $299 a year, allows customers to receive same-day and early morning delivery on fresh groceries, as well as over 500,000 items, including toys, electronics and household goods. Though it's available right now only in Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles, Bezos confirmed the goal is to expand it, "bringing this incredible service to more cities over time."

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is continuing to launch more services in features, adding 280 in 2013, up from 82 in 2011. There are now 10 AWS regions around the world, as Amazon's cloud computing segment continues to grow:

"We have 26 availability zones across regions and 51 edge locations for our content distribution network. The development teams work directly with customers and are empowered to design, build, and launch based on what they learn. We iterate continuously, and when a feature or enhancement is ready, we push it out and make it instantly available to all. This approach is fast, customer-centric, and efficient - it's allowed us to reduce prices more than 40 times in the past 8 years - and the teams have no plans to slow down," Amazon said.

Amazon has made no bones about trying to improve its delivery methods, first partnering with the U.S. Post Office for Sunday delivery. Bezos noted Amazon has also worked on improving the infrastructure in emerging markets, like India and China, with bike couriers. Then there's the issue of Amazon drones, something Bezos talked about on CBS' (CBS) 60 Minutes program in late 2013. "The Prime Air team is already flight testing our 5th and 6th generation aerial vehicles, and we are in the design phase on generations 7 and 8," he said.

If you thought that was enough, Amazon isn't done yet, using the company's internal experimentation platform called "Weblab" to constantly improve the company's Web site and products. In 2013, the company ran 1,976 Weblabs worldwide, up from 1,092 in 2012 and 546 in 2011.

Bezos and Amazon are serious about consistently improving the customer experience, and are showing no signs of slowing down.

To read the rest of Amazon's plans for the future and accomplishments, click here.
-- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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