Former Amazon Exec: Bets a Critical Component of Innovation

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A former Amazon executive shared insights and tactics for retailers looking to innovate and reduce friction to deliver a better customer experience with a diverse group of executives gathered recently at Ecommerce Operations Technology Summit 2022 in Orlando.

“Bets are an important concept if you really want to embrace innovation,” John Rossman, a former Amazon executive and author of ‘The Amazon Way’ book series, told the audience. He was a keynote speaker at Multichannel Merchant’s annual event, which also featured insights shared by major brands including Gap, H&M and Saadia Group, owners of Lord & Taylor, New York & Company and Le Tote.

“When you are in the business of bets, you have to think about it from a portfolio perspective,” Rossman said at the event, held at the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista.

He also spoke of the critical need for successful brands to be customer-centric, as Amazon was during his time at the ecommerce behemoth. “We pay attention to competitors, but we obsess about our customers,” Rossman said.

Rossman is most known for launching and scaling the Amazon Marketplace, which accounts for more than 50% of Amazon’s units sold. He served as director of enterprise services at Amazon under founder Jeff Bezos, managing worldwide services to enterprise clients like, Marks and Spencer and the NBA.

The common thread amongst the many tactics Rossman shared was rooted in the tenets embraced by big tech: Move fast and innovate or you will be left behind. “We need to speed up how we make decisions,” said Rossman, who is managing partner of consultancy Rossman Partners.

Not all of Rossman’s tips were focused on innovation. He also spoke to the need for streamlining your existing business processes. “What is the true cost of the complexity?” Rossman asked the audience. “Simplifying is as hard, and as important as innovating.”