Amazon reported their second-quarter numbers yesterday, showing earnings of 40 cents per share on a revenue of $38 billion. The margins didn’t live up to expectations, however, with most analysts originally predicting around $1.42 per share on a revenue of $37.1 billion. That being said, shareholders remain unfazed with the reassurance in mind that Amazon’s true value lies in its ability to penetrate and create markets that no one else can see.
And that's been the case ever since its conception in 1994. Amazon has completely reinvented the way that consumers behave and businesses respond. Their startup-like take on corporate culture has combined a workforce of innovative thinkers with the resources that they need to make those dreams a reality. And their dream of restructuring small-business funding is finally coming to fruition.
In 2011, Amazon launched a service called Amazon Lending, which aimed to bypass some of the restrictions and inefficiencies of the banking industry by offering readily-available loans to third-party sellers on its web platform.
It's taken a few years for the program to catch on, but in the past 12 months, they've issued around $1 billion in loans to a wide range of companies and vendors. Not bad for an e-commerce company.
The shift in the banking industry is very apparent, with Square and PayPal also implementing similar loan systems to companies using their products. With consumer behaviors constantly changing, and more millennials entering the work force every year, it seems as if no industry is safe from disruption. And Amazon is shaping up to be the leader of that wave in virtually every industry.
Their move into banking is a carefully thought-out ploy at disrupting an industry that’s inefficiency has been questioned for years. The logic is simple - if Amazon can financially propel companies that are using their e-commerce platform to sell their products, they reap the benefits of both the interest on the loan, and the commission from an increased number of transactions on their web platform. And more importantly, by investing in other businesses as their customers, their long-term revenue parallels that of their newfound partners. This isn't a 5 or 10 year play, this is a 25-50 year vision of where banking will inevitably end up.
In typical Amazon fashion, small business lending is just one of the areas in which they look to expand their presence. In September, they patented a design for underwater warehousing facilities, which would combat the rising prices of industrial warehouse space as e-commerce expands and physical retail declines. Apart from that, June's $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods is no side project. Their attack on the intersection between food and technology is just the beginning of what I'm sure will be another revolutionary innovation stemming from Bezos and his team.