Discuss Amazon, A Decade In Business And Still No Profits

Chapter Description Word Count*

Contents Page Contents of the Management Consulting Report.

Executive Summary Introduction to the project. Summary of

key points from each section of your

report. It should provide an overview of

the report.

1,000 Words

Company Details Includes:

1. General background and industry

analysis

2. Specific problem/opportunity the

company faces

2,000 Words

Research Programme Detail the methods you have used to

investigate the problem/opportunity.

Justify why your chosen method is

suitable to answer the area you are

addressing. Note � this is to be a

practical chapter, research philosophy

need not be addressed.

2,000 Words

Problem/Opportunity

Quantification

Conduct an investigation into the

problem/opportunity the company faces.

This will be based on secondary

published material about the company.

2,500 Words

Problem/Opportunity

Resolution

A review of academic literature, trade

publications and industry analysis that

relate to the focal area. From this

identify potential solutions to problems

or how opportunities can be maximised.

2,500 Words

Feasibility Study Evaluate the feasibility of your proposed

solutions. This should include a

reasoned theoretical evaluation of the

feasibility of the solutions presented

given the limitations of the company and

the marketplace.

2,500 Words

Discussion &

Conclusion

Present an overview of the project and

its practical contribution to the business.

Identify benefits and future implications

as well as limitations to the project.

2,500 Words

References A-Z (by author) list of all secondary materials used.

Appendix Unlikely to be required for a secondary data based research

project.

Project proposal

Amazon, A Decade In Business And Still No Profits

Introduction

The company chosen for this research study is Amazon. This is an independent research project and the writer will reviews published literature from a variety of online sources in order to critically analyse the current challenges faced by the company.

Company Challenge

Amazon has been in business for over a decade and has become a household name in the online shopping market (Satell, 2013). Even though it is the worlds largest online retailer, to date the company has not made any profits, this is despite the fact that its share prices have continued to increase over the years and market share has also increased along with it (Martinez, 2014; Streitfeld, 2013). The last time the company had a profit was in 2010 and since then the share prices have soared to new highs by 150 percent (Ruddick, 2014; Streitfeld, 2013). However, it is important to note that as income slid, investors decided to purchase more stock, which is contrary to mainstream finance theory (Gross, 2013; Streitfeld, 2013). While no theorist has categorically stated that the company is in fact an overblown bubble, through the last few years the debate about the future of the company and its ability to continue to focus on revenues rather than margins and profits continue to be questioned (Streitfeld, 2013; Team, 2013).

While there are theorists and economists who argue that making Amazon profitable today is not a difficult challenge, the most important and difficult challenge is to ensure that the company will remain the biggest and the most powerful retailer 20 years from today and that it is that goal, which is keeping the company from focusing on profits (Streitfeld, 2013). Today Amazon is one of the greatest online retailers because it is able to sell the same product sold by others at a cheaper price, ship it at a cheaper rate and also provide excellent customer service. If the company is to focus on profits, one or more of the variables suggested above would have to be changed and that could result in a drop in revenue as loyal customers leave the company for the competitor (Streitfeld, 2013). This in turn could result in investors demanding profits sooner. Thus, the current conundrum of the company is that current revenue growth will be hampered if margins become the focus of the organisation.

Outline of Research

Goal and Objectives of Research Study

The main goal of this study would be investigate if it would be possible for Amazon to continue to focus on revenues and still achieve a reasonable annual profit. Therefore the objectives of the study would to

� Understand the different variables driving Amazon�s growth

� To understand how those variables will be affected if Amazon decided to focus on margins rather than revenues

� To identify different strategies, which the company could implement to balance the need for growing revenues and turning a profit

Proposed Methodology

Due to the exploratory nature of the research study and the abundance of published literature on the topic the writer will carry out a review of published literature on the creation, growth and current challenges faced by Amazon. The knowledge gained from the review of published literature will then be used to create hypotheses. Next the writer will use secondary data that is available on Amazon, such as its revenue growth, investments through the years, share prices, customer reviews, competitor analyses, unique selling points, resource allocation and much more to gain a better understanding of the company and the strategies that will be available to it in the future to turn a profit. In this phase of the research study, the writer will also consult a variety of management and finance related books to identify different models and frameworks, which could be used by Amazon to balance revenue growth while still managing to return a profit for its investors.

Justification and Limitations of Study

The writer has selected this methodology due to the abundance of secondary data and expert opinions available on Amazon and its future in the online retail market. The main limitation of this research study is that the writer will not be using any primary data and therefore, triangulation may not be possible. In order to mitigate the above, the writer will consult a large number of secondary sources and published literature in order to ensure that a balanced overview could be gained.

Literature Review

The review of literature will consist of a variety of different sources which include text books, peer reviewed and scholarly journal articles as well as online sources from reputable websites like The Economist, Forbes and others. The writer expects to consult 50 or more different published sources with at least 10 of the sources consisting of recent management and finance text books, which could provide important insights into the different methods, which could be adopted by Amazon to balance the need for increased revenue growth along with increased margin growth.

The writer will look at records on profits, and revenue growth of the company as well as share price growth over the last 20 years. However, the writer will focus specifically on investments made by the company over the last 10 years and the success and failure records of those investments. Therefore, while there will be a variety of material, which will be cited that are dated over 10 years ago, a majority of the literature will be those that have been published in the last ten years. The writer will be using both qualitative and quantitative data such as expert opinions on the future of Amazon, along with statistical data that is available on the company to draw conclusions and make recommendations on what steps it could take in order to balance revenue growth with profitability.

Project Format

You should present your combined reports as follows:

? Title Page (to include student name, student number, name of academic advisor)

? Signed Declaration Statement (provided page 19 � only submitted with hard copy)

? Completed Advisor Meeting Record Form (provided page 15 �only submitted with

hard copy)

? Completed Research Ethics Declaration (provided page 16-18 � only submitted with

hard copy)

? Acknowledgements

? Management Consulting Report (all sections as outlined above)

Your report should be formatted as follows:

? A4 paper with 2.5cm margins on each border

? All text to be in UK-English

? Print single-sided for hard copies

? All text to be doubled-spaced

? Font size should be 12-pt using a standard font (Times New Roman/Arial/Calibri

etc)

? Page numbering should be used throughout Independent-Study Project

Independent 0-39

Bad fail

40-49

Fail

50-59

Pass

60-69

Meritable Pass

70-79

Distinction

80-100

Distinction

Selection of Company

and Analysis of

Situation

Little reasoning behind

choice, inadequate

description of position.

Poor company choice with

little description of position

Solid selection with

description of position in.

Solid selection with good

analysis of position.

Innovative selection with

in-depth analysis

Innovative selection with

outstanding analysis

Research Methodology Wholly inadequate amount

of research conducted.

Inadequate amount of

research conducted.

Acceptable amount of

research conducted.

Solid research methods

chosen with extensive use

of databases, reports and

published work.

In-depth research

conducted with extensive

use of databases, reports

and published work.

Exceptional amount of

research conducted with

extensive use of

databases, reports and

published work.

Problem/OpportunityQuantification

Vague description of area. No quantification of

problem.

Analysis with some

quantification.

Detailed analysis, some

quantification.

Detailed analysis with hard

quantification and

validation of data to drive

analysis.

Very detailed analysis with

hard quantification and

validation of data to drive

analysis.

Problem/Opportunity

Resolution

Few past studies

consulted. Unclear audit

trail of student ideas.

Few past studies

consulted. Unclear audit

trail of student ideas.

Review of past work.

Solutions not really linked

to study.

Review of past studies in

this area used to generate

solutions.

In-depth review of past

studies in this area used to

generate good solutions.

Exceptional review of past

studies in this area used to

generate good solutions.

Feasibility Study Feasibility unrealistic or

ungrounded.

Feasibility unrealistic or

ungrounded.

Some consideration of

feasibility.

Reasoned assessment of

feasibility.

In-depth assessment of

feasibility.

Exceptional assessment of

feasibility.

Discussion,

Conclusion,

Limitations.

Wholly inadequate. Weak summary. Acceptable summary. Good summary of

research study with critical

awareness of limitations.

Excellent summary of

research study with critical

awareness of limitations..

Outstanding summary of

research study with critical

awareness of limitations..

Quality of Writing Several areas incoherent

and unclear.

Ideas and content poorly

presented.

Acceptable writing and

presentation.

Good writing and

presentation.

Very well written and

presented.

Exceptionally well written

and presented.

Quality of Reasoning Very little evidence of

reasoning or critical ability.

Little evidence of

reasoning or critical ability.

Poor explanation for areas

discussed.

Satisfactory evidence of

reasoning and

critical/evaluative ability.

Logical expression of

ideas.

Good evidence of solid

reasoning and critical

evaluation ability. Clear

rationale for every area of

project. Logical expression

of ideas.

Very good demonstration

of higher order reasoning

and critical evaluation.

Clear rationale for every

area of project. Logical

expression of ideas.

Excellent demonstration of

higher order reasoning

and critical evaluation.

Clear rationale for every

area of project. Logical

expression of ideas.

Completeness of

Application

Many gaps in project. Many gaps in project. Some gaps in project

application.

Addresses most potential

areas of the project with a

few significant gaps

Addresses almost all

potential areas of the

project

Addresses all potential

areas of the projectManagement Consulting Independent-study Project

Identify from secondary sources (eg. Financial Times, The Economist, CNN.com etc) a

company that interests you that is facing a particular business challenge or opportunity

(pathway students should note that this challenge must be within their specialist field).

From secondary data sources, build a case study of the company and evaluate the

challenge or opportunity they face. From your own experience, previous taught modules,

and with a review of past academic and practitioner studies in this area, identify potential

solutions and evaluate the feasibility of these solutions.

The project should be in the format of a strategic management report, however, students

should make full use of academic references.