E-Commerce Nowhere Near Jet Engine Stage , Bezos Tells Catalogers

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CHICAGO -- E-commerce is beyond the Kitty Hawk stage but nowhere near the jet engine, Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com told attendees at yesterday's 19 Annual Catalog Conference & Exhibition.


Bezos told direct marketers what online tactics have worked for Amazon during his keynote address. With an active customer base of 26 million and 31 million visitors per month, he said one of the most important lessons Amazon has learned was to listen to its customers, especially their e-mails.


While often laced with profanity, the most honest feedback a company will ever receive will be via e-mail, Bezos said.


"E-mail turns off the politeness gene," he said.


Because of that feedback, Amazon has implemented many changes to its Web site and its services.


Partnerships were another thing hailed by Bezos. Currently, Amazon has more than 740,000 associate partners that sell through its site. And while 30 percent of orders placed on Amazon are not for its own merchandise, Bezos said, those associate relationships were a help rather than a detriment.


Bezos took the opportunity to reveal Amazon's new partnership during his speech. He announced that J&R Electronics was Amazon's newest online partner joining the rank of other high-profile Amazon partners such as Toys 'R' Us and Target.


Bezos also talked about differentiating with technology. He said Amazon has made huge technological investments that have paid off, citing the personalization features such as recommendations and purchase history on the Amazon site as one of its customers favorite features.


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