Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has called the e-commerce giant “the best place in the world to fail.” He has instituted a culture in which failure is not only acceptable, but is an essential part of doing business. Amazon has had some spectacular failures over the years, costing billions of dollars.
Companies that don’t continue to experiment, companies that don’t embrace failure, eventually get in a desperate position at the very end of their corporate existence. Bezos said “I’ve made literally billions of dollars of failures, None of those things are fun. “If the size of your failures isn’t growing, you’re not going to be inventing at a size that can actually move the needle. Amazon will be experimenting at the right scale for a company of our size if we occasionally have multibillion-dollar failures.”
Some of Amazon’s more high-profile failures through the years;
Amazon Spark Amazon launched its Instagram-like visual shopping platform, Amazon Spark, in 2017. Amazon shut down the project in mid-2019.
Amazon Restaurants Launched in 2015, the service delivered freshly prepared food from local restaurants to customers via Amazon’s same-day delivery network. It expanded to 20 US cities and London before its demise.
Amazon Storywriter The service enabled TV and film writers to easily create scripts, which could then be submitted directly to Amazon Studios for consideration
Pop-up stores Amazon has closed all 87 of its pop-up stores. The stores were a place where customers interested in smart gadgets, such as Amazon’s Echo and Fire TV products, could see how they before purchasing them.
Dash buttons Dash buttons offered a way to reorder a consumable item on Amazon. Customers could link an item and preferred quantity to the button, and press it whenever they needed
Amazon Tap The Amazon Tap was a mobile version of its ultra-popular Alexa-enabled smart speakers. The device was cancelled in 2018.
Instant Pickup In 2017, Amazon debuted a new way to pick up items at designated Pickup locations within minutes of ordering them. Amazon did not specify when the service ended.
Amazon Tickets Amazon Tickets launched in 2015. It closed by 2018.
Whole Foods 365 These stores were designed to cater to cancelled the program in 2019.
Amazon Fresh’s Local Market Seller Amazon’s fresh-grocery delivery service — its answer to grocery-delivery services such as FreshDirect. In 2018 Amazon closed its Local Market Seller initiative.
Quidsi Amazon acquired Quidsi for $545 million in 2010. Quidsi… Diapers.com, Soap.com, Wag.com, BeautyBar.com, Casa.com, and YoYo.com. Amazon shut down Quidsi in 2017.
Endless.com Amazon started the fashion online retailer Endless.com in 2007 as its first standalone online-shopping brand outside of Amazon.com. Endless.com shuttered in 2012.
MyHabit.com Amazon closed the flash-sale site MyHabit.com in 2016.
Amazon Webstore Amazon’s platform for other businesses to easily set up their own stores and start selling online directly to customers. In 2016, Amazon shut down the platform.
Amazon Destination Amazon had a hotel-booking website called Amazon Destinations. It didn’t last long. Launched in April 2015, closed October.
Amazon Local Daily deals site similar to Groupon and LivingSocial. Shut down in 2015
Amazon Wallet Amazon Wallet died before it ever got off the ground. A standalone app that stored gift cards and loyalty cards. Amazon Wallet died before it ever got off the ground
Amazon Local Register Amazon Local Register enabled small businesses to accept credit-card payments through Amazon’s payment processing. Amazon ceased supporting it in 2016.
Fire Phone The Fire Phone, essentially a Fire tablet in phone form, was considered Amazon’s first and largest failure..
Amazon WebPay Amazon’s version of PayPal shut down in 2014.
Amazon Askville Similar to Yahoo Answers and Google Answers, but the service ended in 2013. and the archive of the message board that lived afterward had been taken down as of 2019.
Amazon PayPhrase Amazon customers could create a unique string of words that they would enter every time they wanted to check out quickly. It ended in 2012.
Amazon Auction Amazon’s auction site similar to eBay. It began in 1999 and ended a few years later. Just goes to prove…you can’t win them all.
Amazon tried to start a hot air ballooning business but it never took off