In many ways it seems impossible that Amazon has been in business for more than 20 years. Time does fly! During that time, Amazon has been – and continues to be – the largest and most innovative leader in the e-commerce market. You may be surprised to discover the other markets Amazon has not only entered, but is also in the process of redefining and reinventing.

Amazon Grows While Others Struggle

Amazon recently reported a 28 percent jump in sales with a profit of $513 million in its first quarter. The first three months of the year saw a phenomenal $29.1 billion in sales thanks in part to the success of Amazon’s own Kindle and Fire tablet computers as well as the Amazon Echo. And while Amazon grows and begins to open brick-and-mortar retail stores, large retail competitors like Walmart, Macy’s and Sears announce large layoffs and are closing stores.

After the lackluster earnings from Apple and Microsoft recently, it appears that Amazon is bucking the current trend by surging ahead of the competition and many technology giants. However, many of the media outlets reporting on Amazon’s success across the globe fail to understand exactly how and why the company not only achieves continuous growth but also seems to select the best new areas to jump into.

Leaders within the retail industry desperately want to learn the secret to Amazon’s success, but all too often they repeat the same old mistake of paying more attention to the competition than to the forces that are shaping the future.

When leaders do take the time to think about the future, they quickly discover that there is no shortage of trends to review. Let’s face it, there is a long list of companies as well as individuals who either publish their trend list or write a blog stating their top five – and they just keep piling them on. Trends are like ideas – there has never been a shortage. The problem is figuring out which ones to act on. The risk of being wrong can be enormous. And as we have all seen in recent years, not acting can be even worse!

As you can tell from the title of this article, Amazon’s secret success strategy has been to be anticipatory by identifying the Hard Trends that will happen and using them to innovate with the confidence certainty provides. Before going into this powerful strategy in more detail, let’s look at what Amazon is doing that’s invisible to most. I’ll bet it is far more than you realized.

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