02_Amazon

For speeding up the delivery of change.

Amazon introduced same-day shipping in seven major U.S. markets more than three years ago, but the e-commerce giant's significant 2012 expansion of its next-day and same-day delivery services was a jolt: The entire retail industry seemed to realize its power. Late last year, as Amazon's ambitions came into focus, rivals such as Google, eBay, and Walmart could only attempt to catch up, launching modest pilot programs and making investments. Even shipping services UPS, FedEx, and USPS upped their game. Eight moments from Amazon's instant gratification revolution:

3.19.12
Acquires robotics maker Kiva Systems for $775 million. Kiva robots can reduce order-processing time to 20 minutes.

3.27.12
Announces a new warehouse in Jeffersonville, Indiana, near Louisville's airport, an international shipping hub.

4.26.12
Increases spending on fulfillment 51.5% over previous year, to almost $1.3 billion.

5.30.12
Announces two new warehouses in New Jersey to serve the New York metro area's 19 million-plus residents.

7.26.12
Shipping costs as percentage of sales drop; proximity to customers cited as contributing factor.

7.31.12
Silicon Valley press takes notice of 7-Eleven delivery locker service in the Bay Area. (Amazon didn't announce it; expansion was a surprise.)

10.18.12
Opens San Bernardino distribution center to serve more than 21 million in Southern California.

11.6.12
Announces 1.26-million-square-foot warehouse to serve mega-region formed by Dallas, Houston, and Austin.

[Photo By Victoria Ling]

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