With revenues closing in on $16 billion and top-line growth of 27 percent in 2012, Amazon.com is an online retail juggernaut. Since it burst onto the playing field 19 years ago, the one-time bookseller has consistently brought innovation to the market, including Amazon Prime, Amazon Web Services and the Kindle tablet. Last month Amazon Art debuted, offering access to 40,000 works from more than 150 galleries. While financial pundits and industry experts continue to scrutinize Amazon’s actual level of “success” — most recently pointing to a slim 1 percent operating margin and chiding CEO Jeff Bezos for a business strategy that invests heavily in growth, trading away short-term returns for a long-term upside — it’s clear that none of that really matters to shoppers. For the seventh consecutive year, consumers have chosen Amazon.com as their favorite online retailer. More than half of the 5,600 consumers surveyed — 58 percent — cite Amazon.com as the “most preferred online merchant” for both apparel and non-apparel items. The survey, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, indicates that the online retailer is the hands down favorite; it was chosen three times as often as No. 2 Walmart.com (18 percent). “There are a number of things that resonate with shoppers — from the breadth of the assortment to the efficiencies built into the purchasing process, the cross-sell and up-sell merchandising tactics and the value proposition,” says Kim Ann King, chief marketing officer for SiteSpect.
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