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Founded in 1994, Amazon.com began its life as an online book retailer. Finding success in this field, the website soon started offering other products for sale, quickly evolving from just a bookseller into an all-purpose online store. Today, Amazon.com is the top-ranked retailer on the internet, offering everything from groceries to electronics.

The main focus of the Amazon.com website is the shopping experience. A customer begins shopping by either selecting from a broad list of item categories or typing what they are looking for into the site's local search engine. Once the customer finds an item they are interested in, they simply click a button and add it to their online shopping cart. Similar systems are used on countless e-commerce websites, and it should be familiar to users with even minimal experience shopping online.

Unlike websites like eBay, Amazon.com focuses almost entirely on this shopping cart system, as opposed to an auction-based experience; users are essentially buying from a store. However, not all the products offered by Amazon.com are held directly in their own inventory. Reputable third-party merchants may opt to sell their products through Amazon.com; customers gain the peace of mind in dealing with an established and secure system, and Amazon.com benefits by gaining a portion of these profits.

Amazon.com also offers a range of services targeted at their portable e-book reader, the Kindle. Through the website, Kindle owners can instantly download various books to their device for a small fee. While the website's main address is www.amazon.com, other versions of Amazon exist for international customers. For example, www.amazon.co.uk is targeted at buyers in the United Kingdom, and www.amazon.jp focuses on a Japanese market. Each of these websites offers a slightly different inventory depending on the target market.


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