What Amazon.coms Holiday Staffing Says About Its Disruption Success

By Markets Fool.com

In this segment from theMarket Foolery podcast, Mark Reeth and Million Dollar Portfolio's Jason Moser consider the ongoing expansion at Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN). The company is boosting its busy season staff expansion by 20% at a time when brick-and-mortar rivals are either holding their headcounts steady or shrinking them entirely -- a clear demonstration of how well Amazon continues to disrupt the traditional retail world.

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A full transcript follows the video.

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This podcast was recorded on Oct. 13, 2016

Mark Reeth: Let's move on to Amazon. Amazon made headlines today. As the holiday season approaches, a lot of retailers out there will hire seasonal workers. Amazon has announced it's going to add 120,000 seasonal positions this year. That's up from 100,000 last year. That growth rate speaks volumes, I think, to how Amazon has been successful about upsetting status quo with those old school retailers. For instance, you look atTargetandMacy's, Target is going to hire 70,000 additional workers in its stores. That's the same as last year. Macy's is going to hire 83,000, that's down from 85,000 last year. Amazon increased its number by 20%. Again, it boggles the mind to think about how much Amazon has disrupted retail, but then you see numbers like this and suddenly it makes a lot of sense. Suddenly, it's all clear.

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Jason Moser: You know, a little bit more than a year ago, we were talking about the fact that Amazon had surpassedWal-Martin market cap. Amazon had become a bigger company by market capitalization than Wal-Mart, which was interesting from a number of different perspectives. One I kind of couldn't get over was the fact that Wal-Mart still does about four times the revenue that Amazon does today. Now, that gap is closing very quickly, but when we were talking about that 14, 15 months ago, all of a sudden Amazon has almost doubled the market cap of Wal-Mart. This is a very good example of that the market is a forward-looking mechanism that we always talk about. The market doesn't care as much about what you've done as it does about what you tell us you're going to do.

When we look at Amazon, for example, we know that every holiday season, Jeff Bezos sees that as nothing but pure opportunity. The estimates for Amazon's revenue for this coming holiday are close to $45 billion in sales. Now, that's about 25% up from last year's numbers. That's right in line with when you're growing your sales at that rapid of a clip, particularly considering what Amazon does, you need to have the staff there to be able to fill that void, packing boxes, shipping stuff out, and all of that.

I think the benefit that Amazon has here is they've always been very clear from the beginning that they want to be the world's most customer-centric company. That seems like an easy thing to say, but as you know, as I know, I think probably anyone out there that has ever worked in customer service in any capacity, customer service is really hard. I mean, it's really hard because you're working with a unique individual every single time. Their situation is unique to them and you want to try to make it the best experience possible for them. Now Amazon is focused on doing this on grand scale. Now, they know that customers really care about a couple of things: low prices and getting that stuff shipped to them as quickly as possibly. Lucky enough for Amazon, they do both of those things really, really well. That's why they staff up so heavily during the holiday season is because you're going to see I think over the course of the next 10 to 20 years, really ...

Again, e-commerce is so young even though it's what we're used to, you think about it, my kids, for example, 10 and 11 years old now, they've never really known a world without e-commerce. I think that ... I like to look at their behavior in a lot of cases and try to sort of see how the investing world may look over the course of the next 10, 20 years and every time I look at them and their behavior, it just screams "buy Amazon, buy Amazon" because they've got a piece of everything, whether it's e-commerce, entertainment, music, cloud computing, and it just keeps on growing. Now, we see they're talking about establishing a little bit more of a physical infrastructure, possible bookstores, and/or convenience stores. It just goes on and on. We go back to talking about how important culture is and leadership and Amazon's success is certainly because of the people that work there, but Jeff Bezos is the man that really has executed on this vision and I think as long as he's around, you've got to really feel pretty good about Amazon's chances.

Jason Moser has no position in any stocks mentioned. Mark Reeth has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon.com. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.