A Spokane e-commerce company, Green Cupboards, shows up on page 304 of the recent book, "The Everything Store," by Brad Stone. The book is subtitled: "Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon" and it describes pretty effectively how Bezos evolved the online site from a bookseller to a company that practically sells anything.
Like many other competitive online retailers, the Spokane company is willing to share revenue by selling items through Amazon's Marketplace system. When sales happen, Amazon takes a share.
The book was written before Green Cupboards switched its business name to Etailz. The private firm operates out of the McKinstry building near downtown. Here's the section in the book:
Even sellers who thrive in Amazon's Marketplace tend to regard it warily.
Green Cupboards, a seller of environmentally responsible products, like eco-friendly laundry detergents and pet supplies, has built a 60-person company almost entirely via Amazon, despite the fact that founder Josh Neblett says that Marketplace enables "a race to zero."
His company is constantly competing with other sellers and with Amazon's own retail organization for the lowest possible price and to capture the "buy box" -- to be the default seller of a particular product on the site.
That furious price competition tends to drive prices down and eliminate profit margin. As a result Green Cupboards has had to get more Amazon-like to survive. Neblett says the company has gotten better at sourcing hot new products, locking up exclusives, and building a lean organization.
"I've always just considered it a game and we're figuring out how best to play it," he says.