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The Seattle Times has a story about Amazon's Marketplace business, on which more than two million merchants are selling products and gaining access to the enormous number of online shoppers who make Amazon their first option.

The Marketplace, according to the Times, is "helping the tech and retail giant, already the largest online retailer, become also the world’s essential commerce and logistics hub. Amazon takes a cut of their sales and increasingly handles even the storage and shipping of their merchandise."

This week, the Times writes, Amazon is going one step further, gathering 500 of these merchants "in a forum at its downtown Seattle campus where they will be coached on how to grow their businesses, hear about where things are going, and air their hopes and concerns in the presence of Amazon brass."

The story notes that the Marketplace has become an enormous competitive advantage: "Analysts with Piper Jaffray have estimated Amazon’s famously thin operating margins will rise from 1.3 percent in 2014 to more than 5 percent over the next several years, driven in part by Marketplace’s relatively high margins, as well as the growth in the cloud-computing unit and other profitable businesses."
KC's View:
It always has been the position around here that the Marketplace has been and continues to be one of Amazon's great advantages ... especially in the battle with Walmart, which on its website is not nearly as robust. As the Times makes clear, it isn't a perfect system, and not every merchant is happy ... but in a fundamental way, Amazon is changing the ways in which they compete, mostly for the better.