Amazon's logistical operations continue to grow with the addition of their first plane, featuring a tail number that is (wait for it) prime. You might ask why Amazon needs to add planes to it existing fleet of trucks, cargo ships and drones (pretty much all that's missing is a train). The answer is that customer experience trumps all. Having its own planes will help Amazon speed up delivery times and grow market share.

The ultimate goal for Amazon's Prime service has got to be that you buy everything from them. There are two ways that Amazon can eliminate the competition - lower prices and a more convenient service. Lower prices come with scale, and are probably the easier objective to achieve. Convenience means having as many products as possible available for delivery to you as quickly as possible, and this means under the surface Amazon needs a massive and highly sophisticated logistics network. Hence the plane.

So what can startups learn from Amazon here?

I think Amazon is a great demonstration of the value of vertically integrated operations and the greater flexibility and agility this provides. Amazon also shows how a well-honed supply chain helps shorten order times and control working capital. This all contributes to a great customer experience (in Amazon's case, cheap products delivered quickly), which leads to customer loyalty.  

New retail startups don't have to pick 'quick & cheap' as their brand message. Quality, fit or unique products may be equally good choices. But startups do need to work out what their message is and communicate it clearly.