Gordon Fan is an MBA2 specializing in marketing and brand management. Prior to Stern, he worked in Cartier’s 5th Ave Mansion Client Experience Team and Retail Innovation Lab, and also served in the Taiwan Military Coast Guard as an event/graphic designer. At Stern, he serves as the Co-President of Luxury Retail Club and President of NYU Buddhism Club. He holds a BFA in Stage Design from NYU Tisch. He loves painting Buddhas and making dance reels!
This summer, I had the opportunity to choose a hybrid-in person option for my Amazon Retail Leadership Development Program Internship! My role was Vendor Manager in the Kitchen Retail Team (Hot Beverages). My summer project was to manage and improve sales, profitability, and customer experience for four high-priced coffee machine vendors: De’Longhi, Jura, Technivorm Moccamaster, and Bunn. I was also responsible for onboarding a new luxury espresso brand, providing a recommended strategy and roadmap to attract luxury kitchen brands, and updating the vendor-facing pitch deck for new potential brands.
A typical day would be filled with weekly check-in meetings with my vendors. In meetings, we would discuss areas of improvement. The main goal for all my vendors was trying to secure ample inventory for Q4 and holiday shopping season. This was challenging, as port congestion issues and COVID-19 outbreaks delayed shipping for products. We had to find the right balance between our forecasted amounts, how much our fulfillment centers can take and how much allocation vendors can give to us. There were a lot of back and forth negotiations.
I would also recommend marketing options that can help brands have more discoverability and visibility on the storefront webpage. Some things to look at weekly were the number of products that were out of stock, gross merchandise sales, NetPPM, bottom line profit margins, and vendor’s confirmation rates. With a vast number of teams in Amazon, you have to know the right people to ask and also depend on internal wikis, pitch decks, and info docs. Finding a strategy also required a lot of information gathering – similar solutions that I would come up with for my strategy might have been started or in the process of being implemented. So it was eye-opening to interview a lot of people from different groups and understand the experiments and research they did to implement new products. My strategy was a combination of creating a separate UX subpage between regular and high-priced kitchen products, adding a pre-sale live chat function for users and refining internal materials for vendor outreach.
At Amazon, we were not required to go to the office, and you could tell very fast that Amazon relies on working virtually. As long as you have your laptop and a double screen, you are all set. Everything is communicated by email, Slack, and Chime (Amazon internal Zoom tool). During the summer, I would frequent the office twice a week either to socialize with other interns and colleagues, enjoy a walk at the Spheres (Amazon Greenhouse Planetarium), or do some painting at the Expressions Lab (art classroom open to all employees to destress).
As a New Yorker, moving from NYC to Seattle for 3 months was quite an experience. Although work was stressful and busy mostly, I was grateful to experience the nature that Seattle has to offer, meet other Sternies at Amazon, and meet other MBA interns! It was fantastic to get to know other interns from other MBA schools, learn about their school’s cultures and the things they’re working on in their team at Amazon. The highlight of my internship was making new friendships and visiting the Olympic and Mount Rainier National Park. I’m glad I made the trip for an amazing Seattle summer!