For many businesses, a core determining factor in their future is the answer to one simple question: Is Amazon a friend or foe?

Digital transformation is permeating every industry, fueled in part in the retail and distribution sectors by Amazon’s rise. Companies who refuse to adapt and recognize their customer’s needs and embrace today’s technology are being out-innovated and risk being wiped off the map completely.

In Oracle NetSuite’s recent webinar Amazon: Friend or Foe, Dirk Beveridge, Founder of UnleashWD, Ian Heller President and Chief Operating Officer at Modern Distribution Management, joined me to discuss how to stay competitive and relevant in today’s Amazon world.

Put your customer first… in ways that nobody else can

From the beginning, Jeff Bezos made it clear that Amazon puts its customers first. “We’re not competitor-obsessed

Make tech the center of your business plan

Research shows that 52 percent of Fortune 500 firms have disappeared since 2000 because they failed to adopt new technology. Tech-forward companies like Amazon, Netflix and Lyft built entirely new value propositions that offered better experiences than the traditional business models they displaced. Investing in technology that’s “good enough” is no longer acceptable. Having up-to-date ERP, web and mobile capabilities is no longer optional. No matter what the future holds, businesses must have state-of-the-art technology to stay competitive. It’s wise to invest in quality tools now.

Imagine how Amazon might beat you

Amazon’s steamroll is threatening entire industries -- not just companies -- and no industry is immune. Take the recent Whole Foods acquisition, for example. It is essential that companies consider Amazon’s future effect on their business now, even if an Amazon infiltration doesn’t currently seem realistic. Going on the offensive and embracing tomorrow’s technology today can buy your company time and market share.

Ultimately, Amazon’s future actions will tell us whether it’s a friend or a foe. In the meantime, borrow Amazon’s business tricks to give your company the upper hand.

Download the Amazon Business Playbook for a deeper evaluation of Amazon’s effect on the distribution industry and advice on how you should respond. Access the Amazon: Friend or Foe webinar recording here.