Cindy Ruppenthal, Amazon.com's senior control buying manager, explains, "Our customers really tell us what's hot. You can get on anytime to see what our top sellers are."
She attributes this to the sheer number of early adopters shopping online. "For example, we sell MP3s exceptionally well from Creative Labs and Apple," she says, also noting the advent of satellite radio.
"I think our goal is always to have the biggest selection online and part of that challenge is always having the product available to the customer," says Ruppenthal. "We developed an automatic forecasting process," she says, that helps anticipate what products will be the most wanted. The goal, as a result, is to ensure that a product can be delivered overnight.