Amazon knows the real value of data. Source: Chicago Business

The much-publicized search for Amazon’s second home was never really about finding the right location for the company’s expanding business. Although the company wanted to expand into a city that was favorable to its employees and staff, the process brought in another aspect – data from the 238 cities that applied. This was not the kind of information you can come by anywhere. It was detailed data about some of the biggest metro areas in North America including proprietary details about real estate sites under development in these cities. The company was also able to get data about the labor costs in various cities, the availability of talent locally, and also some of the incentives that these cities were willing to offer in order to attract the e-commerce giant.

Looking for a new headquarters may have provided Amazon with a lot of useful data. Source: Yahoo

Many analysts saw the search for HQ2 as an integral part of a broader corporate strategy designed to crowdsource a variety of important data from North American population centers. For people who know a thing about Amazon, this doesn’t come as a surprise. The company has always designated itself as a data-driven enterprise. The search for HQ2 offered Amazon the best chance to solidify or consolidate what it already knew about these cities. For the 20 metro areas, in particular, that made it to the final list, the data harvesting was crucial. These cities were required to provide additional details after the shortlist was released, and Amazon gladly accepted this info. For instance, the 20 finalists are reported to have offered Amazon propriety details about available local talent, regulations, and even real estate.

This info could inspire Amazon’s future expansion. In fact, we’re starting to see this happen already. The e-commerce giant announced on Tuesday that it will be opening an East Coast Hub in Nashville. The facility will be used for transportation logistics, customer fulfillment, and supply chain activities. The announcement came shortly after reports emerged that Amazon had already settled on two locations for its second home. Whether the decision to open the new hub in Nashville was inspired by the data gathered during the search or not remains to be seen.

A new Amazon building is on the way. Source: Platinum Commercial Holdings

Nashville was part of the 20 cities shortlisted by Amazon. In addition to this, the company did say that it will be using the information gathered during this process to open new locations in the future. However, even cities that were not part of the final shortlist are already getting investments from Amazon. Since the search for the second headquarters started, Amazon has invested in new fulfillment centers in cities like Ottawa, Spokane, and Washington.

It’s very likely too that Amazon might use the info to precisely point out where the best talent is located in the US. The company is experiencing exponential growth at the moment and as it expands its presence into many industries, it will need people to come in and work to fulfill the vision that the company has. It will be much easier to go to this data and look up where these talents are. Although the two cities that were finally chosen will feel they won, at the end of it all it seems that Amazon is the ultimate winner.