Amazon may be showing us The Future of Retail

imageYou may have seen that Amazon is opening a Brick and Mortar store. This could be an early vision of what will become The Future of Retail.

Where Bricks and Mortar meet Bricks and Clicks. You can read more about it in Jacob Demmitt’s article on GeekWire.

The Perfect Ending

Imagine all the information we share about ourselves, our interests, our favorite authors, our favorite books, videos and CD’s. Imagine, giving permission to Amazon (and others) to mine that data and provide “The Perfect Recommendation” for our next book, CD, movie, etc.. Then, with that recommendation in mind … provide information to a beacon within the store to take us the place where we can … find it, touch it, buy it.

Would you be interested or offended?

The fact is … they already have the data. Very much like with our credit card companies they are mining it whether we want them to or not. We might as well get in to the Emperor's New Groove and allow them to take us on a journey.

To me … this is The Future of Retail.

Amazon is ahead of the curve at showing there is no Bricks vs. Clicks.

Evolutionary Capitalism

I see this as Evolutionary Capitalism – where Amazon is taking on the next logical step in the evolutionary chain of events they started 20 years ago.

Some may call this Predatory Capitalism (and indeed a few of the folks I’ve traded notes with on Twitter and Facebook has outright said so). And, in a lot of senses it is. However, there have been countless business that have done similar acts over the years. It doesn’t make it right, and I fully expect a lawsuit and some fauxtrage on Capitol Hill, before this is all said and done.

First ... Amazon disrupted the brick & mortar world. Effectively killing off the dinosaurs. I know this is a harsh term and a rough way to describe the businesses of yesteryear. But, the fact is … they had their run. Their meteor impact was the rush to the internet and the rush of people buying things on the internet and having them show up at their door.

Of course, with Amazon Prime they upped the game again with FREE 2nd Day Shipping.

Next, they are using this “disrupted” landscape as a springboard to launch a new business model. I envision with some of the things Amazon has developed over the past decade (Echo, Kindle, Fire Stick, Amazon Orginal TV shows, and in the future Amazon PrimeAir (aka Drone Shipping and more).

The end result is yet to be written. This is an experiment. A bold one, but an experiment nonetheless. A few questions I wonder about are:

  • Can Amazon succeed where others couldn’t?
  • Will their massive amounts of data allow them to tailor an experience that meets the needs of the buying public?
  • Will Amazon be able to support a brick and mortar model on clickstream pricing?


Showcase For Amazon & Friends

I see this as a showcase for what could be the "Retail of the Future" --- where bricks, clicks and data slicks are mined for maximal revenue as well as community engagement.

Feels like a really interesting test lab. Given the data that Amazon has, should be fascinating. I wonder if you can log in and get a map on your phone to recommended books in the store? ~Buzz Bruggeman

I expect Amazon to showcase their own products initially and as they get the model down open up to showroom for “friendly” partners. The possibilities are wide open for what could be a friendly partner. I envision a Costco like experience where seasonal and regional offerings can be displayed.

Beacons Be Here

I didn’t see any beacons … yet! However, I can envision they can fill a niche very soon. For all I know Amazon was tracking my mobile device and my movements. They wouldn’t be the first company to do this. However, depending upon how Amazon plays this out there could be some interesting interactions. Based on the permissions I have provided and what Amazon knows about me (and you and the millions of other customers of Amazon, Amazon Prime, etc.) they can offer me specific offers that will Exactly Meet My Needs.

I can envision companies like VMob and Orckestra working with Amazon to increase familiarity, personalization and socialization with the data I offered up about my preferences. As I wrote about here --- “In the Opt-In Economy you’ll be Dropping Beacons Everywhere

Staffed Up and Ready to Sell

On my fist visit (which was on the 3rd day they were open) I noticed a lot of Amazon staffers. Which was to be expected. They want to make sure they get everything working. I also noticed a lot, and I mean A LOT, of patrons. People seem to really want to check it out and see what the new Amazon Store is all about.

Overall I was impressed. The store looks great. The walk thru traffic looks happy. The staff is engaging. I don’t know where this will end up, but I know I will be watching.

What do you think?

  • Will you patronize the Amazon Bookstore?
  • Do you think this is a good idea?
  • Is this The Future of Retail?

Drop a comment here and let’s get a dialogue started.

Image Credit: GeekWire and Jacob Demmitt


Jeff is an expert in the Enterprise Content Management industry. He brings over 20 years of Channel Sales, Partner Marketing and Alliance expertise to audiences around the world in speaking engagements and via his writing. He has worked for Microsoft, Kodak, and K2. He is currently the consulting with Microsoft and partners to drive Community Engagement and Alliances.

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@jshuey or connect on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Google+ He is active in the Microsoft Partner Community and is the co-founder and President of the IAMCP Seattle chapter.

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