Amazon’s been busy revolutionizing the world of retailing for well over a decade now. So what’s its latest trick? Bricks-and mortar stores.
Yes, you read that right. Amazon’s going into the physical retail game.
What’s behind this seemingly bizarre turn away from 21st century online retailing back to something that seems almost quaint? It’s pretty fundamental, actually. There are many products that consumers find easier to purchase after being able to interact with them physically and personally.
From apparel to electronics to sporting goods, sometimes there’s no substitute for the visceral, sensory experience. Online images, videos, product ratings and customer reviews all have their place, and Amazon doesn’t see those aspects becoming any less important over time.
Indeed, the Amazon store concept builds on all that, attempting to create a multi-channel retailing structure that truly serves the needs to consumers whenever and however they wish.
If what Amazon is developing is “just another” retail shop, it’ll be much ado about nothing. But it’s more likely that Amazon will try to create a retail experience in the manner of an Apple store – creating an environment that has its own special personality and attracts shoppers because of it.
Amazon may generate a good deal of buzz about its newest venture and the novelty of it all. Good for them. But the Amazon initiative also speaks to a more fundamental truth: reminding us that the marketplace is made up of human beings, not machines. People are social … and sometimes we hunger for more than just looking at an image on a computer screen.
If Amazon can successfully integrate its new physical stores concept with its phenomenally successful online retail business, it’ll be another step forward in the creation of truly integrated, multi-channel retailing.
It’s good to see that people are at the center of the model – literally and figuratively.