The Amazon logo is seen on a podium duri

Amazon has set out to prove that it can “make it anywhere”, including in a bricks and mortars location in the heart of Manhattan.  Amazon’s embracing of true bricks and clicks omni-channel shopping validates the model further and puts additional pressure on retailers who were just figuring out how to deal with “showrooming” and the rise of etailing.  Interestingly, the store will be built right on 34th Street, across from the Empire State Building in the old Ohrbach’s location and in a prime area to attract shoppers and further build the Amazon brand.  We believe that Amazon’s foray into physical is a harbinger of things to come and there will be more Amazon stores in more cities over the next couple of years.  With distribution centers peppering the landscape and emerging showrooms now popping up in New York City, Amazon’s ability to deliver products just in time (or just really fast) is growing, almost as quickly as their product line.

Amazon’s store will enable the consumer to touch and feel a basket of products that Amazon deems important or most benefited by a bricks a location.  We assume that consumer’s will be able to bring back items to this location and maybe even pick up items from this location – two pillars of omni-channel retailing.  In addition to those two tactics, we’d like to see Amazon really differentiate the shopping experience for the consumer using emerging technology. Amazon has the opportunity to set itself apart by effectively using in store kiosks, tablets and mobile aps to allow the consumer to shop their full-line while in the store.  Amazon the has the opportunity to adequately train its staff to support the omni-channel experience by being the best versed in the industry on their products and to encourage the use of digital tools to expand the cart beyond just what resides within the physical walls.  Amazon has the opportunity to use beacon-like technology to map the store for the consumer on their mobile devices and / or to use augmented reality to enhance product details and visualization of the products.

In total, Amazon has the opportunity to change retail in ways that no other retailers have been able to do by truly becoming the “everything store” – everything in terms of products, customer service, and the effective blending of the physical and digital to change retail.  We are looking forward to Amazon taking advantage of this opportunity to change retail but what will it mean for branded manufacturers?   It certainly means manufacturers need to re-evaluate pricing, marketing assets,sales strategies, MAP and distribution policies, and more to try and actively participate in etail world that no longer has boundaries and brands are more commoditized than ever.  Look at your digital strategy today.

Joe Scartz is the President of Digital BrandWorks

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Channel, Ecommerce, Marketing, Showrooming