Blog Post: Retailers Are Doing Just Fine, Amazon

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Everyone is singing the praises of Jeff Bezos and his brick-and-mortar killer Amazon these days. They released a new and improved Kindle that is arguably the best Android tablet on the market, announced drone delivery and set the Internet on fire, and now will be testing Sunday delivery in some cities.

Some, including this post by GigaOm, seem to think this is one more nail in the coffin of legacy retailers.

On one hand, it’s easy to see why the writer comes to this conclusion. If I can get products to my doorstep on any day of the week, why wouldn’t I put more on my wish list? My wife loves the ease of Christmas shopping online, letting Amazon wrap and ship our family’s presents the past two years. She avoids the lines, and allows her to take care of an important task during the kids’ nap time.

Problem is, I hate shopping online.

As a member of the mobile tech community, please don’t mistake my comments for some sort of lifestyle aloofness. I buy my music, software, movies, books, and sometimes t-shirts. Online shopping helps booking hotels, reserve tables at restaurants and shop for the best prices on cars.

That’s just an incredibly small amount of my shopping pie to be done online.

Apple sells more per square foot than any other retailer in the world, and it’s not because everyone shops online. They provide rich experiences that can’t be mimicked on a web site. It’s not just with my next computing device though. I would never allow a distribution center decide what avocados and tomatoes to send me. I like trying on clothes before I check out, and don’t a hassle on returning them if I change my mind. Certainly, I don’t want to introduce present shopping with my daughter sitting at my desk.

Showrooming caught large brick-and-mortar retailers by surprise, but it was a good thing. While they move slow, they certainly picked up the pace when it came to reducing the bottom line. Best Buy is already matching online prices, and more have started following suit. Changes in overhead are coming to allow for these price-matching strategies, but the survivors will adapt more easily than we think.

As much as we like to jump on the pile on the Internet, we should instead be focusing our efforts on telling legacy retailers what we want. Amazon does not have all of the answers yet, and while the thought of a drone delivering my new Batman tee is cool that won’t be the norm for me even if it does happen. I want great service by people who love helping customers find great products.

Sure, it’s a bit selfish: I need the chance to get out of the house on a weekend.

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