By Tom Erskine, CMO and SVP, Product, One Door
June has been a busy month for Jeff Bezos.
In its ongoing quest to offer one-stop shopping, Amazon announced its acquisition of Whole Foods for $13.7 billion. Brick-and-mortar is not entirely new to Amazon – the retail giant began experimenting with physical locations last year, opening bookstores and the cashier-free Amazon Go concept.
I had the chance to speak with FierceRetail about why Amazon’s apparent focus on brick-and-mortar is something retailers should pay attention to. Amazon is showing that stores matter. Period. Without a physical location, retailers will struggle to meet consumers where they are and deliver experiences that drive sales.
We can officially stop talking about how e-commerce is taking over the retail landscape following this acquisition. As I said to Janelle Nanos at The Boston Globe, there are things that the physical experience delivers which never go away.
With an eye toward the apparel industry as well, Amazon announced the beta launch of Prime Wardrobe. The new addition to the company’s Prime membership targets online players like Stitch Fix and Warby Parker – and of course, Walmart, with its recent acquisition of men’s fashion brand, Bonobos. In Retail Touchpoints I hint to the fact this may lead to a massive change in the retail supply chain.
Long term, it’s easy to imagine a limited number of omnichannel retail supply chains in the U.S. — Walmart and Amazon — and brands “renting space” on those supply chains while maintaining a customer facing presence, as opposed to building and maintaining their own. We’ve seen this happen in other industries, like wireless networks, where a few major players dominate the market, but brands like Cricket, Virgin, Boost, and MetroPCS still attract a different customer. If this kind of consolidation happens in retail, then back-office supply chain investments should take a backseat to focus on investments in technology that help differentiate the customer experience.
No doubt, Amazon is already planning its next move which will keep a spotlight on the industry. I’m anxious to see what Bezos comes up with next.