The Threat of Amazon Stores Looms Overhead
Amazon.com Founder Jeff Bezos received the National Retail Federation's prestigious Gold Medal Award yesterday. This acknowledgement is a big big deal because the NRF's membership base is made up mainly of traditional brick-and-mortar retailers. Amazon has been a game changer in the industry in the past few years and a threat to those very same brick-and-mortar retailers. And now for the first time, an online retailer has claimed the award.
Amazon increased it's presence as a sponser of last spring's Met Gala establishing itself the world of traditional retail and fashion. But despite the acceptance by the NRF, WWD's tone in an article yesterday was anything but amicable:
"Amazon has been a disruptive force for the traditional retail establishment... The e-commerce giant upended the book industry with its Kindle e-reader and created a tablet for games, movies and other products. Amazon has declined to collect sales tax for online sales, angering brick-and-mortar retailers who say the Web giant has created an unlevel playing field."
The article went on to say "Bezos recently said that he's interested in opening physical stores for Amazon, sending an additional chill down traditional retailers' spines."
Bezos gave Charlie Rose an interview in November 2012, where he talked about Amazon opening physical stores, but only if he could figure out the right niche for the company. Here's the actual quote, per Business Insider's transcript of the interview:
"We would love to [open physical stores], but only if we can have a truly differentiated idea.
One of the things that we don't do very well at Amazon is do a me-too product offering. So when I look at physical retail stores, it's very well served. The people who operate physical retail stores are very good at it.
The question we would always ask before we would embark on such a thing is: what's the idea? What would we do that would be different? How would it be better?
We don't want to do things because we can do them. We want to do something because it's going to - we don't want to be redundant."
It remains to be seen whether Amazon will go brick-and-mortar like Piperlime and Bonobos, but one thing seems to be sure: traditional retailers are already freaking out.