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While ecommerce currently has traditional retail wobbling like a fighter subjected to Manny Pacquiao’s left cross, it’s a long way from being knocked out. In fact, the smartestbrick and mortar retailers are counterpunching ecommerce with a few of its own best moves. What’s more, merchants like Amazon who started out strictly online are now blending ecommerce with bricks, which is what you can learn from Amazon Go.
The Future of Retailing?
Touted by many as a seminal paradigm shift in retailing, Amazon Go blends all of the best aspects of ecommerce with the convenience and instant gratification of brick and mortar retail. Offering shopping without cash or checkout stands, the concept leverages the Amazon Go app to allow shoppers to enter the store, take the products they desire and go. The applicationthen aggregates a customer’s purchases and charges bills the appropriate amount to their Amazon Pay account.
The Internet of Things
The model works by leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT) concept. Said simply, IoT connects anything capable of being powered on and off to the internet and to each other. Combining this capability with Amazon’s machine-learning technology enables automatic detectionin the store when products are either taken from, or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual cart. When customers are done shopping, theysimply leave the store. Shortly afterwards, their Amazon account is charged and they are sent a receipt.
One of the main reasons so many people have migrated to ecommerce is the handiness. After all, online shopping can be conducted anywhere an individual has a suitable digital device and WiFi. However, online shoppers have always been forced to wait to get their goods in hand. This is fine with purchases for which one can plan ahead. But when you need something right away, you have toventure outside your home, deal with parking, crowds and wait in long lines. Amazon Go successfully translates the convenience of online shopping to a physical store, while mitigating the drawbacks.
Hybrids Are the Future
More and more, brick and mortar retailers are merging with ecommerce to provide shoppers with the best of both worlds. There may well exist a future in which retailers offering both options will be the dominant players, while those trying to get by with one or the other will be left twisting in the ether.
Yes, the barriers to entry are lower for ecommerce, as you can even use free website themes to establish your store. However, without a physical presence, an online retailer does have to work pretty hard to stay top of mind. SEO efforts, content marketing, social media campaigns, advertising and promotions have to run constantly to attract new customers, while keeping the existing ones engaged. This can require significant resources to sustain.
Meanwhile, brick and mortar locations do have the advantage of serving as advertisements unto themselves. Further, by blending ecommerce into their operating strategies, physical retailers can actually operate within a smaller footprint, offering display models for customer to touch, taste and feel like in an Apple Store, then bringing the sale model out from a warehouse in the back for the customer to take home.
Ultimately, this is what you can learn from Amazon Go; retailers who seamlessly blend bricks with clicks will be the long-term winners in the sales of consumer products. As has been the case since the first retail store opened hundreds of years ago, it all boils down to what provides the best experience for the customer.