Daily Dose of iQ: Amazon Goes Brick-and-Mortar, In Time for the 'Renaissance'

Feb 07, 2012 — Allan Pulga

In a move analysts are calling inspired by Apple, online retail giant Amazon is opening a physical store in its hometown of Seattle very soon, reported Alistair Barr of Reuters (Feb. 6).

"(The new store will) showcase and sell its growing line of gadgets, including the Kindle Fire tablet, industry blog Good E-Reader reported this weekend," wrote Barr.

This isn't the first time a strictly e-commerce company is making a foray into brick-and-mortar: Google Android, eBay and PayPal all opened physical stores in 2011.

So why did Amazon need a physical store?

2011 Wireless Summit speaker Doug Stephens says "Amazon needs stores" for two reasons:

1. To familiarize consumers with the Kindle Fire Experience. "When I try to picture the Kindle Fire experience, nothing comes to mind," Stephens writes. "There is no tangible, sensory or emotional connection to the product at all. And I doubt that I’m alone."
2. The Store is the Ad: "The store is no longer the end of the marketing cycle but rather the beginning – the living, breathing advertisement for the brand and product."

Peter Sheldon: "The Brick-and-Mortar Renaissance"

It's funny when things come full circle. Fifteen years ago, brick-and-mortar retailers were clamoring to open online stores to reach a new, web-connected consumer that shops at all hours of the day and night. Now, the most successful online retailers are moving to the brick-and-mortar space where it all began. But why?

Forrester analyst Peter Sheldon wrote a blog post today about big technological advancements to the brick-and-mortar channel that allow retailers better serve customers. These changes -- where technology and physical retail meet -- are blurring the lines between channels (e-commerce, m-commerce and in-store) to truly offer what is commonly being called an "omnichannel experience."

And the logic behind this technology is the same logic we apply to our XQ Interactive Retail solutions.

"Fixed checkout aisles and cash registers are being replaced by smartphone-wielding store associates who now take the checkout to the customer. Furthermore, the smartphone generation performs self-assisted checkouts directly from their phones while sleek new in-store touch-screens allow them to experience products without opening the box or removing the coat hanger," Sheldon writes.

"Welcome to the brick-and-mortar renaissance."

Topics: Retail Operations, Wireless Trends, Mobile Industry, Customer Experience, e-Commerce

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