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AMAZON HITS THE BRICKS

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Retailing is abuzz with news that Amazon will soon open a Midtown Manhattan store to provide same-day delivery, handle returns and increase their marketing reach to millions of shoppers who pass by that location annually. They’ve successfully deployed large lockers before in metropolitan convenience stores and garages for deliveries and returns but this will be their first full-fledged store, likely to sell Kindles, phones and other Amazon-branded products.

Many people wonder why. I don’t.

Amazon knows that people still want to interact with unfamiliar products before buying them. The Amazon online model has always worked well for music and books but less so for sweaters and cupcakes. They know that people want greater immediacy than next day delivery; that’s why they’re experimenting with drone delivery and other same-day possibilities.

They know that ordering online and picking up in store has been popular at Macy’s, Home Depot, Walmart and others. They also know that online men’s fashion e-tailer Bonobos has found in their first ten stores that customers who order clothing from Bonobos brick-and-mortar stores spend roughly TWICE as much as online shoppers.

Bricks click with shoppers. Bonobos plans to open 40 more stores by 2016. It’ll be interesting to see what Amazon does over the same period.