Amazon’s Retail Plan Isn’t About Books

What’s up with Amazon opening a store in Manhattan, with hundreds more coming to towns that used to have book stores? 

It has very little to do with books.

It’s funny that Amazon’s “unique” approach to book retailing involves listing bestsellers, displaying gizmos for reading, and displaying book faces instead of spines. There’s a Barnes & Noble in Union Square that does all of those things, even if it does so differently.

Amazon’s bookstore VP said “the purpose of this store is discovery,” which isn’t terribly compelling since the company’s online discovery tools are immense and wildly useful. Discovering the limited stock Amazon chose to put into a geophysical store can’t hold an e-book to what it displays and connects on its website.

I think to understand the bookstore strategy, we need to see a broader access and delivery strategy that includes Amazon’s forays into grocery and purported contemplation of electronics stores, along with its fulfillment centers, same-day delivery, and drone experiments.

Imagine a two-columned chart: The left column is entitled “Purchase Decision,” and it’s filled with different types of transactions, from “Considered” and “repeat,” to “necessity” and “impulse.” The right column is called “Channel,” and it’s filled with the ways Amazon enables those purchase decisions, from “website” or “display store,” to “Amazon Prime” and “subscription.”

Maybe there’s a third column specific to technology, matching delivery mechanisms to each purchase.

The title of the chart is “Data-Enabled Commerce.” It could also be called “World Domination.”

Read the entire essay at Innovation Communicator