The worlds largest eCommerce site has just opened a brick and mortar store in the suburbs of Seattle, flipping the concept that retail will only survive online on its head.
Amazon has just opened is first Amazon Fresh an online grocery delivery models that now also includes a grocery pick up store for its members. A full on store, the ails are packed with fresh vegetables and fruits where customers who walk in can pick and pay using their account or check out with other payment methods. But what the store offers is for the Prime members who can order online and drive through for the pick up. The service has passed the beta mode and now in operation in just Seattle but could see expanding to other cities like London and Japan where AmazonFresh is available.
Breaking away from a pure online play has been a recent strategy by Jeff Bezos as he finds ways to expand the Amazon experience beyond the internet. Last year Amazon opened its first bookstore while Borders the largest bookstore closed down all its stores, Barnes and Noble resisted shutting down and is now enjoying the resurgence of paperbacks.
We would also see regional eCommerce sites taking a leaf of the Amazon model and open concept or fully stocked retail outlets in the malls here. Xiaomi has made its foray this way with the first store opening in Queensbay Penang, more could follow suit Alibaba…Lazada? Contrary to popular belief, eCommerce is not entirely removing retail business shopping is evolving and retail operators need to find the alchemy to bring more online shoppers to their stores.