This Should Get Your Attention: Amazon Opens Its First Brick and Mortar Store

Unfortunately, I didn’t write that just to get your attention. It’s true. You can read all about it in this article.

As you read it, please focus on what it says about Amazon’s goal in having the store. It’s all about gathering and using data, says the author.

Retail today is about getting the right product to the right people at the right place at the right time. There seems to be a consensus around that. It’s also about the omnichannel- letting your customer shop whenever and wherever they want.

Those two aren’t exactly the same thing, though there’s some significant overlap. It’s always been a good idea to get the right product to the right people at the right place and time. In some ways, that’s easier now. In some ways, harder. I guess mostly harder, as what’s “right” changes so much more quickly.

Omnichannel didn’t exist not very long ago- at least not as the sophisticated concept it is now. There was pretty much only brick and mortar.

Taking this approach to the market requires data, the systems to analyze it, flexibility, and logistics. It also takes recognition that customer groups are amorphous, coming and going and changing size and composition very, very quickly. It’s hard to keep up with them.

When you hear brick and mortar focused retailers talk about these issues, they put them in the context of better serving the customer. As the article describes Amazon’s collection and use of data, it feels manipulative. I don’t sense any respect for the customer. To be fair, Amazon didn’t write the article and I imagine they would have phrased it differently. Still, would that attitude be completely surprising in a retailer that wants to sell everything to everybody?

When your target market is everybody, do you have a reason or a need to focus or to know your customer group? I’d say no, and maybe that’s hopeful for retailers who have a more defined market in mind.