Brick and mortar retail stores, beware. As Slate recently pointed out, Amazon’s new initiative to provide same-day delivery in many areas is the death knell for those retailers.
Or so it seems.
The advantage retailers have had over Amazon was (more) instant gratification. But, as Slate points out, that advantage is increasingly becoming slimmer. Amazon, which wisely sees itself as a delivery system more than a retailer, is getting better and better at delivery – and has even entered the instant-streaming video arena as well.
If retailers are depending on that instant gratification to stave off Amazon, they will lose. Innovation – and Amazon building distribution centers all over the country – will see to that.
But it doesn’t mean they should throw in their towels. In any category, retail or otherwise, you don’t create preference based on operations. You do it based on brand. If that wasn’t the case, why is Lowe’s Home Improvement doing better than Home Depot, when they each have nearly exact business model and scope of products?
It’s because Lowe’s brand, “Never stop improving,” is a reflection of the customer who becomes a part of that home improvement brand. Recently, Home Depot began making a comeback (under a new CEO), but its “More saving. More Doing.” brand is still about price.
Retailers will continue the fight, but they must remember that “table stakes,” the things you must have (products, operations, store design, etc.) to be a retailer are important but do not create preference or are switching triggers.
The way to beat Amazon, especially for local retailers, is to be more meaningful to audiences than Amazon – and be different from the entire competitive set. That means you can’t copy Walmart or anyone else. You must stand alone with your position, creating as much real estate between you and the competition.
If you do that, then you do more than survive Amazon’s same-day delivery push. You win.