It’s no secret Amazon has become the go-to e-commerce titan and continues to disrupt multiple industries daily. Estimates say Amazon is pulling billions of dollars from traditional retail stores and maybe (in part) responsible for the recent rapid decline of brick and mortar store sales.
While there is plenty of evidence indicating physical retail is on the decline in favor of the marketplace of convenience ,the simple explanation that Amazon is single-handedly decimating physical retail may not entirely be the case.
There are a number of physical retails stores that are still thriving (and even expanding) despite Amazon’s apparent retail dominance.
Most notably, large-box value stores (think Walmart, Costco, T.J. Maxx, etc.) have continued to thrive despite Amazon competing directly with them. Years of establishing favorable and efficient supply chains keeps these retailers prices competitive enough to stay in the game.
Other physical retail stores that have unique advantages that keep them competitive are home improvement retailers (Home Depot, Lowe’s) , furniture stores (Ikea) and Beauty stores (Sephora, Ulta Beauty).
While consumers can and do buy everything these physical retailers sell on Amazon, these sectors have the added advantage of letting consumers see, touch and try items before purchasing—a staple of traditional retail that Amazon has yet to replicate meaningfully.
More recently, an A.T. Kearney survey indicated that shoppers ages 14-24 overwhelmingly (81%) actually prefer to shop in store vs. online. The obvious irony being that this is the very first generation to have been born with online shopping being a mainstream staple of their culture. The study states mental health being a large driver of this trend, with this age range using “retail therapy” as a way to de-stress from online interactions.
Whether this trend is making any meaningful impact on online vs. in-store purchases has yet to be demonstrated.
While Amazon isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, the right physical retail store selling the right product may have what it takes to thrive in a Amazon ruled retail space.