Amazon is the biggest online retail store. They sell everything you could think of that is legal to sell, and what they don’t sell, they provide a venue for private sellers. So has this killed the brick and mortar retail store?
Yes and no. Many brick and mortar retailers have been seriously hurt or put under by Amazon. Let’s face it, for some the ability to shop from their home and not schlep out into a store is a great thing. But beyond that, Amazon provides a lot of other services that a brick and mortar retailer hasn’t, and/or can’t. Comparison shopping is available in any store, but Amazon provides reviews from people who have bought and used the item. This can be invaluable in deciding which one to buy. Being as big as they are they also have the ability to leverage that for lower purchasing cost, so that means lower costs for the consumer. That is a big problem that most small retail stores can’t overcome. Some argue that it’s made up for in shipping costs, but sometimes the difference is big enough that shipping isn’t an issue.
The best bet for brick and mortar retailers is to realize that there are some ways they can’t compete with Amazon, but there are others where Amazon can’t compete with them. When was the last time anyone got personal, face to face assistance from Amazon? Or even talked with someone on the phone with them to deal with a customer service issue? That is the best place where the store can outdo the online retailer. Don’t underestimate it. Excellent customer service can inspire a loyalty that will override price considerations.
Amazon does have some areas where they have killed it over brick and mortar stores, but since there is still a lot of healthy retailers out there, they haven’t put them all out of business yet!