Amazon on Your High Street

Word on the street (you know, that information super highstreet you have these days) is that amazon are planning on opening brick and mortar stores.  How does this fit in with my previous suggestion that the new opportunity on the high street is the apple store for brands (especially publishers)?

At first, quite well you might think.  Amazon are  a publisher, and have a range of their own products they may wish to support or add value to.  And you’d be right – this might jst about work.  But it isn’t a unified brand like Apple is… so while Amazon might be able to bring author speeches and Kindle Fire support, unless they really go in for the ‘community cafe’ approach I think publishers need to adopt I don’t see it being a rip-roaring success.

Because the products they sell are not the thing that makes Amazon Amazon – so showcasing the products isn’t going to be a big success.  What makes Amazon Amazon is excatly the opposite of products – Amazon doesn’t care about what it sells – Amazon care that it is able to sell lots of everything you might possible need at a better price than everyone else and just as conveniently.  Amazon doesn’t tie the user to the product, it ties the user to the convenience (which is why I’m an Amazon Prime junkie).

So I don’t see an Amazon bookshop – or an Amazon iStore – being a success.  But what if Amzon went down the convenience route.  Right now, I get next day delivery (Prime Junkie, see) But what if I want a book or product right now?  Amazon could handle this… they could buy into out of town shopping park stores and fill them with books – both for browsing and with Argos-like warehousing behind.  Now when I buy a book Amazon could offer me “Pick it up right now from …”.  Moreover, they could also offer “Pick it up this afternoon from …” – which might give me access to a far wider range of books (it would be easier, since Amazon would only have to ship from warehouse to specific shops).

Now add 24 Hour opening, and a place from which I could collect all my amazon deliveries (since some people don’t work in an office where they can easily get all their parcels sent to them), and we have even greater convenience – and even less caring about what the product is they are selling.

Sure they could still use the space to promote their authors and their electrical goods.  Sure, it would certainly be the place you would go to if your Kindle broke.  But it would be Amazon, not Apple.  And for Amazon, being Amazon would – I suspect – be a better bet.



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