Amazon has won. Now what?
Through a special arrangement, what follows is an excerpt of an article from WayfinD, a quarterly e-magazine filled with insights, trends and predictions from the retail and foodservice experts at WD Partners.
Amazon.com’s growth story — unprecedented, immense, rocket-like (choose your superlative) — does not come with a happy ending for most retailers. In summary, Amazon has won. The bigger problem is, it’s just getting started.
It was early in 2013, over six years ago, when WD Partners’ study, “Amazon Can’t Do That,” arrived. At the time, Amazon’s e-commerce sales were $61 billion in fiscal year 2012 and we warned, “Amazon is not taking over the world. Yet, that is.”
Interviews with 1,700 consumers explored what they wanted out of the store experience, so we might find a way to isolate Amazon’s competitive weaknesses. Consumers talked up the allure of “instant ownership” and the tactile, “touch and feel” rewards of being in a physical space.
This year, Amazon’s e-commerce revenues are projected to reach $483.96 billion. Beyond e-commerce, Amazon has upended everything from cable TV to the advertising industry. Consider three stats: 96.6 million people now watch Prime Video; 47 million talk to an Amazon Echo; 56 million are entertained via Amazon Fire TV.
So, we recently surveyed consumers again, searching for a competitive weakness. The results were stunning, mainly because we were hard-pressed to find one. By almost every measure, Amazon engenders positive consumer sentiment. When we asked, unaided, to name the best retailer, Amazon topped the results handily, beating Walmart out by double-digit points. Asked to name the worst retailer, Walmart was mentioned most often while Amazon garnered mentions from only a few dozen respondents (out of 4,000).
The competitive ground Amazon has covered in less than a decade is massive. That’s why we’re working on a new study, “Amazon Can Do That. Now What?” There is no longer any question as to whether Amazon will dominate e-commerce, grocery, publishing, entertainment and, quite frankly, whatever additional category it someday decides it wants to dominate. Amazon has beat out almost everyone: Target, Kroger, Costco, Lowe’s, Aldi and even Apple. As stated previously, Amazon has won. That makes the only question worth asking anymore: What are you going to do about it?
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Does Amazon have any competitive weaknesses? Do you see any way Amazon’s online dominance will falter or will it take another leap forward in the years ahead?