The following is excerpted from an article entitled The Race Has Just Begun in the current issue of Fast Company magazine. This piece is meticulously researched and beautifully written by J.J. McCorvey.
Amazon has reinvented, disrupted, redefined and renovated the global marketplace. The growth of Amazon, which was founded by CEO, Jeff Bezos, on July 16, 1995 is truly astounding. It has upended the retail world, but Bezos insists it is still “Day One”. He has constantly reminded the public that “we are only at Day One in the development of both the Internet and our retail enterprise.” When asked, “What does the rest of Day One look like?” He pauses to think and then answers, “We’re still asleep on that.”
That’s a big fib. Amazon is a company that is anything but asleep. In fact, it is an army fighting — and winning — the battle. Over the past five years, the retailer has snatched up shoe seller Zappos and Quidsi, the parent of such sites as Diapers.com and Soap.com. Annual sales for Amazon are now a whopping $61 billion.
Retailers and shopping malls have seen sales tank because of Amazon.Circuit City and Best Buy, in particular, have been hit and shopping malls have been hollowed out. Experts predict that 10% of the country’s large malls will close in the next decade.
Are Amazon’s competitors becoming smarter? Yes. For example, Walmart and Macy’s have begun making their stores both places to shop and warehouses from which to ship products.
A REAL STORE DESIGNED FOR THE E-COMMERCE WORLD
(Read this: it’s astounding and truly revolutionary.)
Nadia Shouraboura, formerly Amazon’s VP of global supply chain and fulfillment technology, has created Hointer, a fully automated store run on software algorithms and machinery. It marries digital’s instant gratification with in-store benefits.
STEP 1 – Search
A customer enters the spare store, where there’s only one of every product in view. She pulls up the Hointer app, scans the QR code on a pair of jeans she likes and enters her size.
STEP 2 – Deliver
Within 30 seconds of scanning the code, a pair of jeans in her size travels through a chute and lands in her dressing room. She can scan as many items as she likes.
STEP 3 – Refine
Inside the dressing room, she tries on the jeans, but they’re too baggy. So she chucks them down another chute and selects a smaller size from the app.
STEP 4 – Purchase
The jeans fit! She pays on her phone or swipes her card at a kiosk, and leaves the store with her purchase. No sales clerk necessary.
Like most females, over the age of two, I have routinely suffered at the hands of retail employees who are of little, or no help at all, when one is attempting to buy clothes — even something as basic as a pair of jeans can turn into an exhausting nightmare. But change is in the air.
POP QUIZ: Why did Bezos go with the name Amazon?
It was a question of alphabetizing. He wanted to be ahead of Yahoo.