Can Amazon Put Brick and Mortar Retail Back Together Again?
Jeff Bezos, speaking to Charlie Rose on CBS, discussed the issue. In the process, he proved why he is, by leaps and bounds, the best CEO in the world, right alongside Howard Schultz at Starbucks (SBUX) .
Watch this. It is simply fantastic stuff (with respect to CBS, you might have to sit through a 30-second commercial, but it's well worth it):
If your first reaction was Wait a minute, the Kindle Fire is a 'me, too' product , you really don't understand Amazon. Sadly, I might not be able to save you, but I'll try.
If 100 companies are doing something and you're the 101st, you're not really bringing any value to society .
Couple this with the strategy of aggressive spending to seize massive opportunity and, again, with the exception of Starbucks , there is not another company, across industries, doing anything even as close to entrepreneurial, innovative and exciting as Amazon.
Plenty of companies with limited resources, relative to Amazon and Starbucks, are taking similar chances, but it's a different ball game. Very few giants and blue-chips take this approach. They park money overseas, hem and haw about political gridlock and produce uninspiring copycats of what everybody else is already doing. That's not money well spent.
So, we know that Amazon took the $3 billion bond because it's a great environment to do it in. It's relatively cheap debt and the company has so many different directions it can go in to get a solid ROI from the move.
It will work on Amazon Web Services. It's dropping serious cash on a new headquarters building. Of course, Jeff Bezos is probably frightened by Netflix (NFLX) CEO Reed Hastings' strong words ( via All Things D ) so he needs extra cash to spend on digital content.
There's little doubt in most people's minds that, as it exponentially expands its fulfillment capacity in and around major urban centers, Amazon will shoot for same-day delivery.
That brings us to the possibility of physical retail.
Amazon already tests something like same-day delivery in select cities across the U.S. -- Amazon Locker . For some items you have the option at checkout to pick up your items at a location somewhere in your city.
These two concepts -- same-day delivery and Amazon Locker -- could naturally lead to at least a handful of brick and mortar outlets.
From a branding standpoint, it makes sense to have a store in Seattle, Manhattan, downtown San Francisco and somewhere in Southern California. However, as Bezos said -- and this is why I love him -- it makes no sense to do brick and mortar merely for the sake of doing it.