Amazon Doesn't Need Bricks And Mortar: They'll Use Someone Else's

from the but-not-buying-in-the-store dept

We've written about people shopping offline, but buying online a few times before (though, the discussion sometimes gets very heated). We've also written about mobile search, and how it will really only make sense when it fits in with what people are doing at the moment, rather than just being a mobile version of internet search. Amazon has combined these ideas and is testing a service in Japan where people can get more info on a product by snapping a camera phone photo of its barcode. While a few others have tried this, the market clout of someone like Amazon.com is likely to get quite a bit of attention. How far is it until they add a snap a photo to buy option to go along with their one-click buying on their website? If you thought people got upset at the idea of you walking around a bookstore and jotting down books to buy online, just imagine how they feel about you actually buying the books online at a different online store while you're still in the competing store?

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  • identicon
    jeremiah, 28 Nov 2004 @ 3:13pm

    Books

    Mike writeth: "If you thought people got upset at the idea of you walking around a bookstore and jotting down books to buy online, just imagine how they feel about you actually buying the books online at a different online store while you're still in the competing store?"

    Having worked for an independent bookstore, I can tell you they simply don't care. Amazon, while ubiquitous in presence, can't compete all that well in-store. I can say this with some authority as I'm the one that installed a kiosk where customers could search Amazon for books/etc that weren't avail in-store. Yes, there were a few cases where somoeone would approach the counter and say "Hey, this book's $5 less on Amazon!" to which the clerks would reply: "Yep! Sure is!"

    And the customer would buy the book at the store....every time. Why? Because Amazon doesn't have cute, nerdy, bespectacled sales clerks to goad you into that extra $5, nor can Amazon give you a free coffee with each purchase. You can't meet up with your friends at Amazon before heading out to the movies, nor can you book Amazon's quaint rear patio for an intimate evening of poetry reading and jazz.

    In a way, Amazon's made it easier for indie booksellers to survive as it's trimmed their prospective customer base enough that it's easy to focus on core customers....because they're the only ones left. People who can be guiled away from a brick'n'mortar for a couple of bucks aren't going to be long-term customers anyway, so it doesn't make sense to expend any effort courting them.

    Indie booksellers will survive by focusing on people who relate to bookstores as anchorpoints for community or a comfortable hangout away from home, because to these people, intangible qualities are more important than knowing that a particular title is $2.39 less online or over at Borders.

    My $.02...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Nov 2004 @ 8:13pm

      Re: Books

      "Oooh look at me I'm a hipster that buys local, I'm so much cooler than you"

      I'm sorry but people that give off this sort of elitist attitude I really want to sock in the face. $5 more for a book? I better be getting a complementary blowjob with that.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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