from the rethinking-commerce dept
This needs to be unpacked in a few ways, but it's such a unique insight that it deserves lots of attention. Many people look at Amazon and think that it's just an "online store," but the reason that Amazon works is not because it took the concept of a store and put it online, but because it has always done things that only the internet allows it to do. That is, from its very early days, Amazon was never just about about being a store in a web browser, but in using the web to do interesting and unique things built on top of a commerce core. Things like online user reviews and recommendations may now seem commonplace, but Amazon revolutionized them. And it added so much convenience that many people now use Amazon product pages as default info pages on a product -- I know I do. To me, Amazon isn't just a store, but it's a database of products and reviews -- and that's what Shirky's getting at in saying it's a "search engine with a warehouse." Of course, the cool thing is that when you start thinking about Amazon in those terms is you realize how much more it can do. Those who think they're retailers are going to keep missing where Amazon is heading unless they start thinking the same way.