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Our expert voices conversation about the death of retail.

Amazon has well over 500 million products for sale. Walmart, Amazon's next nearest competitor, hopes to be selling 200 million products by 2020. By then, Amazon may well have 1 billion products for sale.

Absent wide-scale missteps on its part, Amazon is unstoppable. It and its myriad of e-commerce cohorts will continue to grow meteorically, entirely at the expense of traditional brick and mortar retail. But they will not "wipe out" physical shopping, for these reasons:

  • Consumers need to possess and/or be willing to use a credit card to participate in e-commerce. The cash consumer will likely remain tethered to physical stores.
  • Consumers who are unable or unwilling to receive package deliveries to their home or place of work will likely remain tethered to physical stores.
  • Consumers will always have a discernable affinity for "touching, feeling and trying" things that they intend to acquire. That's not to say that many customers appear hesitant to shop "sight unseen" via the internet. But some will shun shopping in that way.

Bottom line: E-commerce enterprises will eventually have to trade off future potential volume growth against substantial shipping costs and the extraordinary costs of dealing with exorbitant customer returns, which e-commerce enterprises are burdened with in contrast with brick and mortar stores.

Other voices in the conversation:

Go deeper

Biden calls Fox News reporter a "stupid son of a b---h" on hot mic

President Biden blasted Fox News' Peter Doocy on Monday after the reporter asked if the nation's soaring inflation is a political liability, saying, "what a stupid son of a b----h."

Driving the news: The Biden administration has faced rising inflation rates over recent months, which it has labeled as "transitory."

Hope King, author of Closer
44 mins ago - Economy & Business

Investors reset their compass

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

The endpoints of a stimulus-fueled market are being defined.

Why it matters: Conditions that drove excess pricing in riskier assets are steadily being removed, and big swings in the market like those seen today are inevitable as investors try to adjust to the new landscape.

2 hours ago - World

Soldiers seize power in Burkina Faso as global coup surge continues

Mutinous soldiers in Burkina Faso declared on state television Monday that they had deposed the government, closed the borders and taken control of the country. President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré has reportedly been arrested.

The big picture: This would be the third successful military coup in west Africa in eight months, after juntas took power last year in Guinea and in neighboring Mali.

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