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Expert Voices

Amazon is unstoppable

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:

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Trump's "great man" play on North Korea

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

President Trump views the North Korean crisis as his “great man” of history moment.

The big picture: He came into office thinking he could be the historic deal maker to bring peace to the Middle East. He’s stopped talking about that. There’s very little point. The peace deal looks dead and cremated. But Trump wants to sign his name even larger into the history books, and he views North Korea as his moment.