1 big thing: New retail embraces the old ...
Amazon has reached staggering heights and revolutionized shopping in the U.S. and beyond, but CEO Jeff Bezos still sees a threat: the physical stores he has supposedly vanquished.
Axios' Erica Pandey reports: For all the hoopla around e-commerce, physical stores continue to command some 90% of the retail pie in the U.S. — and will for at least another decade, experts predict. That has left Amazon and other online retailers preparing to set up their own physical stores, with the aim of capturing as much of the remaining pie as they can.
The big picture: Big chains have shuttered stores, but U.S. physical retail is alive and well.
By the numbers:
But the big players in both worlds are betting that the future of retail will be a hybrid of online and offline, pairing the perks of each model. Large Chinese retailers have been at this for years, and now Amazon is embracing the strategy too, opening its third Go store in Seattle earlier this month and planning 3,000 more by 2021.
"You don't get a full picture of your consumer if you're only online or offline." — Alibaba spokesperson Brion Tingler
There is logic to the hybrid strategy. In a physical store, you can touch what you're about to buy and take it home right away. Online, you can order something delivered to your door with a single click.
- New retail gives you some of both: it injects tech into physical stores, and gives online platforms brick-and-mortar homes.
- Shoppers transition seamlessly between both experiences.
An example is the cashier-less corner store, like Amazon Go, where you grab your snacks and just walk out. Machine vision takes care of checkout.
Reality check: Unmanned stores and smart checkout are already mainstream in China. JD.com has 20 unmanned stores, including one abroad in Indonesia. And Alibaba owns and operates 64 futuristic supermarkets.
Go deeper: China's AI-infused corner store of the future