Much of discretionary spending is influenced by fun factors such as community-driven engagement, inspiring moments, memorable experiences, personalized attention, emotional connection, and more. The truth is there's little of this with Amazon, and this is where brands and retailers can have the most impact to win customers, especially millennials. Technology is enabling richer and more dynamic customer engagement across channels: stores, websites, mobile apps, social media; all of this stands to further connections with consumers and raises the importance of brand as a means to stand out in a vast ecosystem.
Also, with brands moving off the pages of magazines and beyond the boundaries of store walls, they're free to engage with consumers in real time through the context of content (think Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and blogs).
Bottom line: These trends most often direct transactions straight to brands and specialty retailers, and will only continue in popularity.
Other voices in the conversation:
- Mark A. Cohen, professor, Columbia Business School: Amazon is unstoppable
- Stuart Appelbaum, president, retail workers union: Retail won't die, but it will change
- Oscar Yuan, president, Ipsos Strategy3: Amazon spurns Gucci shows
- Joseph B. Fuller, professor, Harvard Business School: People want to see each other face-to-face