What will Amazon do next?

By Jeff Smith


When I was in college, and even more so today, there was a need for people to be instantaneously satisfied, cultivated largely by the internet.

With a click of a few buttons, a person can have a new microwave, clothes, or really anything else they would want delivered to their door. I’m talking about online shopping of course. The main website that is a go-to for many online shoppers is Amazon.

The e-commerce giant that started with changing how people buy books has since changed how people buy everything and is even going to transform the way people get groceries.

Earlier this year, a $13.7 billion merger took place between Amazon and Whole Foods Market. The merger might make grocery shopping more interesting. I don’t think there will be much changes in Hill City, but things will look differently in bigger cities.

One of the promises that Amazon made is faster home delivery of groceries. Owning all of the Whole Foods stores also provides Amazon with a way to deliver a more hands-on experience to people. Amazon started AmazonFresh in 2007 which delivers pantry items and produce via packages. But it hasn’t caught on in any major way. People like me like to feel and see the food they are buying to eat. Buying food off the internet seems kind of odd.

Amazon also has AmazonFresh Pickup, which does sound appealing. This is where people can order items they would want and then go to a store in 15 minutes to pick it up. I think this is a good example of what Amazon could do across the country now that it has acquired all of the Whole Foods stores.

When I was talking with a group of friends recently, one of them mentioned how introverts love Amazon because there’s no small talk or introductions before a purchase. As an introvert, I can say that is somewhat true, but I also like a friendly smile from an employee or employees when I go into stores. Sometimes I just like going into the store because I enjoy the presence of people. I will even just stroll down supermarket lanes with nothing specifically needed. I might just be using up time or waiting for something to catch my eye.

I could see the benefit of AmazonFresh Pickup if someone has a strict list of grocery items they stick to every week or for somebody with a busy lifestyle. Businesses no longer just worry about their physical places. Many stores have a 24/7 presence housed in the interwebs of people’s computers. People don’t like to drive to stores that much anymore and people might be more apt to stay up late at night finding items online.

People shop on Amazon because it’s pragmatic.

However, I think a lot of people shop on Sunday or on the weekend for the experience. They like to see the clothes that they are purchasing and see that they are going to fit.

There is a sort of special feeling that one might get when walking around a store or a mall. It’s exciting seeing stores lined with flashy products and people that seem so intent on talking only to you.

I am trying to curb online purchases. I would like to regain that special feeling. I want to make shopping a unique experience for myself again.

According to Doug Stephens, retail expert, Amazon does not want to play in the physical experiences arena. They want to take the friction out of the equation. So if retailers can make the experiences in their stores rich, they can gain an edge.

I agree, customers also need to feel appreciated. Stores should have distinguishable attributes that won’t be found online.

Think about customers and why the product is important, but so is the relationship. I’m somebody who would be terrible at  customer service, but I try to understand people and a large part of my job is building relationships.

When I moved to Hill City I had no idea how many shops there were here. I knew Hill City was built on tourism but I don’t think I realized the magnitude of everything that was here.

It really is a town that is self-contained. There is a grocery store, bank and other stores that are more niche in nature.

There are things here that people can’t find anywhere else. It truly presents itself well.