It’s probably simplistic to say that Walmart.com wants to be Amazon.com and that Amazon.com would like to have Walmart’s physical presence, but lately it’s been looking that way.
Walmart.com has been testing a small (tiny, actually) store concept that directs shoppers to the internet to make purchases. Amazon, on the other hand, opened a Black Friday deal store this year. Yes, it was actually just a page on its site — no bricks involved — but the move seemed tinged with green (as in envy, not sustainability) as the online giant looked to latch onto a promotional opportunity historically the purview of the physical world.
While there’s little evidence pointing to the likelihood of brick ‘n mortar Amazon stores in the near future, the retailer has been looking to provide, in essence, cross-channel experiences for its customers in some clever ways. For example, in a new collaboration with the ubiquitous c-store chain, Amazon is installing lockers in 7-Eleven stores that will hold delivered goods for pick up by its online customers.
Read more about this in the RetailWire Digest (free to download) here and also covered in this Digest is what one might call the virtualization of the actual. Brick ‘n mortar retailers are exploiting online technology to offer research-before-you-buy options to consumers and other enticements to get them into their stores.