How has Amazon affected the lives of so many people, even those who’ve never used it? I like it. I use Amazon Prime and don’t have to leave home, to buy paper for my printer, a bookshelf, audio gear, or nearly anything. I like the two-day delivery, sometimes one-day, and love the way you can return items without paying the return shipping. But, all that is just me. Some folks don’t like to buy stuff online for a variety of reasons; they’d instead go to the store and see, hold, smell what they’re buying. I like that, too, if the store is well stocked with quality and well staffed with courtesy.
Fact is, many of the stores that people like to go to are changing because of Amazon. Let’s face it. The more people buy things online, the more it hurts brick and mortar businesses, the more malls close, and woefully the more these stores attempt to be like Amazon instead of trying to be different in a way that makes them better than Amazon.
Ever been in the supermarket and have difficulty getting down the aisle because a store employee is blocking your way with an over-sized cart? That’s because the store person is gathering purchases for someone who ordered online from the market that wants to compete with Amazon. But, are they clicking up the wrong tree?
Walmart has an excellent website where you can order anything they sell and then get “free pick up.” That’s right, and they will not charge you to come to pick up the stuff you bought from them. How thoughtful. They are hip enough to recognize the threat from online stores. They are energetic enough to come up with what they feel is the answer. Again, are they using the wrong pick up line?
I’m not suggesting these stores stop offering such internet related services, but to compete for business their emphasis should be on customer service. Face-to-face, helpful, smiling, thoughtful customer service. Not enough retail business take the time or invest resources in customer service training. I can order a can of mixed nuts from Amazon and not worry – if I like the price and know the brand. But, if I want to try something on, or touch a texture, or ask a question, in-store may be the best place. But, unfortunately, it is not always, because the person at the store may not have been trained about the inventory, and is mindless regarding customer service. I went to a pet store recently and found the person who the store claims is a trainer. I asked her about teaching my dog not to jump up on people. She took me directly to the dog toy aisle and tried to sell me a seventeen dollar chew toy. I left the store and got my answer via google. I will continue to buy online, and go to stores, for sure. But, for now, I find it more comfortable sitting in front of the computer than being in a store. Except for buying produce. I like to select my own yams and bananas.