Why Amazon's bricks and mortar bookshop shouldn't surprise us
They say what goes around comes around, and nothing I have seen sums this up better than the news this week that Amazon – famous for sounding the death knell of the traditional bookshop – has opened… a traditional bookshop. In a move the online giant has described as a “physical extension” of its business, the company opened the doors of its Seattle University Village store on Tuesday 3rd November. The shop will stock 5,000 of the online store’s most popular books as well as Amazon’s tech devices.
We are so used to seeing ‘physical’ businesses extending their reach through online channels, that we are shocked to see it moving in the other direction. But boil it down and it actually does represent a logical complementary move for the online retailer.
Amazon dominates the online book market, it has sought growth through adding other product categories to its online store, opening up a market place, developing technology and even tapping into the handicraft market. When a company has so comprehensively exploited its established market it must innovate.
In the same way as traditional retailers started to innovate by adding ecommerce to their websites at the turn of the century, this purely online retailer is now innovating in its own way by moving into ‘bricks and mortar’.
Every business, large or small, will eventually reach a stage where it needs to change and adapt in order to grow. We regularly see clients who tell us that they feel they have taken the business as far as they can. They see the potential, see what it could become, but acknowledge that they are not the right people, or simply don’t have the time/patience, to take it there.
And what happens to companies who fail to adapt? Well you only need to look at Blockbuster, who famously turned down the opportunity to buy Netflix and consequently lost the rental market, to see that. An acquisition, or company sale, can often be just as good for the growth and development of the business as it is for the departing shareholders.