business news in context, analysis with attitude

• The ninth annual State of Retailing Online study from, conducted by Forrester Research, suggests that online sales continue to grow at a rate of between 20 percent and 25 percent a year, as is expected to reach (including travel expenditures) $211.4 billion in 2006. This is twice the level of online sales just three years ago.

Scott Silverman, executive director of, a division of the National Retail Federation, says that multi-channel retailing is becoming more the norm. “Retailers rely on their websites not only to sell merchandise, but also to increase sales at their stores. By encouraging different channels to work together instead of in isolation, everybody wins.”

In addition, Silverman says, more than a third of the customers who shop a brick-and-mortar retailer’s website tend to be new customers to the business.

• announced yesterday the “grand opening of its new Toy and Baby Stores, which feature tens of thousands of products, including hard to-find items from specialty retailers. This is the largest selection of Toy and Baby products ever offered through and for the first time, Toy and Baby products are eligible for Free Super Saver Shipping and Amazon Prime, enabling customers to save even more on their purchases.”
KC's View:
Here’s why this last story is important.

A couple orders the book “What To Expect When You’re Expecting” from Amazon (at a 40 percent discount, by the way). Amazon then knows that it can send this couple not just notes about baby products, but also baby food and diapers (thorough its new grocery section). And age appropriate toys. For the couple with a new baby, struggling with all sorts of new time constraints and pressures, this will be a dream come true. And it comes with discounts.

Amazon can even time it right and send them a note about books on saving for college…

Like we said, a dream come true. And it is all because Amazon may end up knowing its customers - in basic, fundamental ways – better than the so-called local retailer down the street or around the corner.

This is called a wake up call, folks.