retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon.com is working on a major site redesign that “should be easier to use with a tablet computer.

According to the story, “The revamped site, which will be rolled out gradually, is less cluttered and has more white space and fewer buttons.” The redesign also reportedly “emphasizes digital goods, like e-books, music, video and software, over such physical goods as toys, clothing and sports equipment.”

The timing is said to be focused on an expected introduction by Amazon of its own tablet computer, designed to compete with Apple’s iPad and provide a more comprehensive experience that its Kindle. “The redesign also marks a shift toward Amazon giving its own digital products more prominence over products from other companies,” according to the story.

There also is another intriguing report circulating on the internet that Amazon plans to begin testing what is being called an “experimental delivery locker” at at least one 7-Eleven store in Seattle; it will have 40 drawers that can handle envelopes and packages of varying sizes, and customers choosing this option will be given a code number allowing them to access specific drawers for a period of time - they’ll be able to place an order with Amazon and then, conceivably, pick up their products on the way home from work.
KC's View:
What Amazon is doing is what every retailer should do - as much as possible, control the entire supply chain and turn it into a differential advantage, and offer as much exclusive merchandise and as an exclusive an experience as possible.

These also are interesting innovations because they further presage the coming (and, I suspect, epic) battle between Walmart and Amazon. After all, Walmart continues to make moves in the digital space suggesting that it is doubling down on its digital commitment, and it also wants to use its small stores as delivery depots for products ordered from its website.

And so the question remains - how will other retailers be competitive in an environment where an Amazon-Walmart battle dominates much of the landscape?