retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Forbes reports that Amazon.com may be "gunning to be the store of choice for contractors and the DIY set," a development that is less than optimal for a retail segment that already has been suffering because of the recession's impact on the housing market.

According to the story, Amazon's plan to offer same-day or next-day delivery in many markets "could deliver the death blow to some home improvement retailers. Home Depot, Lowe’s, Menard — is there room for everyone? Probably not ... Amazon’s new online fulfillment goals are set to deal the weaker of the chains a near death blow. Already, Amazon has an advantage in inventory and service. Anyone looking to remodel a bathroom, install new light fixtures or build a deck is likely to do a good amount of online research first. Home Depot and Lowe’s have tutorials and sell product, but once in the store things fall apart. Out of stocks, hard to find sales people and misinformation abounds. Weekend traffic and difficult to maneuver parking lots just add to the inconvenience. The 'need it now' nature of home improvement goods has helped insulate the channel from online predators.

"Until now."
KC's View:
It may be that hardware stores have less to worry about than some segments, simply because they offer a level of consultative services that others do not.

That said, I would urge folks in that business not to take Amazon lightly. it would be a huge mistake. Because Jeff Bezos likes to get up in the morning and challenge expectations and change the competitive landscape.

Plan on defending your turf. And do so by being more aggressive on offense, emphasizing and strengthening your competitive advantages - right now.