retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Just another day in the life of e-commerce giants...

The Washington Post frames the story this way:

"The battle for online shoppers intensified Thursday as several leading tech giants announced moves to lure consumers into their virtual malls.

"In the morning, Amazon said members of its Prime program in select cities will have access to free, same-day delivery on certain items, a move that broadens the subscription service as new players are poised to provide fresh competition online.

"In the afternoon, Google introduced 'Android Pay,' which will allow users to pay for items by waving their smartphones in front of a scanner at cash registers. And at its developer’s conference in San Francisco, the search giant announced it would add a 'buy button' to Web pages that makes it easier to purchase products featured in ads that appear alongside search results.

"Meanwhile, Apple confirmed this week that it would partner with logistics company Postmates to offer same-day delivery of online orders. Apple already offers Apple Pay on its newer iPhones; analysts have said it is the first mobile payment system to gain traction with consumers."

It also was interesting yesterday to see the Fortune story in which Target CEO Brian Cornell "came close" to thanking Amazon for waking up traditional retailers to the fundamental ways in which people's shopping habits are changing. "We almost need to say thank you to Amazon. They have taught the American consumer to shop online, but they don’t own that relationship,” he said at a Re/code conference.
KC's View:
As I said above, just another day...

I would expect that we're going to have a lot of these days in the near future, as competition becomes more intense. The Post story didn't even talk about Amazon's new private label grocery initiative, or Walmart's creation of a program to rival Amazon Prime.

Retailers are going to have a choice. Compete or not. There is no such thing as business as usual.

It seems to me that retailers need to find ways to offer e-commerce services that will at least make them competitive with all these new offerings, plus work to make their stores as compelling and experiential and differentiated as possible. If they don't, they'll be collateral damage. Or roadkill.