Tuesday, February 3, 2015

You can't do everything in the cloud - Amazon brick-and-mortar stores, courtesy Radio Shack?

Radio Shack, or THE SHACK, or whatever they're calling themselves now, usually induces yawns.

Radio Shack isn't doing well. Yawn.

Radio Shack is considering liquidating its assets, selling some stores to Sprint and closing the rest. Yawn.

Radio Shack is considering selling some stores to Amazon WAIT A MINUTE THERE.


Amazon.com Inc., aiming to bolster its brick-and-mortar operations, has discussed acquiring some RadioShack Corp. locations after the electronics chain files for bankruptcy, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

Amazon has considered using the RadioShack stores as showcases for the Seattle-based company’s hardware...

Now obviously you can't put every Amazon item in a Radio Shack-size store. Heck, you can't put every Amazon item in a Super Walmart-size store. But perhaps you can display some physical items, with kiosks or something to find out about the rest.

...as well as potential pickup and drop-off centers for online customers...

Now THAT'S news.

If you do business with Amazon, or any online company, you end up having to have a personal relationship with some package carrier. Perhaps it's the US Postal Service. Perhaps it's United Parcel Service. Perhaps it's Federal Express. Perhaps it's (shudder) OnTrac.

But what if Amazon were to cut out the middleperson and just let you deal directly with Amazon and not with anybody else?

While Bloomberg emphasizes that none of this may happen - for all we know, Radio Shack may limp along for another decade as is - Bloomberg correctly notes that a brick-and-mortar presence for Amazon could help it compete with companies such as Apple.

So in essence, this would be a defensive move by Amazon. Everyone's trying to catch up with everyone else.
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