If it weren’t for the fact that I am a regular shopper on Amazon, I think I could easily mistake Jeff Bezos as a commander of armed forces on a mission of total war, and Alexa as his sci-fi super soldier, based on the complaints I am constantly absorbing from talking heads, editorials and other opinion pieces around the nation. The fact that using Amazon is something we do by choice, not force, seems to have gone completely over the heads of many.
Amazon’s success is strongly based on its ability to resolve some important issues we have always had with our shopping centers, malls and even those vigorously defended but oft-unvisited mom-and-pop shops. Going to a store looking for one type of item will net me perhaps 1 to 5 differentiations I can compare and contrast for the purpose of choosing what to spend my money on, but at Amazon I will have so many more that (with the help of filtering to narrow my list of items) I can increase the likelihood that I get exactly what I wanted without having to settle for something less simply because “it’s all they had.”
Amazon’s hours are 24/7, 365 — I don’t need to look up its hours online, call and ask an employee for those hours, or bother to drive up to the too-tiny sign on the door to figure out if it’s a wasted trip for me or not on any particular day.
When the internet began proliferating to the masses and e-commerce was born, we saw tons of articles discussing strategies about how the brick-and-mortar institutions were going to compete: personalization of service, customization of products, etc. For the most part, those organizations failed to implement any of those ideas. The response instead has been to complain about the competition’s success and recruit as many people to their chorus as possible. It is not unlike restaurants complaining about food trucks rather than figuring out what they can offer that food trucks cannot.
What happened to the mantra of adapt and survive? What happened to estimable American ingenuity? And why do we believe we are victims when we are merely seeing the results of our own conscious choices?