When I first read about Amazon.com delivering online purchases directly into the trunk of your car, I thought they were kidding. Who in their right mind would allow a stranger access to their vehicle in a parking lot? It may not be for everyone, but if you have the right GM vehicle, it’s an option for you. With all the news recently about thieves stealing packages from front porches in broad daylight, they had to do something, right?
To combat vandalism, Amazon added delivery/drop-off boxes at gas stations and 7-Eleven stores to make your pickups more secure. Not convenient enough for you? If your home is equipped with “smart locks” and video, packages can be delivered inside your home. Unfortunately for me, Louie the Labrador would never go for that.
The shopping experience at Amazon.com is unparalleled in the known universe, although Walmart is coming in at a close second. Walmart may be King of the World in retail shopping, with their huge superstores and low prices, but shopping with Amazon.com doesn’t require wearing pants. That’s tough to beat.
Recently, Amazon offered their own version of the one retail transaction I never thought could be accomplished online. This upcoming holiday season, they are selling and delivering live Christmas trees, from 2 to 7 feet tall, right to your door.
One would think that this development would be denounced by the National Christmas Tree Association as just another example of Amazon crushing a competitor. Quite the opposite. Tom O’Connor, the director of the NCTA (yes, even they have a director) said, “We see their entry into the market as offering consumers another option to purchase a real tree to make their Christmas special, better for the environment and support local Christmas tree growers. More options for consumers to purchase a real tree are better for everyone.” Except the trees, of course.
Really? Tell that to the owners of live Christmas Tree businesses, who stand out in the cold for a month on a rented lot. How many families will now alter holiday traditions that have lasted for generations? Let’s see, struggle dressing little Jimmy and Cathy like they are going to Alaska, drive in the snow, spend two hours finding the “perfect” tree, tie it on top of the car, then drag it by yourself through the entire house leaving a trail of needles. Or, select the size and type of tree you want and press “Complete My Order?”
Is there nothing that Amazon can’t conquer if they want to? In 2017, Amazon accounted for an incredible 44% of all US based online revenue. That’s a staggering number when you consider how many different websites people can use to purchase things online. Amazon.com is now worth over 1 trillion dollars (that’s 12 zeros).
One thing online shopping cannot provide, when it comes to clothes shopping, is an in-store dressing room. More than half of online shoppers purchase two or three additional sizes of the same item, then return the ones that don’t fit. Computers can’t duplicate the in-store experience of trying on different sizes and styles, right? Wrong. Amazon owns a company called “Body Labs” that will perform a 3D Body scan for you, which can be used to “try on” the images of the clothes to see how it “fits.”
Amazon’s business plan is to drive every brick-and-mortar store out of business, like the fictional law firm “Engulf and Devour” from Mel Brooks’ Silent Movie. They don’t want you to go to stores, they want you to shop online. Big-box stores, like JCPenney, Macy’s and Sears are all closing their doors, but keeping their online catalogue. Shopping malls are starting to resemble ghost towns. Nobody seems to want to put their shoes on and go shopping anymore.
Only now, Amazon thinks they can get you to do just that. They opened their first brick-and-mortar store in Manhattan, where people can physically shop for items that can also be found on Amazon.com. That means they are so determined to drive the brick-and-mortar stores out of business, they opened their own brick-and-mortar store.
I give up…
Paul DiSclafani, a Massapequa resident, is a 2018 Press Club of Long Island award-winning columnist and an Anton Media Group contributor since 2016.