Amazon is increasingly venturing offline, and into real world interactions. Why is that? What can all business owners and real estate investors learn from Amazon’s most recent moves?
Giant retailer Amazon has been working on a variety of new physical store and channel concepts. Going offline is a big move for what has been touted as the future of business. So, what is Jeff Bezos enterprise up to now? Why go offline? What does it mean for real estate investors and business owners?
Bold new tests isn’t something new for Amazon. We’ve had the Kindle, Fire phone, and Amazon TV. Then we have the more recent additions of the Amazon Echo for the home, and Prime Now delivery. It’s move into the grocery business could be one of its biggest yet, if it works. However, most notably is the switch from purely online shopping to offline stores.
Being in the home, and being able to serve up products constantly has its obvious perks. For Jeff Bezos the grocery business appears just too huge to pass up on. Despite its tight profit margins, like real estate, it is one of those daily necessities which just isn’t going away.
Although the virtual and reality divide may be closing, it is in part due to the surge of the internet and constant use of devices which is driving some retailers to come offline, and to expand their physical footprint and floor space. Apple is another great example of this.
So far, Amazon has reportedly run into issues with quality, trust, and waste when trying to serve grocery customers over the internet. They still want to touch and feel the product, and getting out to the grocery store is one of the few real world activities many people get to enjoy, besides heading to the office for that wonderful 9-5 every day. The more isolated we become, the more we crave in person interactions and real experiences. Just look at the Black Friday sales coverage from last year. News crews found many people out at the malls who were just there for the experience, but who still planned to do their actual buying online.
In all businesses, including real estate, there are great opportunities for bridging this gap. Yes, you can flip houses online all day. Yet, there are clear advantages, and a lot of fun to be had in connecting with real people and being out there engaging with tangible product too.
Consumer trends over the last few years have driven up the expectation of personalization and customization. Buyers and investors expect products tailored to them. There are lots of options. They want to find one which fits them. For some people that is buying online. For others it is in-person. Some enjoy mixing the two. Coming offline, and diversifying into different mediums provides a way to connect with a larger pool of prospective clients, and making them feel even better about doing business with you.
If even the mighty Amazon cannot afford to sit back and stick to its core offerings, then small businesses and independent entrepreneurs certainly cannot either. So, if you have been fixing and flipping houses for example; you may want to begin to branch out into wholesaling, or rentals, or property management and raising private money. Don’t be stagnant. Keep pushing growth.
One of the big drivers of buying is the rush of satisfaction people get when they make a purchase. If they have two similar options, you can bet they’ll often choose the one which can deliver faster. Amazon definitely gets this.
For investors, business owners, and everyone involved in real estate; Amazon is a great player to watch and learn from. Not everything they try will work or stick, but you’ve got to give them credit for trying. They may also save you a ton in your own experimentation too. In this case; we can see how important real world interactions still are. You can make your money 100% online. You might make more, and find more customers, if you step out from behind the screen now and again too. For those really looking to grow and dominate, Amazon also teaches us to look for ways to deliver faster, to stay flexible and personalize, and that the platform itself will continue to expand to being a great medium to promote through in a variety of ways.
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