‘You can’t beat Amazon on their own terms, says Amazon book author

Retailers should avoid trying to “beat Amazon on their own terms“, according to the author of a new book on the ecommerce giant.

They should use this approach to their advantage, admits Natalie Berg, retail analyst, founder of NBK Retail and author of ‘Amazon: how the world’s most relentless retailer will continue to revolutionise commerce,’ and focus on things Amazon can’t do.

Speaking to Tamebay, Natalie Berg starts by acknowledging that the retail ‘playfield’ has been uneven for the high street retailers. Simple factors such as lower tax fees, the rise of online shopping have been adding to Amazon’s list of advantages over physical store retailers. As a result of the marketplace’s success, “retailers are either trying to keep up or distance themselves from Amazon.”

While Amazons boast a lot of “luxuries,” the word Berg uses to describe Amazon’s benefits over retailers, the recognition for being “a force against retail complacency” is deserved.

She describes ‘the Amazon effect’ as a disruptor of the traditional retail. The phrase is often associated with stores closures, but it does the job of forcing retailers to “raise their game” and compete for customers’ attention.

But what advantages do brick-and-mortar retailers have over Amazon? Natalie Berg names three ingredients for a successful trading recipe.

Frictionless experience appears to be the top component. This means, “stripping out checkout points, helping shoppers to find items on shelves and just cutting out the main points of friction.” Simply put, retailers need to eradicate ‘the pain points’ of physical shopping and focus on one-to-one experience with shoppers akin to VIP service.

Second, comes in the experiential part of shopping. Physical stores present a “fantastic opportunity” admits Berg, but it is the experience part over the price tag approach is what she believes would attract customers back to high streets. As she says: Retailers have a chance “to inject a personality and soul into their stores to create a compelling experience that can’t be replicated online.”

Stores won’t just be a place to buy. Shoppers will be able to eat, play and work as well as discover, learn and borrow products.”
-Natalie Berg

Third, is brick-and-mortar stores as a hub for fulfilment. The future of stores will see retailers carving our space for product returns and click-and-collect.

Overall, retailers should focus on their advantages. This means, leveraging their physical space “to replicate the [online] ease, convenience and personalisation that you could only find online.

0 likes0 dislikes


Ok she is correct but I have been listening to this line for years.. People should go to a store to experience the product. Issue the stores offers a poor experience. Many stores simply do not invest in their people who simply have no product knowledge...Samsung rep just admitted to me the other day he did not have a clue...the stores want to get by by paying low wages (staff do not care and are not productive)...and pay lip service to the products they are selling...Many stores like Dixon's are more interested in shoving insurance down your throat than actually selling the TV or other gizmo killing the "experience"....

SAM • 25th January 2019 •

Can't agree more! That is the REAL problem and I simply can't get my head around that B&M companies don't realise this... I can't recall any super positive experiences in retail stores, NONE! If sales reps are not educated, not enthusiastic about the products they sell (usually it is the opposite), why should I pay a premium price? If a 3 minute YouTube video is MORE helpful to me than a conversation with a real person in the store, guess who's fault is that I buy everything online? Stores should be the ones who have the best YouTube channels on the topic (and some do this and are very successful) - they should be the place where all the information is organised, they should write blog posts, do product reviews, offer to test products before purchase etc. etc. When they realise this, things could change. But my guess is that it will be too late anyway and people won't go back to the offline way of doing this when online has so many benefits.

Andrew Minalto • 28th January 2019 •