When Amazon goes bankrupt, where will your business be?
Amazon may have posted quarterly profits of $2.53bn to the end of June this year, but, like any other business, it's not infallible. Even this retail behemoth has its limitations and there are things it just can't do. At a recent staff meeting, the company's founder, Jeff Bezos, said 'Amazon is not too big to fail ... In fact, I predict one day Amazon will fail. Amazon will go bankrupt." So, even its founder knows the business isn't untouchable. There are chinks in the tech giant's armour, and it's often through these gaps that other retailers can find ways to be competitive, even against such a big player.
what amazon can't do
Such a hot topic is What Amazon Can't Do, that it even has its own hashtag - #WACD. Although there's no doubt that Amazon has set a standard for online retail, where limitations exist, they are pretty significant. We carried out our own research, speaking to over 3,500 online shoppers, and found that consumers are very savvy about the limitations Amazon has.
Surprisingly, some of these limitations are actually in direct contrast to the benefits that Amazon claims to offer consumers. For example, 46% chose not to use Amazon because they could find cheaper pricing elsewhere, indicating that Amazon can't necessarily offer the best value in the market. there are some other areas where Amazon has fallen short of customer expectations, too.
Fulfilment is clearly a key strength for Amazon, and yet not all consumers believe it's the best option. For example, 25% said they felt they could find more convenient delivery options elsewhere than Amazon. For other retailers, offering click and collect, for example, is a simple way to capitalise on this gap in service.
niche ranges and specialist expertise
A quarter of the people we spoke to would not go to Amazon if they were looking for niche products, as more specialist ranges could be found elsewhere. Amazon is a huge, one size fits all solution, so it's no surprise that it can't really do niche very well.
Clearly a big, generic enterprise such as Amazon will require significant investment to personalise service and experience, much more so than a smaller retailer or a high street store. Although Amazon has taken steps towards doing this, 14% would go elsewhere for a more personalised approach.
the in-store experience
As an online-only retailer, Amazon is limited in terms of the experience that it can deliver to customers. 23% of millennials prefer to shop in-store, so there is a significant market of individuals who are looking for something more than the browsing and digital buying that Amazon can offer.
Amazon Prime was once hailed as the world's best loyalty scheme, but many consumers admit to being confused or put off by the way that it is structured. 25% believe other retailers have better and more rewarding loyalty programmes in place, which is something that any retail business can use to compete better with Bezos's vast enterprise.
Despite its meteoric rise to fame, it's clear that Amazon can't do everything - which leaves more space than may have been anticipated for other retailers to fill.
Salmon explored this in its 2018 report into online consumer shopping, The Future Shopper. Our deep dive into the key themes it raised looks more closely at what Amazon can't do, why consumers choose to show elsewhere, and the sectors that are resisting its lure.