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Monday, March 5, 2012

E-bay, Google, Amazon, PayPal:Taking a Page Out of Old-Time Retailers' Notebooks

Could you ever have imagined how things could turn around in the retail world?

I remember the days when Web sites were just getting started and we knew we had to get in on the trend or our little chain of stores in enclosed malls would not be able to compete on an even playing field.

And I've watched as Amazon grew...and grew...and grew.  And was delighted in some respects because it did so much for books (putting aside how it--along with the big-box bookstores--nearly killed independents and how then the proliferation of big-box bookstores hand in hand with Amazon started killing each other off)!

And ta da! Here's the new twist. Amazon and other biggie online types are returning to their roots (and yes, brick-and-mortar stores are their roots!). Apple (of course!) led the way. And they were super successful because they had products that were a delight to look at and feel in the flesh (or the plastic as it were). They had products that benefited from a sales staff and training that could hold our hands as we grew into the Macs, iPhones, iPads, etc.

But now Google and e-bay, and PayPal and Amazon are trying it too. PayPal wants in-store business that now goes to credit cards. E-bay's counting on a convoluted combination of store and online payment to bid on handbags people can feel. Google wants to promote its Chromebook.   And yep, Amazon.

According to Time magazine, Amazon  wants to "showcase Amazon gadget like the Kindle tablet, which in turn could drive sales of digital content.

I feel certain that all of these stores will be architecturally superb. Branded like crazy. And marketed with all the pizazz and bubble of Coke. But Kindle doesn't look like the Mac. And people are more savvy about tech these days and don't need the hand-holding. So unless they take some pages from the books from old-time retailing  (or at least from Apple!), they aren't going...

Oh, yeah. I guess that's exactly what they have in mind. Any retailers out there who want to act as consultants? Or let them read from the minutes of your staff meetings?
Carolyn Howard-Johnson's FRUGAL book for retailers is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques launched at the National Stationery Show at Javits Center. Because she is the author of the multi award-winning how-to books for writers,The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success, retailers will also find essentials of writing for blogs, Web sites, and newsletters on this blog. She is the author of an award-winning novel, This Is the Place; and other fiction and poetry. She blogs on better writing at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor blog. Find her tweeting for retailers at @frugalretailing . If your followers at Twitter would benefit from this blog post, please use this little green widget to let them know about it: