“How Amazon is dismantling retail”

That’s the title of this talk by Prof. Scott Galloway.  It’s very interesting, from three different points of view:

  1. What Amazon is doing to the retail sector of the US economy;
  2. Amazon’s impact on the brands that are relied upon by most major manufacturers and distributors;  and –
  3. Amazon’s longer-term implications for us as consumers.

I’ve been warning for some time that the rise of robotics and artificial intelligence threatens many traditional jobs.  Now it’s becoming clear that those fields, applied to retail (as Amazon is doing at breakneck speed), may literally dismantle the supermarket as we know it today.

I highly recommend watching this video clip in full.  It’ll make you think.

You can read an article based on the clip here.  The links it contains to other articles are also worth following.

Peter

11 comments

  1. I do not like videos as a method of obtaining information. In 60 seconds I can read what is presented in a typical 5 minute video format.

    I would prefer transcripts accompanying video presentations to more efficiently use (in this case) the 24 minutes that I cannot get back.

  2. I agree with BFR – unless there's compelling information that can only be presented or best be presented in video form, text is far superior.

    Regarding the article, I rather like the idea of the demise of retail, as long as they can cut delivery times to same-day. The only times I shop retail for items anymore are when I am getting food, when I am doing a home improvement project or repair, or when I absolutely have to have something today.

  3. Just wait until robotics are extended to vegetable harvesting, the building trades, nursing and rehab treatments, and ultimately the industrial writing they do in the legal field.

  4. What concerns me is the potential for abuse. What happens if there is only Amazon and Amazon begins to leverage their power to take away choice. That is the death of competition. As someone who works in a competitive market we are always struggling to take cost out so we remain profitable as market price goes down. Competition keeps us honest and drives us to improve efficiency.

    Price is a signal. Profit determines if you got it right. At some point, people are going to want a profit, especially with that kind of money involved, you can't fight human nature.

    And Windy is right, robots are coming. People are expensive and make mistakes. But that is another topic that Peter addresses from time to time.

  5. Not really interested in watching a video; I too prefer text. But I'm reminded of the great catalogue firms of the early 20th century. Amazon has it good now, but needs to be on its toes against the next revolutionary idea.

  6. Xoph has opined my thoughts….so thinking waaaayy out in left field. Getting your food by mail could be regulated by….the intelligensia, the ruling elite, the socialistic regime?
    I, in my fevered state today, wonder if the government could take over the delivery system and ration out the food supply.

    Steve

  7. Much the same argument has been made against Wal Mart…and yet here we are. So long as the choices are made freely and entry/exit into markets are not artificially encumbered, so be it. If Amazon can make it happen, good for them, but in the history of the US experiment in open markets, so far there has always been someone else better, and usually sooner than later.

  8. I also thought of Wal Mart, but in the context of how leftists must be getting confused. They have maligned and despised WalMart because it has killed off so many smaller competitors and is such a great example of capitalism at work (forgetting how WalMart has more often than not provided low cost merchandise that has improved the quality of life for many on the lower end of the economic spectrum as well as employing large numbers of people). But it's a whipping boy as a big, bad corporation. Now we have Amazon, generally looked upon favorably by many on the left, or certainly not being subject to the same vitriol, but having another huge capitalistic basis. A lot of folks think of them as simply a way to conveniently shop online, but they have the potential to have huge leverage over society, as noted above. Besides controlling distribution of real goods, they also are the dominant player in cloud computing, with about a 40% share, compared to only about 20-25% for Microsoft/IBM/Google COMBINED. Leverage on data may be as impactful as their other types of leverage.

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