Amazon and the Future of Retailing

Amazon isn’t content just to get your online shopping dollars. Now it wants to travel with you, untethered. Amazon’s recently unveiled TextBuyIt lets you buy stuff from the online store with a few keystrokes on any old mobile phone.

The implications here are interesting. Shopping by text message seems clunky, especially in the age of the iPhone, but my guess is that Amazon is trying to build the mobile shopping habit for when everybody has iPhone-caliber browsing abilities at their fingertips. This era likely isn’t far off. This means that folks will be able to walk around their local Barnes & Noble or Best Buy, handle the goods, and then punch up a purchase with Amazon at a better price.

Certainly mobile shopping may represent yet another threat to brick and mortar book retailers, but I suspect the companies that should be really nervous are electronics chains, where the potential savings to be had are much greater. Good bookstores will always be able to offer a pleasant atmosphere and knowledgeable staff that Amazon is unable to match.

created The Millions and is its publisher. He and his family live in New Jersey.

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