Why Would Amazon Want a Physical Presence?

Over at Quartz, a suggestion that Amazon, which has been making moves toward having physical stores (at present, “lockers” which function like post office boxes where people can pick things up), should buy Radio Shack, which has been faltering in just the way you would expect.

It sounds exciting, but it’s a bad idea.

The reason Radio Shack is faltering is because it can’t compete with Amazon. Who wants to take the trouble to drive somewhere, ask a harried clerk a question he cannot answer, and then pay retail markup for your item when you can just scan through customer recommendations, select your product, and have it delivered from the comfort of your home anywhere you can connect to the internet?

Why would Amazon want to add a high-cost element that undercuts its own effectiveness? So it can sell a small amount of it’s myriad of products from a small-box location?

While I can appreciate the symbolic value of an Internet company taking over a piece of meatspace, adopting Barnes & Noble’s business model doesn’t sound like the recipe for success.


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