I’m not sure if you’ve heard about Amazon’s foray into building real world stores – but as I was thinking about it recently I realized they are creating a whole foods shift.
In the long ago and far away there were grocery stores and there were health food stores. These were two very different things – insert your favorite joke about Tempeh here.
Then along came Whole Foods and they applied the grocery store model to health food. The real compelling feature was that all they had was healthy food, you couldn’t buy the tempting junk there at all. As popularity of this idea exploded the quality of food consumed overall rose and the people they liked it and all was well with the world.
Today you would be hard pressed to find a grocer that didn’t have a health food section – in addition to healthy foods spread throughout the store.
Wondering what all this has to do with the web?
The new Amazon Books stores only carry products that have a rating above 4.5 stars. It’s like health food but for books – no junk, no crap, and lots of help with the products.
I believe this will change the retail industry in the same way whole foods impacted grocery stores.
But more importantly it shows us what the new role of a “merchant” is in today’s world. Whether you sell online or offline or both you – my dear merchant – have become more like a museum curator than the merchandise slingers of old. Identifying the very best products and helping your customers get the most from them is your mission.
Your customers want data, they want help, they want digital service. This is where digital transformation spills back over into society generally and as it does so it becomes invisible – a transparent transactional layer that powers much of what we do and is as result in and of itself most definitely not what we do.
Here’s the bottom line for Internet Entrepreneurs: Digital Transformation is occurring in ways that might surprise you. Consider the impact on your industry and how you can best keep giving your customers amazing service, no matter what that means to them.
In the meantime I think I’m going to go cook a vegetarian stir fry.