Sunday, December 06, 2009

Amazon's secet plan: Time to dust off 'clicks and mortar'

The Sunday Times is claiming this morning that Amazon are looking to open shops in the UK:

One source familiar with Amazon’s proposals said: “When Amazon was just selling books and CDs that fitted easily through the letterbox it was fine to be a web-only business, but now it has branched out into everything from children’s bikes to electricals it believes it could boost sales by having stores that offer a collection point for shoppers. It will probably be an Argos-style operation.”

By "Argos-style operation" you hope the source doesn't mean "combining the experience of queuing to buy train tickets in a busy branch-line station with the atmosphere of claiming Income Support in an area of high unemployment during the mid 1980s".

There's a degree of common sense about this, until you remember the reason why everyone likes Amazon is because it doesn't involve shuffling through a shop and having to force an assistant to help you. You do wonder if the idea is to allow customers to have somewhere to pick up stuff, why don't they just do a deal with a company that already has a national network of shops. The Post Office, perhaps - or how about seeing Lloyds Banking Group would like to do something useful in return for a small fee?