In her recent post on Quartz, Gina Chon argues that Amazon should just buy RadioShack. Chon postulates that ” instead of setting up lockers at various random locations, Amazon could establish a broad etailing physical presence for dirt cheap with one bold move: It could buy RadioShack.” Two days later, Seth Weintraub of 9to5Google.com posted that Google is in the process of building stand-alone retail stores in the U.S.
Despite the high enthusiasm for etailing, the great majority of shoppers continue to flock to stores (U.S. eCommerce sales accounted for 5.2% of total retail sales in the U.S. in 2012 despite a 15% year-to-year growth). The digital giants understand that. Other major retailers have moved to multi-channel and omni-channel retailing, and now Google and Amazon seem to be doing the same, trying to offer a seamless consumer-experience across all retail channels (brick and mortar, online, mobile, mail-order).
The convergence of retail channels, for etailing and brick-and-mortar customers alike, will have deep impacts on the supply chain. New transport providers, like shutl, understand his and are positioning themselves to vie for a piece of the action.
How will this affect major carriers, and postal operators in particular? Will they be capable of satisfying the expectations of consumers and (r)etailers alike for an agile, rapid, and ubiquitous supply chain? Or will they be left to offer low-margin/low-growth transport and delivery services?