In this week’s Tech.pinions podcast Ben Bajarin and Bob O’Donnell chat about the announcements from Microsoft’s WinHEC conference, the launch of Amazon’s innovative Go retail store, and Apple’s interest in getting movies on iTunes shortly after their theatrical releases.
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3 thoughts on “Podcast: Microsoft WinHEC, Amazon Go, Apple Movies”
Amazon Go introduces a big difference between the past and now: in the past, Amazon was pushing online shopping, so to compete online, physical stores had to get into unfamiliar territory. But now when Amazon sets up physical stores with Go, Amazon is the one going into unfamiliar territory, and the physical stores have been operating their kind of business forever.
So is there any reason Amazon’s retail-store competitors can’t bring out their own version of Amazon’s Go stores? If they’re willing to embrace new technology, I don’t see why they must be helplessly stomped on by Amazon.
One issue that Amazon’s retail-store competitors might have is that not all people will have smartphones with Amazon’s software installed. If you have on the one hand, people shopping in an Amazon Go-ish way, and on the other hand, people doing it the old way, how can you make sure that everybody will pay? There will be additional complexity which might bring the whole concept down.
Having said that, I think there are many other ways how retails stores could innovate. I also think that the benefits that Amazon Go provides are marginal and are not as groundbreaking as, for example, automated vending machines (which completely changes the investment required to open a store) or drive-through fast-food.
I think that the way Amazon can be sure everybody will pay is that if they start to leave the store without having scanned the app when they came in, the store won’t know who to charge, and therefore will prevent them from leaving until they do know.
For some people, not having to wait in checkout lines will be a large benefit, not a marginal one – especially on weekends when stores are crowded.