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Revenge of the Bricks & Mortar

By Steve McKeeWednesday, February 20, 2013

Remember a decade or so ago when it was all over for bricks-and-mortar retailers? When companies that weren't dot-coms had no hope of hiring talented employees? When the world of business was forever changed?

Not so fast. True, giant retailers like Best Buy are struggling with the showrooming trend, but in the past decade Apple has rocked the retail world with its stores, Microsoft is trying to follow suit, and now Amazon and Google are getting into the game. amazon-locker

Amazon is battling both petty thieves and massive competitors by installing Amazon Lockers at convenient locations like Rite-Aid and 7-Eleven stores. Small items ordered online are delivered to the lockers on as quick as a same-day basis. And Google has gone public with its plans to sell Google- and Android-branded merchandise through retail stores of its own.

All of this makes perfect sense given the forever-evolving competitive environment. But it's a fascinating dynamic that the more successful an online company is, the more strategic being vertically integrated all the way to the street becomes. After all, no matter what kind of stuff you sell, if it has more than two dimensions it needs to get to your customers somehow (until we all have 3D printers, that is).

Just goes to show you that the more things change, the more they stay the same.


By Steve McKeeWednesday, February 20, 2013

Steve McKee is president of McKee Wallwork + Company, and author of When Growth Stalls and Power Branding. A marketing strategist for nearly three decades, Steve has been published or quoted in many top news outlets and industry publications, and writes a monthly marketing column for Businessweek.com.