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Is Amazon Killing Retail Or Saving It?

There is one thing Amazon needs that brick-and-mortar retailers already have.

From Toys “R” Us and Sam’s Club, to Sears and Macy’s — our favorite stores are struggling to survive in this Amazon world.

The future of retail may seem bleak for brick-and-mortar stores. But there’s one thing they have that Amazon needs.

First, it was Whole Foods, Now, it’s Best Buy. Amazon, the largest online retailer, has been busy building a physical presence.

“26 percent of the people we polled believe Amazon was going to acquire even more physical stores,” says Michael Harbolt, director of marketing for the market research firm, Pollfish.

amazon package photo
Flickr | drewgstephens

As Amazon gets bigger and bigger, and big box stores get smaller and smaller, Harbolt says people are growing suspicious of Amazon.

“They definitely believed it [Amazon] was going to kill retail,” he explained.

But, brick-and-mortar stores aren’t dead — far from it, in fact.

Last year, online sales made up less than 10 percent of total retail sales in the United States.

“There are a certain categories where people are going to be resistant to going purely online,” Harbolt said. “Groceries is one. And I think TV’s have historically been the same way.”

Think about it: if you’re spending hundreds or thousands of dollars for a new TV, Harbolt says “People who really care about the definition of their televisions, it’s important to see it firsthand.”

A New Partnership

And that’s why Amazon is expanding to physical stores, and, in this case, partnering with Best Buy.

best buy photo
Flickr | JeepersMedia

“I really see it as a win for both sides,” he said.  “Amazon gets broad distribution for their Fire TV and that’s a product that’s really struggled to get adoption since it was released.”

In exchange, Best Buy gets to sell its products on Amazon for the first time.

What’s more, this marriage made in retail heaven could change the way you shop.

When Pollfish asked customers about the Amazon-Best Buy partnership, “83 percent of Americans say they will buy their next TV online.  And I think that’s a seismic shift from where we were even a year ago.”

Harbolt says the Pollfish survey found: 1 in 4 Americans think Best Buy will go bankrupt. With this new partnership with Amazon, that’s hardly the case, proving it may be possible for online and offline retailers to work together.

Written by Stephanie Hockridge for KNXV.

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