Amazon is a “BRICKS AND BLOCKS” Retailer
The choice for Amazon is not between Bricks-and-Mortar or Clicks-and-Crypto, it’s “Bricks AND Blocks”.
The connection between Amazon refunds driving more in-store traffic and the support of a new crypto app is ease of use and lower costs - for both customers and Amazon.
Amazon is solving several pain-points as it double downs on brick-and-mortar at the same time it’s supporting a new crypto payment system.
Amazon is doubling down on its relationship with Kohl’s which began 2 years ago with its customers’ able to make returns at Kohl’s locations in Chicago and Los Angeles. This partnership has since expanded to 1,000+ locations with Kohl’s also carrying Amazon devices in house.
The hope for each company:
Kohl’s gets Amazon’s customers returning online purchases who may be enticed into shopping in stores
Amazon eases a costly pain point by helping customers save time and avoid lines at the post office, while lowering the expense of fulfilling returns.
Amazon’s decision to deepen its relationship with Kohl’s is necessary in part because its own brick-and-mortar efforts are faltering. Sales at the company’s physical stores have barely grown since the 2017 acquisition of Whole Foods, despite highly publicized price cuts on things like organic asparagus and strawberries. With investors asking pointed questions on earnings calls, Amazon is prioritizing Whole Foods and expanding its AmazonGo cashierless stores, according to people familiar with the matter.
Meanwhile at Amazon subsidiary Whole Foods, customers will be able to make their purchases with bitcoin and a few other digital currencies via a startup called “Flexa” and Winklevoss brothers’ company Gemini. Crypto friendly fancy water in a box and locavore organic bites!
Whole Foods, along with other retailers, have agreed to “configure their scanners to recognize payments from its cryptocurrency app, which is called Spedn. The customer simply holds up their app to pay. The store cashier will typically be unaware the customer is paying with crypto, while the merchant receives a real-time payment in the form of their choosing (crypto or dollars).”
A potential win-win for everyone: easier customer use of crypto and lower merchant fees for the retailers.
Other retailers using the Flexa Spedn app include Crate and Barrel, Nordstrom, Regal Cinemas, Gamestop and Baskin Robbins. Spedn will supportbitcoin, bitcoin cash, ethereum and “Gemini Dollar” (a State Street supported stablecoin tied to the US Dollar).
The real retail trend from Amazon’s moves is not the “death of retail” or “end of brick-and-mortar”
This retail trend is another stage in how we’ll shop inside them. Physical stores are not going away but their payment systems will change. Crypto payments will be easier and consumer friendly. Customers can still order through online accounts or they walk into a store location and they won’t have to run a crypto mining node to buy.