The End of Amazon: Retail Prophet Doug Stephens Imagines the Mega-Retailer’s Downfall
Like Wal-Mart before it, Amazon today feels untouchable: a monolithic empire selling us everything from groceries to electronics. Retail Expert Doug Stephens illustrates the parallels between these iconic companies, and explains how, when, and why the e-commerce giant ruling the world today will fail.
In his Business of Fashion article, Doug Stephens writes: “It’s wildly innovative, persistently disruptive and laser-focused on its customers. Its iconic founder is among the richest men in the history of planet earth. Its growth trajectory is so staggering that brands across the spectrum have little choice but to partner with it or suffer the anguish of competing against it. It is feared, admired, even hated, but above all, it is seemingly invincible.”
Stephens is talking about Amazon, but a few years ago, he could have just as easily been describing Wal-Mart. The company’s growth was rapid and seemingly unstoppable, clocking in at over 4,000 retail stores by 2010. Yet, by 2015 Wal-Mart reported its first sales decline in 45 years. The lesson here, says Stephens, is no matter how impenetrable a brand seems, continued success is not guaranteed.
“Ironically, many of the elements that made Walmart so uniquely formidable were also the things that conspired to make it vulnerable to disruptive competitors like Amazon and others,” Stephens writes. The same could be true for Amazon in the next decade. In the article, Stephens explains the factors that currently work to Amazon’s advantage, but that he predicts might one day contribute to its collapse.
You can read the full article here.