For those of us who thought Amazon moved fast by introducing Amazon Prime approximately two months after settling on the idea, that's positively horse and buggy compared to getting FTC and shareholder approval for the Whole Foods acquisition and dropping prices in what will turn out to be less than a week. And for those of you lulled into believing Amazon was going to go slow, surprise, you're competing with Amazon starting now.
At Market Track, we've heard from a surprisingly large number of companies who said they aren't worried about Amazon. To that I'd respectfully offer...you are going-out-of-business wrong.
A quick run-down of companies that know they are competing with Amazon include:
- Google and Walmart know they are competing with Amazon, why else would they enter into what might be seen by many as an unholy union? Google is competing for advertising eyeballs, Walmart for more traditional sales.
- Aldi knows it’s competing with Amazon, recently introducing a new express delivery service.
- FedEx knows its competing with Amazon, launching FedEx Fulfillment, a logistics network for small and medium-sized businesses. And frankly Amazon might be as much of a logistics company as an actual retailer.
- Facebook knows its competing with Amazon, as Amazon pushes further into the digital advertising market.
- Apple is competing with Amazon, as it launches its home hub that takes aim at Amazon Echo and also tries to broaden its ecosystem. Oh, and it’s competing with Amazon for retail sales, and the sale of phone and tablet accessories.
- P&G and Kimberly-Clark, despite Amazon’s initial failure with private label diapers, may soon again find themselves competing to swaddle babies’ bottoms.
The list goes on, but fortunately this listicle does not. If you think you're immune as a convenience store, pet food manufacturer, fast food restaurant or even an advertising agency - think again. When a company is willing to invest in the future the way Amazon is, your old business model is unlikely to lead to prosperity. And the only reason your business doesn’t appear in the above list is I was told I couldn’t write a 300-page article. But it does, you too are competing with Amazon.
But just because you're competing with Amazon doesn't mean you’re going to lose. Compete is a verb, after all. It does mean, however, you need (paraphrasing Apple here) to think and act differently.
All next week on the Market Track blog you're going to read the perspective of five different Market Track experts, each offering their unique take on the potential impact of Amazon moving full speed ahead with the Whole Foods acquisition – what it might mean in the marketplace, and potential competitive responses.
The time for talking is over now, to survive requires bold action, investment and a risk tolerance well beyond the comfort level of most established businesses. Because if you don’t feel the imminent threat from Amazon, you’re probably not paying close enough attention.
Brad Bane is an Executive Vice President with Market Track, a leading provider of marketing and business intelligence. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.