After accentuating the divisions between brick-and-mortar merchants and online retailers, Amazon tycoon Jeff Bezos is now blurring those lines.
States are continuing to wrestle how to snag a tax out of book-purchasers in their state shopping on Amazon, although the center of gravity on the issue has shifted, as Amazon itself has publicly endorsed a variety of national online sales tax measures.
Now Bezos has announced a purchase of Whole Foods. He’s been talking about a business model that would make everyday grocers more like Amazon. Details are fuzzy as to how that would work.
Sure, he’s talked about using robots in the Whole Foods warehouse to fetch things for customers. And that may sound a lot quite Amazon using drones to deliver packages. But what happens when people can pick their groceries online and have the neighborhood Whole Foods send a drone with a gallon of milk to your front door?
To further blur the lines between digital and real-world realities, Amazon.com already has five brick-and-mortar bookstores and has plans to open many more. Amazon is often blamed for the demise of face-to-face retail. Yet more than 90 percent of all purchases are made through stores. Ten percent is not nearly enough to keep Bezos from trying to conquer the retail world in other ways, too.
(Photo of Jeff Bezos by David Ryder/Getty Images.)