Why can’t more retailers execute like Amazon?

Today’s RetailWire discussion centers on brick-and-mortar retailers whose e-commerce sites struggle to execute at the level of Amazon. In particular, the simple act of shipping the right goods on a timely basis in usable condition seems to be easier said than done. Here’s my point of view, based partly on my own recent experience:

We all have similar stories about brick-and-mortar chains who simply don’t execute well on their websites. My recent example involves a large national department store chain whose struggles over the last 18 months have been well-documented. I ordered an area rug…they shipped the wrong rug…I returned the rug to a local store and reordered it…they shipped the wrong rug again…I canceled the order.

In this case, the item was shipped from a vendor, not from the company’s own distribution center, and I believe a lot of these problems occur because of the second-rate logistical management of the retailers’ “partners.” Amazon uses a lot of second-party shippers but appears to be equally scrupulous about its own execution and its suppliers’ execution. Its aggressive expansion of its own distribution network is another key advantage, compared to “omnichannel” retailers trying to cut corners.


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