Wal-Mart of the Internet - Macleans.ca

Wal-Mart of the Internet

Soon Amazon’s sale of “other” merchandise will outstrip its media sales


Fifteen years after Jeff Bezos founded the company as an online bookstore, Amazon is set to cross a significant threshold. Sometime later this year, if current trends continue, worldwide sales of media products—the books, movies, and music that Amazon started with—will be surpassed for the first time by sales of other merchandise on the site. (That transition already occurred this year in its North American business.) In other words, in an increasingly Digital Age, Amazon is quickly becoming a general store. Alongside the books and CDs and DVDs are diapers, Legos and power drills, not to mention replacement car clutches and more arcane items like the Jackalope Buck taxidermy mount ($69.97). “Amazon has gone from “that bookstore” in people’s mind to a general online retailer, and that is a great place to be,” said Scot Wingo, chief executive of ChannelAdvisor, an eBay-backed company that helps stores like Wal-Mart and J.C. Penney sell online.

The New York Times

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