This is not a post about me — rather, it’s a post about bricks-and-mortar retail. Every day (several times a day), I read about how retailers need to be more like Amazon, catch up to Amazon, beat Amazon, etc.

I disagree. For starters, check out the following chart:


This is like picking a fight with the biggest kid in school while he’s surrounded by his posse. You’re not going to win in a head-to-head matchup, on his terms and his turf.

Of course, brands need to focus on convenience, reliability and value — all of the reasons Amazon Prime has so many fans — no one is saying they don’t! Amazon has succeeded precisely because they have found ways to delight the customer in all of these categories. And yes, much of that is process-driven at Amazon, which retailers will need to attend to also.

I may be in the minority, but I don’t believe it’s the volume of business Amazon does that’s the problem for bricks-and-mortar retailers. Or the speed. Or at-home delivery. It’s that Amazon has a clear idea of who they are as a brand and what they want to offer; they are being themselves (and the best version of themselves, at that).

Instead of scrambling to find an “answer to Amazon,” retailers should be looking for answers in their brand DNA and examining the value they provide the customer to determine what makes them special, and focus on that. The only way to be less vulnerable to competition is to offer something unique and actually be original.

I’m sure Mom would agree.

Alex is a retail specialist working out of the Colliers office in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is a polymath, retired rollergirl and lover of interior design.