On the back of great news that the mighty grim reaper of great independent retailers, Amazon have actually opened a bricks and mortar store a sense of guarded euphoria has began to breeze through the world of shopping generally. I say guarded, because it’s a tentative, dip the toe in the water move from Amazon. They’ve only stepped outside the front doors of their Head Quarters, squinting in the sunlight perhaps. But they have opened a store in their home town of Seattle.
Hot on the heels of Apple who have dedicated the last few years cementing a physical presence in our high streets and shopping malls, the penny has finally dropped for Amazon. People actually enjoy shopping. Fundamentally the whole retail experience is precisely that. An experience.
From being dragged wide eyed and often in a state somewhere between terror, amazement and amusement around a town centre as a snotty nosed toddler to buying Xmas presents on your day off many of us actually like shopping. Oh, many of us may indeed protest when our wife is in the changing room trying on the 16th version of the same dress, but secretly we love it. It’s our time, we mix and match it with a coffee, a spot of lunch and a beer. None of which you can do whilst scrolling through an online store.
I’m delighted Amazon and Apple have swallowed their pride and entered the real world. A world where people stop and say hello. A place where men acknowledge each other’s pain outside yet another changing room. A world where I stop and actually engage with a product because the lustre of an object caught my eye. A place where we do what human beings really truly do best, interact with our environment and each other.
The smell of roast chestnuts, the sound of laughter, that dash out of the rain into the nearest bar are all things that stimulate me, engage me and make me happy I’m alive. No amount of surreal virtual or augmented reality in the online world will ever replicate the simple joy of being outside, amongst my fellow human beings. I want to feel stuff, touch things, sense them not simply be told about them by a load of reviews from people I don’t know and whose judgement I probably wouldn’t trust if I did.
So bravo to Amazon, I look forward to seeing you soon on a high street near me. Hopefully a hustling, bustling, thriving one.