A provocative short post from Benedict Evans about how the underlying experiences of different cultural/geographical pockets is shaping online retail:
If you grew up in a small town, and went to Stanford, and then got a job in tech in the South Bay, then you could reach your 30s and be running a large company or part of one, and never in your life have walked past a shop selling something wonderful that you never knew existed. Even in San Francisco that would be pretty easy. That is, living here after living in London, it’s easier to see physical retail as the inefficient end-point to a logistics system, and harder to see it as a curation, discovery and demand generation system. I sometimes wonder how much that difference shapes ecommerce in the Bay Area versus New York and London.
One can also look at Amazon in this light - like Sears Roebuck before it, Amazon lets anyone anywhere buy things that you could previously only get in a big city. But that is not at all the same as letting people shop the way you do in a big city. Buying is not shopping. The challenge is that most of America doesn't live in New York - so how can one take shopping, rather than buying, to the Bay Area?