Can Anyone Contend with Amazon?

Walmart is among recent large retailers to try. @WalmartLabs is expanding its presence in Silicon Valley, trying to make itself attractive to local tech talent so as to catch up in e-commerce.

Big players in retail have tried to take on Amazon many times. In July, Overstock.com declared a book price war with Amazon, which fizzled away (though perhaps did not disappear) a few weeks later. Staples was recently testing a price matching ad that mentioned Amazon directly. No one, thus far, has been successful.

Is this because competitors are trying to adapt previously existing retail structures to challenge Amazon’s online-first model? Some would say yes. A recent Slate article argues that Walmart will probably fail because of, not in spite of, their success in physical retail: “the existence of a large and successful pre-existing business in a related field of endeavor is actually a huge handicap.”