Can E-Tailers Deliver Instant Gratification?

One advantage a retailer such as Barnes & Noble has over Amazon is that there’s no wait time. You can spend 10 minutes in a Barnes & Noble and walk out with the latest bestselling Thomas Jefferson biography. And start reading it on the bus ride home.

Even if you’re an online shopper, brick-and-mortar has its advantages. Barnes & Noble, Target, and many other retailers allow online shoppers to pick up merchandise in the store. I recently tested this with Barnes & Noble and got a text message within 10 minutes of placing the order online that the book was ready for pickup.

This so-called omnichannel approach to selling products has been getting a lot of attention as it seems like one area where traditional retailers have a major advantage over web-only retailers.

Not surprisingly, Amazon is trying its hardest to salve all pain points associated with buying online. Amazon offers same-day delivery in several areas. And this week it announced it will expand its locker program. The locker program allows Amazon customers to pick up purchases at, say, their neighborhood 7-Eleven or Radio Shack. Customers get an access code to open the locker and don’t have to worry about missing the FedEx guy.

You can read more about Amazon’s locker rollout at

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