In a post-Internet, post-mobile world of one click access, the distribution of products has all but ceased to be the issue. When one of something can be efficiently shipped to anyone, anywhere, the question of where the sale takes place is rapidly becoming moot. In other words, in the long-term, sales of product simply can’t be the primary strategic purpose or metric for the store.

Some of the world’s largest retailers are struggling with this jarring reality already. ‘Stack it high and watch it fly’ has abruptly turned into ‘stack it low and hope it goes’ as big box stores scramble to lower inventories in the face of flat or declining sales. The knee-jerk reaction among some is to simply downsize and marginalize the role of the store. Others are adopting the buzzword of omni-channel – resigning to the idea that all channels now act as one – which I would argue risks oversimplifying what’s really happening.

You see, what’s actually evolving is a new and far more complex role for the store, and online brands like Google, Bonobos and Warby Parker are affirming it, as they each embark on creating their own, branded, physical stores. They along with a growing number of other online pure-plays recognize that in order to ‘fully actualize’ their brands, they need to animate a physical presence and visceral experience for their consumers, not to move products but more critically, to move hearts and minds – to sell the idea, essence and values of the brand – all of which has more traditionally been viewed as the role of media. And therein lies the critical point.

The physical store is becoming media.

The Death of the American Shopping Mall

The Death of the American Shopping Mall

F-commerce might be dead, but Facebook — not Pinterest — still rules social commerce

F-commerce might be dead, but Facebook — not Pinterest — still rules social commerce

Here’s another perk we just heard about: If you don’t need your order in two days, Amazon will sometimes pay you to accept a slower ship time.

So Amazon has now upped the retail ante from free shipping to we-pay-you shipping.

Amazon calculated that a page load slowdown of just 1 second could cost it $1.6 billion in sales each year. Google has calculated that by slowing its search results by just four tenths of a second they could lose 8 million searches per day–meaning they’d serve up many millions fewer online adverts.

1 in 4 people abandons surfing to a website if its page takes longer than four seconds to load.

If Pinterest can keep enough eyeballs on people’s boards, those pins can functions as a more powerful and permanent recommendation than will my Facebook newsfeed’s transient mentions of what I listened to on Spotify or what brand of coffee I liked today.