Retail Finance in the Amazon Age

Ramez Toubassy at 2018 CFA Retail panel

Despite some apocalyptic headlines, it's an exciting time for brick and mortar retail.

Ramez Toubassy, President of our Brands group, spoke at the Commercial Finance Association’s Annual Convention last week, on the “Retail Finance in the Internet Amazon Age” panel. Fellow panelists included Daniel Fiorillo, Otterbourg P.C; Christa Hart, FTI Consulting; and Lynn Whitmore, Wells Fargo Capital Finance. It was moderated by Irene Marks, Wells Fargo Corporate Banking. The conversation focused on lenders navigating the changing retail space in the age of Amazon.

Ramez discussed innovations taking place and how, despite some apocalyptic headlines, it’s an exciting time for brick and mortar retail. After all, this excitement is part of the reason the e-commerce giant is entering bricks and mortar itself. Whether online or offline, Amazon is setting the standard for modern shopping experiences by delivering across three primary aspects of retail that define success: convenience, personalization, and experimentation.

Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods is just the beginning. While it is expected to revolutionize the online grocery business, it also enhances Amazon’s existing model with the introduction of cross-channel discounting, order-pick up options, and using the Whole Foods footprint to support fulfillment operations.  Amazon is also foraying into traditional retail with Amazon Go, the new cashier-less convenience shop, and its brick-and-mortar bookshop model, which mirrors the online experience – hyper localized and personalized to different buyers.

The lessons of the Amazon Age go beyond Amazon itself, too. Other retailers that are going above and beyond to create the ultimate shopper experience include Nordstrom, with same day and free shipping, convenient order pick-up outside store hours, and inventory-less store concepts. While the future will inevitably bring change to the industry, the Amazon Age holds great potential and excitement for retailers and consumers alike.