By now most of us have figured out that Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) is making a move on brick-and-mortar retailing. The $13.7 billion Amazon spent to acquire Whole Foods may have been a giveaway.
Amazon is also testing a convenience store concept that knows what you’ve bought when you walk out the door and has opened some retail bookstores now that it has cleared the field of some competitors.
In February of 2016 the company also kicked out a promotional ploy called Treasure Truck, wherein the company loads up a truck with selected items and sells the items out of the back of the truck to customers who have been notified by text message of what’s available and who buy an item from the Amazon app and pick it up at the truck.
The Treasure Truck service is available in 11 U.S. cities: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Orlando, San Diego and Seattle. The company also says it is adding new cities “all the time.”
Here is a half-man, half-beast that seems to offer the worst of both. First of all, if you live in one of the Treasure Truck cities you have to sign-up to receive “automated messages (including marketing messages) from Amazon about Treasure Truck.”
Now suppose that you find an item you want in one of those messages. You can order one only and Amazon will let you know where the truck is so that you can go and pick it up. That’s convenient.
Rather than having a store in a fixed location, Amazon parks this truck somewhere in your city and you have to go find it to pick up your purchase. Maybe that appeals to people with a lot of time on their hands or who relish a scavenger hunt.
Still, the Treasure Truck probably doesn’t cost Amazon much and if it doesn’t work then the company can just stop it. Remember, no one ever got rich betting against Amazon.