- Apple’s former retail chief Ron Johnson says Amazon may have a “tough” decade ahead as rivals like Target and Walmart are growing faster.
- He also added that the future of retail will likely involve a mix of physical stores and online experiences.
- That sounds similar to what Amazon’s ambitions for the future of its retail business could entail, considering it’s been investing more heavily in the physical experience recently.
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Amazon pioneered the e-commerce movement, but it may not be at the forefront of the next major revolution in retail.
That’s according to Ron Johnson, the former head of the Apple Store who oversaw the tech giant’s retail efforts from 2000 through 2011. “I think it’s tough,” Johnson said in an interview with Yahoo Finance’s Brian Sozzi on what the next decade looks like for Amazon. “They’re on their heels. . . They barely make money in their online store, and Target, Walmart are growing faster.”
Johnson, who took over the role of CEO of JCPenny after leaving Apple and now runs his own e-commerce company called Enjoy , said he believes the future of retail will involve some kind of mix of digital and physical shopping experiences.
“I believe you get about a 20-year run in retail,” Johnson said. “The department stores owned the ’60s and ’70s. The Gap, The Limited, Victoria’s Secret, owned the ’80s and ’90s. Amazon’s owned 2000, 2010. We’re looking for what’s next, and that’s going to be a physical retailer with a really strong physical backbone.”
Amazon may be best known for its massive online store, but it’s been investing heavily in physical retail in recent years too. It now operates a selection of physical book stores, cashierless convenience stores, and shops that sell products with 4-star reviews across the United States.
It also bolstered its presence in the grocery store space by acquiring the upscale supermarket chain Whole Foods in 2017. But Amazon also has plans to expand into the grocery industry beyond Whole Foods; it’s opening a new separate grocery store in Woodland Hills, California this year, the company said in November.
Johnson’s perspective on the future of retail also sounds very similar to Amazon’s reported ambitions for diving more deeply into the supermarket industry. Last July, The New York Times’ Karen Weise reported that the e-commerce giant was planning a new type of grocery store that would combine the elements of the traditional shopping experience with online pickup.
“Amazon’s in an interesting place,” Johnson said.
Watch the full interview with Johnson over at Yahoo Finance.