Giants such as Yahoo, Google, eBay and Amazon and their ilk are going to control 50 percent of all consumer purchases by 2016 and wreak havoc on consumer businesses.
These stats are tossed out by Gartner to get folks thinking. That aforementioned stat has about a 40 percent chance of playing out, but that may be because Gartner didn't want to scare all of those paying customers at its confab this week.
The presentation was called Goog-Azon--referring to the merger of Google and Amazon. Technically Gartner's spiel is a "maverick" presentation, which essentially means analyst Hung Lehong made it up to illustrate a game changing development. Here's the official disclaimer:
This is a Gartner "maverick" presentation, which means that it was not developed through the typical, broad, consensus-driven process across our analyst community. We have authorized this work because its implications are very broad and potentially extremely significant — even though we may not yet agree on its conclusions across the analyst community. Maverick presentations present a lower probability, but potentially "game changing" scenario designed to provoke alternative thinking — in an effort to improve the precision of more likely scenarios.
Some of the presentation provides a chuckle (see logo at left), but not all of is half baked. Gartner projects that Google-Azon becomes a symbiotic parasite where it needs retailers and vice versa.
This sort of relationship is already emerging for Google in advertising. Advertisers need Google and vice versa--you could see it evolving to a mutually assured destruction business model.
But following this Gartner argument gets you to a new class of company--"the pretailer." These pretailers, which are led by Goog-Azon, filter how the consumer gets goods and services (no wonder everyone is so local search happy).
Gartner then goes on to cook up how Google got to its Goog-Azon state. This state occurred because Google became a servant as it expanded its search into all sorts of real-time inventory data and e-commerce feeds. The access points: All of those fancy feeds and APIs being put out. When it was all said and done Google was tapping into everything from FedEx packages to inventory at Whole Foods.
Overall, Google becomes the front door to damn near everything. To get to this result screen Goog-Azon tapped into a consumer's CVS records, checked her blog and even offered appointment times. All of this was done through a public API and a bunch of XML feeds. The result looks something like this:
How did Goog-Azon run the world? Consumers dictated it. A retailer had to deal with Goog-Azon to sell any product. For instance, if Best Buy opted out Circuit City benefited. It's a network effect of peer rivalry. In the end, Goog-Azon dictates much of the consumer shopping experience and supply chain. There used to be a company like this--Wal-Mart--but by 2016 folks are asking Wal-Mart who?
Sounds scary--yet inevitable.