Last night, Slate published a story about Amazon's surrender in the local sales tax war, and how their next move could be even more disruptive for local businesses:
But now Amazon has a new game. Now that it has agreed to collect sales taxes, the company can legally set up warehouses right inside some of the largest metropolitan areas in the nation. Why would it want to do that? Because Amazon’s new goal is to get stuff to you immediately—as soon as a few hours after you hit Buy...It’s hard to overstate how thoroughly this move will shake up the retail industry. Same-day delivery has long been the holy grail of Internet retailers, something that dozens of startups have tried and failed to accomplish. (Remember Kozmo.com?) But Amazon is investing billions to make next-day delivery standard, and same-day delivery an option for lots of customers. If it can pull that off, the company will permanently alter how we shop. To put it more bluntly: Physical retailers will be hosed.
This story probably sounds histrionic to a lot of you, but it seems pretty reasonable to me. When the Great Walmart in the Sky starts offering near-instant gratification, a lot of small retailers are going to feel the same Amazon pinch that bookstores started feeling a decade ago.