Venture capital pioneer: Brick-and-mortar retailers can compete with Amazon by offering experiences

FAN Editor

Traditional retailers can use experiences to fight back against Amazon‘s e-commerce dominance, Greycroft co-founder Alan Patricof told CNBC on Tuesday.

“The only thing … in-store retailing has that online doesn’t have is it has the ability to touch, smell, feel, and experience,” Patricof said on “Squawk Alley.” “That’s the way retailers, or new retailers, are going to win or at least compete.”

Patricof, a leader in private equity and venture capital, in April pointed to Amazon as advancing a trend that contributed to community breakdown, and the empty storefronts and drug abuse that come with it.

Speaking prior to Amazon hitting a stock market value of $1 trillion late Tuesday morning, Patricof said his previous statements were “misconstrued as being anti-Amazon,” when he intended them to be a greater commentary.

“Amazon is [just] a manifestation, the most easy one, of what’s happening to our whole life, not just in buying and selling, but in our communicating, in our information,” he said. “We’ve gotten away from experiences.”

Amazon is an example of how society favors services over experience — and the same could be said about Alphabet‘s Google and information-gathering at large, Patricof said.

As brick-and-mortar retailers gradually regain their footing, some are likely mimicking Amazon by offering services, he said. But they can really shine against the tech giant, he argued, by providing experiences an online retailer can’t.

“People have been satisfied with just the ability to see something online, and that’s enough,” but that may not always be the case, Patricof said.

While many traditional retailers put up promising quarters, Amazon became on Tuesday the second publicly traded U.S. company after Apple to reach the $1 trillion market value.

Amazon shares have gained more than 70 percent in 2018 and more than doubled in the last 12 months.

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