10. Brands, Retailers, and Shoppers: Why the Long Tail Is Wagging the Dog

“Whenever an individual or business decides that success has been attained, progress stops.”

—Thomas J. Watson, founder of IBM

Author’s Note

We have discussed how many bricks retailers have long viewed the Long Tail as a vital asset, allowing them to assure their shoppers that they could find any obscure product within their miles of aisles at any time. Retailers have been able to ignore the true cost of warehousing thousands of items in each store—despite the fact that shoppers rarely, if ever, purchase these items—due to the retailer’s relationships with the brands and suppliers that stock their shelves. But with the emergence of online retailers like Amazon, who can ...

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