In the nebulous realm of the World Wide Web, tech entities like Google and Amazon have the reach, the customer base and the income that have helped transform them from plucky start-ups into virtual mega-Wal-Marts—too big to fail, and omnipresent in practically every state, city, town and household.
But when it comes to an actual brick-and-mortar storefront, the tech titans pale in comparison.
Google, as seemingly inseparable as it has become from one’s daily life, doesn’t sell tangible products. It offers Android, an operating system for smartphones, which is then sold off by third-party retailers like Verizon and Best Buy. But beyond that, its inventory is unknown.
Amazon’s ascendance in the virtual marketplace has spelled the eventual death of bookstores like Borders and electriconics retailers like Circuit City.