A new report from top global consulting firm McKinsey says the investment banking world could be the next major industry to be disrupted by giant digital companies like Amazon and Rakuten. Because Amazon, Alibaba and other massive scale online companies have huge consumer-facing platforms (and lots of cash) they can enter virtually any vertical where they see opportunity. Anyone who looks at Wall Street’s books recently would have to be blind not to see opportunity there. Even though it was a long time ago, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos knows Wall Street — he worked at D. E. Shaw and Banker’s Trust before starting Amazon.
In inventing Amazon, Bezos also invented the term Amazon’d — even if he didn’t coin it. Getting Amazon’d is when an established company’s business is usurped by a company (like Amazon) with greater reach and consumer interaction points. Amazon first did this to bookstores like Barnes & Noble, once a books juggernaut. Then department stores like Macy’s and Sears got Amazon’d. Walmart got Amazon’d, too, but it has fought back with some panache. The grocery business is another vertical ripe to suffer an Amazon’d fate, as delivery becomes more common and Amazon’s huge platform builds in unmatchable convenience at scale. McKinsey points out that Rakuten, now a sponsor of the Golden State Warriors, already issues millions of credit cards. Sometimes a retailer that gets Amazon’d does the next best thing and sells through Amazon, using the friendly Amazon front-end interfaces and data as a gateway. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em is often all that’s left of a business strategy once a sector gets Amazon’d in a big way.