Amazon is well-known for the havoc its online platform wreaked on the traditional bookstore model, but now it's turning a new page by opening its own brick-and-mortar store in Seattle. But unlike other traditional booksellers, Amazon plans to leverage its mountains of data from online sales to identify titles of interest for Seattle buyers.
And it's a tactic that distributors could leverage to improve their inventory management, as well.
Online shopping – even online window shopping – can tell a business a lot about its buyers and its potential buyers. What items are most looked at? Where are the people who look at it located? How much time do they spend on the items?
All of this information can be leveraged to identify products that you might not be carrying in certain branches right now. If many customers in Gary, IN, are viewing a certain widget on the website, maybe that widget should be readily available in the store.
This type of information is available even if you only have a searchable catalog without actual purchasing capability. Simple Google Analytics tracking can provide much of this insight. But you have to have someone with the right mindset and a plan for identifying the relevant data.