Ever-speedy delivery, subscription models, an online video streaming service, voice-automated ordering and a sizeable grocery business in the shape of Whole Foods.

Having assembled such an impressive army in its relentless assault on global retail, it could be easy to conclude that Amazon is poised to take over the world.

But in the face of a fierce war with the sector’s ultimate disruptor, traditional retailers certainly cannot be accused of shying away from the fight.

Swedish furniture giant Ikea is the latest business to beef up its defences.

The retailer last week snapped up odd-jobs firm TaskRabbit, which sends workers to people’s homes to carry out chores such as assembling flat-pack furniture.

Ikea is far from the first to expand beyond its retail roots and into the services arena.

John Lewis is piloting a similar service, named Home Solutions, which allows customers to hire tradespeople who have been approved by the department store group.

And Dixons Carphone has a well-established repair and fitting service, recently rebranded as Team Knowhow.

Indeed, a number of retailers are increasingly taking an approach referred to in boardrooms up and down the land as WACD – What Amazon Can’t Do.

Amazon’s Achilles’ heel?

If a consumer wants to shop from an expansive range, for something at a competitive price from the comfort of their sofa, safe in the knowledge that they will receive fast and reliable delivery, Amazon has, in the main, become the go-to website.

Amazon accounts for more than a third of all online spend in this country.

But the etail giant’s model has its limitations and, rather than attempt to become a poor man’s Amazon, retailers must increase their focus on doing the things the online titan cannot.

Dixons Carphone chief executive Seb James was among those to publicly state that aim at the start of this year.

“People laugh at me but: how can we end up making Amazon redundant?” was the question he posed.

“We can both stock and sell and deliver goods. But I can install. I can protect. I can finance. I manage reverse logistics. I can trade in. I can re-sell.”

Fortnum & Mason chief executive Ewan Venters was on a similar page when he told me: “Our primary role is not to sell product, it’s to create experiences. We are in the pleasure business.

“Fortnum’s is now firmly beyond retail.”

And Debenhams chairman Sir Ian Cheshire said at World Retail Congress in Dubai back in April: “It’s not enough simply to have the stuff. You’ve got to wrap it in a set of experiences.”

Service and experience

Despite some clear strategic strides from the likes of Ikea and John Lewis, it’s debatable whether any retailers have fully nailed that wider service-and-experience-inclusive proposition just yet, leaving plenty more room for manoeuvre.

At a department store that might mean offering makeovers on beauty bars, massages at spas or afternoon teas at in-store cafés.

At supermarkets, it could consist of cookery demonstrations, cheese and wine tasting sessions or master classes from trained fishmongers.

And retailers across the board need to be thinking carefully about making payment frictionless, ensuring delivery is seamless and creating memorable customer service.

There is plenty that Amazon can’t do. The retailers that stand the best chance of winning the battle will be those that invest the time and capital to achieve it.