Amazon’s Treasure Truck is an eyebrow-raiser that makes an ‘experience’ of something potentially mundane. Others would do well to follow its lead.

The Amazon Treasure Truck went live in London over the weekend. In case you missed it, this is a converted truck that takes a selection of products out on the road, with some being ‘deals’ while others are limited-edition items that have been made solely for distribution via the truck.

Something of the kind has been done before by Oasis, which has had a liveried truck driving up an down the country with a selection of merchandise that can be found in its shops.

Amazon's Treasure Truck

Amazon’s Treasure Truck takes limited-edition items and bargains from the etailer into the real world

The difference for Amazon, of course, is that it doesn’t have physical shops, other than a few bookshops and the occasional pop-up.

The Treasure Truck is therefore a curtain-raiser for the website and this is confirmed by the fact that it is, in effect, a roaming click-and-collect point. Shoppers of this one have already ordered via the Amazon app, and fulfilment is via the truck at a prearranged time and location.

It is nonetheless a bit of fun and externally there is something about it of the Barnum and Bailey Circus in the way in which it can pitch up and put on a show.

Another dimension

The real point, however, is that this is about yet another way of bridging the terrestrial/digital divide, and a click-and-collect station that can go anywhere does add another dimension to the normal manner of doing things.

It might even qualify as a mobile click-and-connect ‘experience’. On this reading Amazon is proving that it understands the term rather better than others that have been bandying it around during 2017.

“If you want people to come to you, perhaps you should go to them and make a point of the fact that you are doing so”

For many, ‘experience’ equates to a faster till, a better piece of equipment from which to select or perhaps a swisher fitting room. This isn’t innovation of experience but what Henry Ford cited when asked what people wanted to get them from A to B – “a faster horse”.

Here are two things for the coming year, therefore. Perhaps retailers should think a little harder about what they mean when they say they are offering their shoppers an experience; and maybe they should get out more.

If you want people to come to you, perhaps you should go to them and make a point of the fact that you are doing so.

There are certainly retailers offering experiences out there, but possibly not as many as lay claim to the term.