Sears has been having severe financial challenges as of late. Its stock has dropped dramatically, and it’s closing many of its Kmart and Sears stores. In fact, there is speculation it may not survive. While many of the problems may have been self-inflicted by not changing with the times, the situation does give us a potential window into where Amazon (and other online e-retailers) may be headed longer-term.

Sears was the original Amazon.

Although from a different era, it had many of the same characteristics. As its slogan, the Sears catalog claimed it “tamed the west.” But what it really did was place a storefront in front of anyone with access to a catalog. And the catalog was extensive, with virtually everything anyone needed (even major purchases like houses, cars and livestock).

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