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  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 12, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Amazon Go, , , ,   

    Amazon fighting porch pirates, Amazon Go to accept cash, and Amazon taunting Walmart 

    Amazon fighting porch pirates, Amazon Go to accept cash, and Amazon taunting Walmart

    Previously, when we’ve discussed packages being stolen from your porch or property we’ve been told to notify the police but in the long run, there’s not much they can do about the thefts. That is unless Amazon themselves get involved. According to Motherboard, Amazon worked with a number of police departments during last years holiday season in order to combat those who have been dubbed ‘porch pirates’. While these Amazon assisted sting operations didn’t take place in major cities like New York or Los Angeles, they did take place in fairly prominent urban areas such as Albuquerque and Jersey City. However, Motherboard was unable to uncover how many arrests actually took place during these sting operations.

    ***

    If you’ll recall, Amazon Go was supposed to be a completely cashierless store. Customers were supposed to just walk into the store, grab what they needed and have their purchases billed to their Amazon accounts through their smartphones. No cash was ever supposed to change hands. But as the saying goes the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. Many state and local governments have come out in opposition to cashless stores as they feel it further disenfranchises low-income families who may not have access to a bank account. New Jersey and Philadelphia recently outlawed cashless stores and San Francisco may be doing the same. More recently, it’s been reported that Amazon Go stores in certain locations will, in fact, accept cash for transactions. In these markets will cash transactions reduce Amazon Go to just another convenience store or will they still mostly attract those who would prefer to pay without cash?

    ***

    Lastly today, it seems the country’s two largest retail giants, Amazon and Walmart, have engaged in an almost schoolyard-like exchange of dares. It started out with Jeff Bezos publicly challenging WalMart to give their workers a better starting salary.

    “Today I challenge our top retail competitors (you know who you are!) to match our employee benefits and our $15 minimum wage,” Bezos wrote in a letter to shareholders.

    “Do it! Better yet, go to $16 and throw the gauntlet back at us. It’s a kind of competition that will benefit everyone.”

    WalMart has long been criticized for underpaying their employees but they didn’t take this lying down.

    On Thursday, Walmart’s executive vice president of corporate affairs, Dan Bartlett, tagged Bezos in a tweet which said: “Hey retail competitors out there (you know who you are 😉) how about paying your taxes?”

    This was in reference to the fact that Amazon has been accused of structuring their company in such a way and getting significant tax breaks that they pay little to no federal corporate income tax.

    Meanwhile, both companies have been long criticized for allegedly treating their most hard-working employees down in the trenches unfairly. Both corporations have been accused in the past of abusing their low ranking employees by creating a climate of inadequate pay and benefits combined with a climate of fear where employees are afraid to make any concern known without losing their jobs.

     
  • Geebo 8:05 am on March 25, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon Go, , , , , ,   

    Cashless stores and Amazon, Facebook and hate, and Robert Kraft apologizes 

    Cashless stores and Amazon, Facebook and hate, and Robert Kraft apologizes

    Here are some follow-ups to stories we have discussed in the past.

    Both New Jersey and Philadelphia have banned cashless stores from operating within their jurisdictions. Not surprisingly, the city of San Francisco is moving toward a similar ban. Previously, Amazon had lobbied against the laws in both Jersey and Philly since the allure of its Amazon Go stores are that you can walk in and out without having to deal with a cashier and the stores are cashless with all payment being taken through a smartphone app. The problem with cashless stores is that they exclude lower-income families who don’t have easy access to such things as debit and credit cards or smartphone apps. While prepaid debit cards can be purchased, the rates for these cards can often be described as predatory. It’s unclear what Amazon can use to try to push cities into going cashless as their Go Stores offer little to no opportunities for employment.

    During the horrific mass shooting that recently took place in New Zealand where a white supremacist shot and killed 50 mosque attendees, the assailant broadcast the attack over Facebook live. The attack was said to have been viewed at least 4,000 times before it was removed from Facebook. Facebook claims that it didn’t pull the video sooner because none of their users had reported it. That seems like an awfully convenient excuse considering that in the past it’s been alleged that Facebook counts on controversy to keep their users engaged which in turn results in more views for advertisers. Toward that, a columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald asks why Facebook can curb such videos from terrorist groups like ISIS but couldn’t stop the broadcast of this hate-monger? Again the answer seems to be because it’s not profitable for Facebook to do so.

    Lastly today, we have a follow-up about the story of Robert Kraft. As we’ve previously posted, the New England Patriots owner was caught up in a human trafficking sting in Florida where Kraft was allegedly caught using the services of a massage parlor. We also discussed how the living arrangements and the treatment of trafficked women in those parlors can be harrowing. Over this past weekend, Kraft is said to have apologized for his actions. In the apology, Kraft seems to apologize mostly to his friends and family for letting them down but not to the women he allegedly paid for services whose lives are treated like cattle by their traffickers. In essence, he’s apologizing that he got caught which again takes the spotlight away from the victims of this degrading practice.

     
  • Geebo 10:26 am on February 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: AiFi, Amazon Go,   

    Startup promises cashier-less experience in every store 

    Startup promises cashierless experience in every store

    Previously we’ve posted on this blog about Amazon Go, Amazon’s attempt at having a cashier-less store where you can just grab and go whatever you need and have it charged to your Amazon account. While it was initially delayed, had a few hiccups on start, and has live employees at its stores, Amazon Go has turned out to be somewhat of a success for Amazon. Now, a relatively new startup is poised to upset Amazon’s apple cart.

    A startup called AiFi claims they’ve developed an Amazon Go-like system that could be installed in any existing store. Not only that, but AiFi says that their system is scalable to fit a store of any size. From the smallest mom and pop store to the biggest box store, AiFi can supposedly scale itself to fit any sized marketplace.

    The problem, as is with many startups, is this just bluster or does AiFi actually have the technology to back up their claims? Too many startups have turned out to be just vaporware or not practical in the real world. Remember Jucicero anyone? It will be interesting to see if AiFi has actually figured out the problems to cashier-less shopping that took a multi-billion dollar corporation like Amazon so long to try to tackle.

     
  • Geebo 10:27 am on January 22, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Amazon Go, ,   

    Amazon to unveil new cashier-less store today 

    Amazon to unveil new cashier-less store today

    For a little more than a year, Amazon has been developing their highly touted store without cashiers known as Amazon Go. Later today, Amazon will finally unveil Amazon Go to the public in Seattle. The original concept of the store was to have a store that would be fully automated, however, it seems the reality of situation means there will in fact be human employees in the store.

    According to Tech Crunch there will be several human employees in the store such as someone checking for IDs in the beer and wine section, and a person standing by for any assistance needed with the app used for shopping at the store. There are also stockers and chefs who prepare sandwiches and meal kits.

    While the videos of the store seem to give the appearance of a slick and seamless shopping experience, one has to wonder if that will be the reality of the situation. Often times in tech, what tested perfect in the lab can often fail in the real world. For example, one of the problems Amazon Go had in its testing phase is the store would come to a halt if there were too many people in the store. Plus in real life there are always situations that arise that no one can account for until they happen. It will be interesting to see how Amazon Go will handle such a situation.

    So will Amazon Go be the future of brick and mortar retailing, or will it be just another retailing fad that refuses to take hold? Today, just may hold some of those answers.

     
  • Geebo 10:17 am on June 15, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Amazon Go, Moby, Wheely's Cafe   

    Swedish company testing mobile store that seems to solve the problems Amazon Go has 

    Swedish company testing mobile store that seems to solve the problems Amazon Go has

    Previously, we’ve posted on this blog about Amazon Go, Amazon’s proposed attempt at an automated brick and mortar store with no employees. One of the issues Amazon came up against was that the store’s system crashed when there were too many people in the store. To that end, the store with no employees would then require employees. Now, a Swedish company is testing a similar concept, and may have a better grasp on the concept than Amazon.

    Wheely’s Cafe is a company that already franchises mobile coffee stands around the world. Now, they are testing a mobile marketplace called Moby. Like Amazon Go, it has no employees, however, unlike Amazon Go it only allows four people inside at a time. Also, rather than being a brick and mortar store, a Moby is mobile. While now it requires a driver, Wheely’s is hoping to use autonomous driving in the future. Currently, Moby is only in beta testing and is only being tested in select Asian markets.

    Amazon may want to take a few hints from Wheely’s by making Amazon Go mobile. Not only could they be used as regular stores like Amazon is proposing, they could also be used as a sort of delivery hub. The last mile of delivery is the most expensive according to online retailers. If Amazon were to deploy mobile stores they could have mobile hubs where people could come to pick up their orders without waiting as long.

     
  • Geebo 10:36 am on March 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Amazon Go   

    Amazon Go breaks down when there’s too many people in it 

    Amazon Go breaks down when there's too many people in it

    Previously on this blog, we’ve posted about Amazon’s proposed brick and mortar store called Amazon Go. The store is supposed to work without cashiers with scanners and cameras doing most of the work. While we were wondering what’s keeping customers from stealing everything, Amazon has run into a much bigger problem. According to reports Amazon has run into the problem where the stores break down if they have more than 20 people in them.

    If there are more than 20 people in any given store the electronics behind the store find it incredibly difficult not only to track all the customers, but track the correct placement of items on the shelves as well. Because of this glitch, to put it mildly, Amazon has delayed the opening of their Amazon Go stores. The first store was supposed to open this month in Seattle.

    With such setbacks one has to wonder what would be more cost-effective, fine tuning the algorithms and equipment to make sure customers have a seamless experience, or hiring cashiers who can handle a crowd of people right off the bat?

     
  • Geebo 10:59 am on January 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Amazon Go, Loss prevention, ,   

    Amazon’s store without people will have people 

    Amazon's store without people will have people

    Previously, Amazon.com announced that they were going to have brick and mortar stores that would have no cashiers called Amazon Go. While their technological wonderstore seemed impressive, we asked at this blog what would be preventing people from just walking out with whatever they wanted? It turns out that the store of the future will be using a tool of the past, people.

    Tech blog Recode recently reported that Amazon will have people assisting the machine that is Amazon Go. While they didn’t come right out and say that the people working there will be used as security guards that has to be part of the plan even tough that Amazon claims that humans are there just to assist the Amazon Go algorithm.

    Even the most heavily monitored brick and mortar stores with the highest security technology still fall victim to theft to the tune of millions of dollars a year. That’s with both electronic surveillance and human loss prevention specialists. While Amazon Go may seem like a technological utopian store, it feels like it puts way too much faith in humanity.

     
  • Geebo 10:56 am on December 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Amazon Go, , shoplifting, ,   

    Amazon to unveil store without cashiers 

    Amazon to unveil store without cashiers

    Recently, online retail monolith Amazon announced that they were opening a new brick and mortar store that would have no cashiers or check out lines. The store, called Amazon Go, touts itself as a high-tech store that uses several different technologies in order to determine what you’ve purchased and how to charge your Amazon account for it.

    Amazon’s announcement made quite a splash in the recent news cycle, but with all the articles that have been written about it there’s one problem that has yet to be addressed, theft, or as they call it in the retail space, shrinkage. When someone develops a new and innovative system of commerce at anytime there are always going to be people looking to beat the system. Amazon Go sounds like it relies heavily on the honor system but as the saying goes there is no honor among thieves.

    With this new proposed concept by Amazon, cashiers may be seen as the proverbial buggy whip manufacturers, however they do serve a purpose beyond just checking and bagging our groceries. Just by their presence they act as a line of defense to discourage many people from just walking out of the store with a cart full of groceries that they didn’t pay for.

    Maybe Amazon has already addressed this issue internally, but by not discussing it publicly it seems that they are almost daring a battalion of five-finger discount practitioners to make Amazon Go a target.

     
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