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  • Geebo 9:34 am on October 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, Lord & Taylor,   

    Walmart said to be making move to create online mall 

    Walmart said to be making move to create online mall

    It seems that a week can’t go by without Amazon and Walmart taking steps to encroach on each other’s territory. Yesterday we posted about how Amazon was now partnering with Kohl’s to accept amazon returns. Now, it’s been reported by the Wall Street Journal that Walmart is in talks with high-end department store Lord & Taylor to sell their products on Walmart’s website.

    According to most reports, this partnership has the potential to be beneficial to all parties involved. While Lord & Taylor has seen a decline in foot traffic to their stores an online presence with America;s largest retailer could really help them out. Conversely, this adds some prestige to Walmart’s online offerings as it has somewhat of a stigma for being only for lower-income customers.

    This latest partnership is said to being contemplated by Walmart in order to develop an online mall where many different types of retailers are represented, much like Amazon.com. Yet while the two retail giants war, consumers are the victims left in its wake as we inch ever so closer to a retail duopoly in this country. Fewer choices are never a good thing.

     
  • Geebo 8:59 am on October 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, Kohl's,   

    Kohl’s to start accepting Amazon returns 

    Kohl's to start accepting Amazon returns

    We’re not saying Amazon is The Borg, but assimilation is not out of the question.

    Have you ever purchased something from Amazon and it turned out not to be exactly what you wanted. Maybe it’s the wrong size or the wrong color or something else entirely. In order to return the merchandise, you have to print out a mailing label, wrap it back up and then send it back to Amazon and hope it doesn’t get lost in transit. Now, you may not have to deal with that hassle as retail outlet Kohl’s is now accepting Amazon returns in certain locations.

    As of yesterday, Kohl’s stores in Chicago and Los Angeles started accepting Amazon returns. This goes along with a display of Amazon products for sale such as the ubiquitous Amazon Echo. Kohl’s is hoping that the traffic from Amazon return customers will translate into additional sales for Kohl’s.

    Let’s be real though. This appears a lot like Amazon reaching its many arms into another area of the brick and mortar retail space much along the lines of their purchase of Whole Foods. While Kohl’s may see this as an opportunity to increase sales, Amazon probably sees this as another domino falling in their quest to retail domination.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on October 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, ,   

    Is Amazon upping the last mile game? 

    Is Amazon upping the last mile game?

    Rumors have been circulating in the retail world that Amazon is taking two new steps in the battle for the last mile. Again, the last mile of delivery is considered the most expensive part of any home delivery by online retail giants like Amazon. According to some reports Amazon is not only supposedly developing a smart home device that would allow deliveries to be left in the home, but they’re also said to be teaming with a smart license plate manufacturer to allow deliveries to be left in the trunk of your car.

    The smart license plate works like a small safe that can be accessed using a smart phone app that would allow access to the safe where some keep their spare keys. Between the smart license plate and the smart home device, it’s rumored that Amazon is taking these steps to prevent thieves from stealing your packages off of your porch or front steps. These thieves are known as ‘porch pirates’. While it’s almost a certainty Amazon is doing this to prevent theft since it costs businesses and consumers a great deal of lost revenue, this is also a shot at WalMart.

    A couple of weeks ago, WalMart announced a similar initiative that would allow deliveries to be dropped off inside the home using a smart home device WalMart partnered with. With Amazon now posing to have deliveries left in the trunk of your car, Amazon has potentially one upped WalMart on the last mile game.

    Maybe it’s because I also write about scams that I wouldn’t trust either of these delivery options. Personally, I wouldn’t want anyone to either have temporarily access to my home or my car keys. While I’m sure most delivery people are on the up and up, there’s too great a chance the access could be abused, in my opinion. If you’re someone who receives a lot of online deliveries when you’re not at home, I would personally recommend using one of the mail supply stores that allows deliveries to be left there. It may be an inconvenience of your delivery not being dropped off at your doorstep, but not only will it protect you from porch pirates but you won’t have to allow anyone into your home or care either.

     
  • Geebo 9:02 am on October 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, ,   

    Is Amazon getting ready to enter into the pharmacy market? 

    Is Amazon getting ready to enter into the pharmacy market?

    If you have health insurance you might be familiar with having your prescription drugs being delivered by mail. Many health insurers use pharmacy benefit managers, PBMs for short, as middlemen between the pharmaceutical companies and the consumers. The PBMs determine which prescription drugs are covered under you insurance and at what percentage. Many of these PBMs encourage prescriptions to be filled by them to be mailed to the consumers. They offer some pretty substantial discounts to customers who use this procedure. Now, rumors are circulating in the business world that online home delivery giant Amazon is looking to enter the PBM market.

    There are pros and cons to Amazon moving into the pharmacy space. One of the pros is that this will offer more competition, as the PBM scene is ruled by only three companies, CVS, Express Scripts and United Healthcare. More choices for consumers is always a good thing as it could lead to competitive pricing for prescription drug coverage. However, the con could be that if Amazon does enter this market it could actually result in less competition as Amazon has a history of not being to fond of any competition.

    The even bigger problem with Amazon entering into this space is Amazon’s usual problem of trying to be all things to all people, a faceless global corporation that pervades itself into every facet of our lives. Is that what we really want, because that scenario benefits no one except Amazon. If we’re not careful Amazon could become a mega-monopoly with no one to challenge them.

     
  • Geebo 9:02 am on October 3, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, Parcel, ,   

    The latest salvos in the WalMart-Amazon war 

    The latest salvos in the WalMart-Amazon war

    The war between the internet giant and the brick and mortar goliath continue with each making gains in each others’ territory.

    WalMart is trying yet another solution to the last mile problem. Again, the ‘last mile’ of delivery is considered the most expensive part of the delivery and WalMart has been experimenting with different possible solutions. Recently, WalMart has bought a delivery startup called Parcel which touts itself as a last mile delivery service. Parcel also has other clients who they say will continue to provide service to, even after the WalMart purchase.

    Meanwhile, Bloomberg is reporting that Amazon has taken a sizeable chunk of customers from other retail chains with their purchase of Whole Foods. Hurt most by this influx of customers to Whole Foods is Trader Joe’s. Whole Foods are also said to have taken a number of customers from WalMart, however, those customers they took from WalMart could already afford Whole Food prices. Lower income customers are still sticking with WalMart as the best value for their dollar.

    Lastly, the Denver Post is reporting that Whole Foods’ prices that Amazon slashed in the first week after the purchase have crept back up to the ‘Whole Paycheck’ price levels.

    Usually competition like this opens up more choices and benefits for consumers, but since both WalMart and Amazon tend to gobble up or eliminate any real competition they have we could possibly end up with less choice where the retailers could set prices anywhere they want.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on September 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, baby registry,   

    Amazon congratulates non-expectant women for their baby registries 

    Amazon congratulates non-expectant women for their baby registries

    The other day we wondered if Amazon is becoming rife with scams as much as craigslist is. A story that broke yesterday made us wonder that again, as many Amazon customers started receiving emails congratulating them on someone having purchased them a gift off their Amazon baby registry. The problem was that the majority of the people who received these emails did not have a baby registry with Amazon and were not expecting a child.

    When this story was initially reported, a number of people wondered if these emails were some form of phishing scam. That is a legitimate concern since fake Amazon emails are a large source of many phishing attacks where scammers try to get your Amazon log in information in order to try to purchase Amazon products with the financial information you may have stored in your Amazon account. However, Amazon has since commented on the situation saying that the emails did come from Amazon and were a technical glitch. No products were actually purchased or sent to the individuals who received the emails.

    While this thankfully turned out not to be a scam, one has to wonder what’s going on inside the offices of Amazon. Is there focus on expansion stretching their attention so thin that they’re allowing mistakes like these and the toothbrush kerfuffle to define them as a company, or are they just having a string of bad luck and bad timing?

     
  • Geebo 8:52 am on September 18, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, intellectual property   

    You can fool Amazon some of the time 

    You can fool Amazon some of the time

    What a lot of consumers might not realize is that Amazon doesn’t sell all of the products on its own website. There are a plethora of third-party vendors who sell their products through Amazon. One could assume that being an Amazon vendor affords you a certain level of protection. Unfortunately, one vendor recently found out that’s not the case.

    Amazon received an email from a law firm claiming that a replacement toothbrush head sold by a third-party vendor was in violation of intellectual property. This was no small vendor either. The item was a big seller on Amazon and the company saw a $200,000 drop in profits after Amazon dropped them after the email. As it turns out, the law firm who sent the email didn’t even exist. The fake law firm had a fake website that had stolen assets from other law firm sites to make it look more legitimate. However, Amazon allegedly did not take the time to investigate the claims of intellectual property violations and just removed the product in question from their listings.

    Reportedly, this is a common practice on Amazon. According to CNBC other businesses that sell on Amazon have gone through these fake take downs as well. This is similar to the failed flagging system on craigslist where users will flag competing ads as being in violation of craigslist’s terms of service. With the amount of money these companies make you would think they’d have an employee or two to verify these false claims. This is very unprofessional on Amazon’s part, implying that they’d rather save the money by pulling a hot item than having someone on their legal team investigate.

     
  • Geebo 9:02 am on September 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, , , Prime Day   

    Don’t fall for the Prime Day phishing scam 

    Don't fall for the Amazon Prime phishing scam

    A phishing attack is when a scammer sends out a mass of emails that look like legitimate emails from such places as a bank telling you to log into your account and offering you a link to do so. Usually they do this under the guise that something is wrong with your account. Instead of sending you to your bank site, the website it sends you to is almost a mirror image of your bank’s site, but it’s a fake. It’s designed to copy your log in credentials in order to steal your financial information.

    More recently, a phishing attack has appeared that purports to be from Amazon. The email looks like it came from Amazon itself and it thanks you for buying an item during Amazon’s Prime Day, its once a year site-wide sale Amazon holds in July for its Prime Members. The email then asks you to write a review for the product your purchased and promises the chance for you to win a $50 Amazon gift card if you do. Then a link is offered to take you directly to Amazon. Much like the bank phishing scam, instead of taking you to Amazon, it takes you to a site which looks almost identical to the Amazon sign on page, but as usual it isn’t. If you enter your log in credentials here, they could be stolen and the perpetrators could use the financial information stored in your Amazon account to buy items for themselves. By the time you notice, the merchandise could have already been delivered to a temporary address and you’re stuck with the bill.

    When dealing with phishing emails like this, never click on any of the links. If you feel it may be a legitimate email, go to directly to the website by typing out the address in your browser. Always make sure the URL is spelled correctly as scammers will often use addresses that are slight misspellings of the actual URL. Also make sure when dealing with any website that needs your financial information, the URL should start with https, not just http. In most modern browsers it should also display a lock icon to let you know the site is secure.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on August 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, ,   

    Amazon springs new prices on Whole Food customers 

    Amazon springs new prices on Whole Food customers

    In our weekly update of Amazon trying to take over the world, Amazon finally took the reins of Whole Foods this past Monday. In doing so, Amazon dropped prices substantially almost across the board. They did this without any warning or any marketing building up to the launch. In terms of advertising, this was a brilliant move by Amazon considering the word spread like wildfire through both traditional and social media.

    Along with the price cuts, Amazon also supplied the Whole Foods stores with discounted Amazon Echoes and Dots, their line of voice activated smart speakers. Amazon is also said to be offering additional savings to members of their Amazon Prime service as well.

    Reaction by consumers has been mixed. People that already shop at Whole Foods are appreciative of the price drops and people who were on the fringe of shopping there are willing to now give it a try. Many people are still priced out of Whole Foods as the store is trying to shake its derogative nickname of Whole Paycheck.

    While not giving it the national reach of WalMart, it’s another domino falling in Amazon’s plan to control retail space. However, Amazon will be offering Whole Food products on their website where they already dominate. While WalMart and other national chains shouldn’t be shaking in their boots just yet, Amazon is slowing taking pieces out of their market share.

     
  • Geebo 8:57 am on August 22, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, blimps, ,   

    You won’t believe WalMart’s new weapon against Amazon 

    You won't believe WalMart's new weapon against Amazon

    Yes, the headline sounds a lot like clickbait, but you really won’t believe it. While Amazon is taking to the streets with its expansion by buying Whole Foods and other properties, WalMart is possibly planning to take to the skies. The American retail giant from Bentonville, Arkansas, has filed a patent for a floating distribution center, aka a blimp.


    Relevant content starts at 17:41

    If the patent filing is to be believed, the plan seems to be for WalMart to have unmanned floating dirigibles with a fleet of drones to deliver items to the home. This is supposed to be another solution to the problem of the ‘last mile’, the most expensive part of home delivery. However, is this actually a feasible solution, or is WalMart just filing a patent in hopes the law and technology will catch up to their dream?

    In the short-term this sounds more like a daydream than anything. The FAA, like most government agencies, are slow to catch up to new technologies. At present, it doesn’t seem likely that the FAA would allow a fleet of unmanned blimps to litter the skies releasing delivery drones in their wake. Not to mention, what if one of these unmanned blimps were to be involved with some kind of air incident? While it may not be WalMart’s fault, it could be a potential PR disaster if anyone were to be hurt by one of these blimps.

    While it takes bold strategies to overcome your business competitors, on the surface this seems like nothing more than a fantasy.

     
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