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

    Amazon looking to branch out into ticket sales 

    Amazon looking to branch out into ticket sales

    We’re not saying Amazon is run by super-villains but…

    If you’ve attended a major concert in the past 25 years, you know how prohibitively expensive concert tickets can be. The main distributor, Ticketmaster, is infamous for its outrageous service fees. At one point, the grunge rock mainstay band Pearl Jam refused to do business with Ticketmaster because they felt their fans were being ripped off by the ticket outlet. Now, another company is looking to get into the ticket business; so is this good news or bad news? Well…

    Amazon is looking to reach one of their many outstretched arms into the ticketing business. On the one hand, this could be good for competition and could start a price war between the two competing outlets which could mean lower ticket prices for consumers. On the other hand, Amazon doesn’t seem like they care for competition. If you’re a frequent reader of our blog we’ve posted a number of stories about Amazon’s continued march through many avenues of retail space; this would just be one more foothold for Amazon in their quest for retail dominance.

    Amazon appears to want to be all things to all people when it comes to the retail market. Each small step they take could eventually lead to a giant leap that leaves competitors in their wake until we have little choice in our retailers. We’re lucky the Amazon heads don’t control a major news outlet or we’d really be in trouble…oh wait.

     
  • Geebo 8:33 am on July 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, ,   

    Why do we hate Wal-Mart but love Amazon? 

    Why do we hate Wal-Mart but love Amazon?

    Wal-Mart is no stranger to controversy. Not only has it put mom and pop outlets out of business, but it’s also been known to close down national chains in its wake. It has a reputation of underpaying and overworking its employees, and when a new Wal-Mart store is scheduled to be opened, it’s almost unanimously met with protest.

    However, tech blog The Next Web poses a very poignant question. Why do we despise Wal-Mart while Amazon is just as guilty of being cutthroat in the retail world?

    Think about it for a moment, Amazon started off selling books. Add that to the advent of Amazon’s e-reader, The Kindle, and now you would be hard-pressed to find a physical bookstore. Amazon has also crushed national chains such as Circuit City when it started selling electronics and Best Buy could be looking at the same fate. A number of consumers tend to use these stores as showrooms for Amazon, meaning they get hands on with the product at one of these stores before buying the item on Amazon. Their pending purchase of Whole Foods could put an even larger strain on what remains of the mom and pop stores. Also, much like Wal-Mart. Amazon had its own kerfuffle in recent years when some of its employees from their fulfillment centers took to the web to voice their concerns about wages and working conditions. Yet there’s been little to no protest by the public at large. Why is that?

    Is it Amazon’s hidden nature that causes us not to care? For example, we never see their workers to see how they are being treated on the job. Or is it the convenience since we don’t have to leave our homes to purchase items and don’t have to deal with the hassle of the crowds?

    It seems to be that Amazon benefits from the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ principle while it commits businesses practices that are as equally as detrimental as Wal-Mart.

     
  • Geebo 9:52 am on July 21, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, Kennmore, , Sears   

    What does Amazon’s deal with Sears mean? 

    What does Amazon's deal with Sears mean?

    Apparently, Amazon wasn’t happy with raining just on Blue Apron’s parade. Yesterday, they rained on a massive parade led by Home Depot and Lowe’s after they signed a new deal with struggling retailer Sears. Amazon will soon be selling Kennmore appliances, Sears’ flagship brand of appliances that still carries some sway in the retail space.

    According to USA Today, this will be a boon to consumers since Sears Home Service will continue to maintain warranties and replacements for the Kennmore appliances. Amazon also says that Kennmore Appliances will have Alexa connectivity capabilities in the near future. It sounds great on the surface. Not only does this give a lift to the troubled Sears, but it’s another appliance option for consumers online.

    However, and you knew there had to be a however, this feels like another domino falling in Amazon’s trek to become the only retailer both online and in brick and mortar space. It feels like another consumer choice is slipping through our fingers. That’s not even mentioning Sears’ bleak outlook for the future. Sears’ has been on virtual life support for some time now. So will Sears Home Services even be around after Sears takes its inevitable final bow? Is Amazon just placating Sears until they can buy the Kennmore brand for pennies on the dollar? Or are they even pondering gobbling up Sears whole in order to compete with Wal-Mart? This all could be a possible indicator of a retail war of epic proportions.

     
  • Geebo 9:02 am on July 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, Blue Apron,   

    The road to Amazon’s retail dominance goes through Blue Apron 

    The road to Amazon's plan for retail dominance goes through Blue Apron

    If you’ve listened to or watched a well-known podcast with any regularity, you may be familiar with Blue Apron. The heavily marketed subscription service provides a meal to customers each week that comes with pre-portioned ingredients and detailed instructions. While they’re not the only game in town, they are the more well-known among the subscription meal services. However, you may want to try them while you can as Amazon seems poised to put the stake through Blue Apron’s heart.

    On the heels of Amazon’s pending purchase of Whole Foods, the online retail leader has not only announced they will be starting their own subscription meal service, but they’ve also filed a patent for a meal-kit delivery service. If this sounds like they’re intentionally targeting Blue Apron, they might just be. If the patent filing wasn’t bad enough Amazon announced the new service and patent shortly after Blue Apron filed its IPO. Suffice to say, Blue Apron’s stock has taken a nosedive.

    As the video mentions, Blue Apron appears to have been having financial trouble for some time. Their marketing investment hasn’t had the returns they had hoped, but that’s not the story here. The real story is whether or not Amazon is conducting predatory business practices. While it could all be a coincidence, Amazon’s timing seems awfully convenient. Businesses constantly come and go, but fewer choices for consumers is never a good thing.

     
  • Geebo 9:02 am on June 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, , ,   

    In the battle for supremacy, is one retailer fighting to survive? 

    In the battle for supremacy, is one retailer fighting to survive?

    While Amazon and Walmart continue their battle of the retail titans, another player has entered into the fray and thrown down the gauntlet towards its larger opponents. While never far from the consumer conscience, eBay is not the retail stalwart that it once was. However, recently, they have thrown what could amount to as a monkey wrench in the plans of Jeff Bezos and the Walton Family.

    The once and future online auction king has been pivoting their business model for some time now. It first started with the ‘buy it now’ prices. Now it seems eBay has pivoted even further toward being a pure retail outlet by offering their new Price Match Guarantee. eBay says they will match the prices from Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, Walmart.com, HomeDepot.com, Target.com, Sears.com, Wayfair.com, and Jet.com. The catch is, the items have to be new and in the manufacturers packaging and you have to contact eBay customer service to get the price break. eBay claims 90% of the items on their site are eligible for these deals.

    While there are some hoops to jump through in the process, on the surface it seems like a great move by eBay. However, it can also be looked at as an act of desperation by a former industry leader. So we ask you, do you think this is an act genius or an act of despair? Please let us know in the comments.

     
  • Geebo 8:58 am on June 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, , Whole Foods   

    Are we headed for a retail duopoly? 

    Are we headed for a retail duopoly?

    Wal-Mart is the number one retailer in the US with a substantial web presence. They see Amazon as their greatest competitor. Amazon is the number one online retailer and they’ve been looking to get into the physical retail space. They see Wal-Mart as their greatest competitor. Now, Amazon is firing a shot across Wal-Mart’s bow as they are in the process of acquiring organic grocery store Whole foods.

    While not even coming close to Wal-Mart’s almost 5,000 locations across the country, including Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market and Sam’s Club, this acquisition would give Amazon a substantial foot in the door in the country’s grocery market. With its already popular online business, with just 400 possible new locations it actually could give Wal-Mart a run for its money if they’re also used as small distribution or pick up centers for online orders. Not only that, but Amazon could also end up taking a piece out of Wal-Mart’s grocery share in the country, which is where Wal-Mart makes most of their money.

    What could be worrying is Wal-Mart’s response to Amazon’s potential acquisition. A lot of brick and mortar store chains have crumbled under the might of the Wal-Mart. Sears and K-Mart used to be giants in the industry. Sears alone has been around since the 19th century, but is now facing the spectre of closure. If this trend continues, we could all end up shopping at either a Wal-Mart or Amazon branded store in the near future. Competition always breeds innovation in business, but a near monopoly between two retail monoliths will cause not only stagnation, but will also allow the two corporate giants to become complacent in their pricing.

     
  • Geebo 10:17 am on June 15, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, , 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 9:03 am on June 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, , food stamps   

    Is Amazon’s Prime discount for low-income families a boon or a bane? 

    Is Amazon's Prime discount for low-income families a boon or a bane?

    Earlier this week, online retail giant Amazon announced they will be offering a discounted fee for their Prime service to low-income families that are on government food assistance. Prime is usually $99 per year, or $10.99 a month. With that service, Prime members receive unlimited free shipping, faster shipping, and access to Amazon’s streaming video library among other services. For those families who receive benefits through SNAP or EBT cards, they will have a monthly fee of $5.99 a month subtracted from their cards.

    Now obviously, this is a pure business approach on Amazon’s part in their ongoing battle with Wal-Mart, but does it actually help low-income families or does it more to hurt them? In some ways it’s great. For those people who may not have access to a vehicle, they can get food and other much-needed goods delivered to their residence. In a lot of cases, what some may consider a short trip to the store can end up as a recurring expense if all the transportation they have access to is either a taxi or a ride share service. Also, items that are needed frequently can be ordered in bulk from Amazon. In other instances there are low-income families who may not be educated enough, or have the experience, on how to spend wisely. A wide open pipeline to Amazon like this could lead them to make purchases that aren’t financially sound for their budget.

    Still, details are still a little sparse on this program. Hopefully, Amazon will add some type of documentation for these families on how to best use their service if they choose to.

     
  • Geebo 9:03 am on June 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, ,   

    Big name steps in to replace Netflix in net neutrality debate 

    Big name steps in to replace Netflix in net neutrality debate

    As previously posted on this blog, video streaming heavyweight Netflix has withdrawn itself from the net neutrality debate. They claim they are so large an entity they can command any deal they want from internet service providers. By doing so, the net neutrality supporters lost their biggest ally. Now, a number of tech companies are banding together for a ‘day of action’ on July 12th to try to show the need for a neutral net. A number of those companies are no slouches, such as Mozilla, Reddit, Kickstarter, Etsy, Nextdoor and Patreon just to name a few. However, the most important name to thrown into the debate is the internet’s largest retailer, Amazon.com.


    (Relative content is between 4:20 and 7:00)

    Not only is Amazon the largest retailer on the web, but they are also Netflix’s number one competitor in the online streaming market. With the Trump-backed FCC getting ready to gut the net neutrality regulations installed by the Obama administration, the fight for a free web needs more powerful icons like Amazon to take up the banner. With such a huge ally on their side maybe the net neutrality debate isn’t quite over just yet.

    The problem is, it doesn’t appear the FCC is going to budge on their net neutrality stance anytime soon. Ronald Reagan could rise from the grave and testify before the FCC in favor of a free net and the FCC still wouldn’t reverse their decision. While it’s a good sign that net neutrality proponents have a number of tech giants on their side, you can’t fight city hall, or in this case the FCC.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on June 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon,   

    Walmart to possibly have employees deliver packages 

    Walmart to possibly have employees deliver packages

    In case you were unaware, the nation’s largest retailer, Walmart, has an online presence that is working on rivaling Amazon. The place where Amazon beats Walmart is delivery. With an Amazon Prime subscription you can get unlimited free delivery. Now, Walmart is planning on challenging that by asking their employees to deliver packages from their stores.

    Late last week, Walmart announced the testing of a new program where their employees can deliver online orders to houses during their commute home in their own cars. Walmart doesn’t have the greatest reputation when it comes to their employees, as many believe they are underpaid and in some cases grossly overworked. By asking their employees to use their own cars, one has to wonder if the employees making the deliveries will be fairly reimbursed. While Walmart says the program is voluntary for employees, in the past Walmart has been accused of having a very liberal interpretation of the word ‘voluntary’.

    However, Walmart does have one valid point. They have said all their stores they are within a mile of 90% of the US population. All companies that use any kind of delivery say the last mile is the most expensive part of any delivery so Walmart could end up potentially beating Amazon in this area. The real problem is will the Walmart employees who volunteer for this program be fairly treated?

     
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