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  • Geebo 10:10 am on January 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, ,   

    Whole Foods has less foods in more stores lately 

    Whole Foods has less foods in more stores lately

    Lately, more customers of the now Amazon-owned Whole Foods have been complaining about the lack of stock and empty shelves in many of their stores across the country. It leaves the customers wondering if it’s because of the winter weather or has Amazon finally interfered with their favorite store so much that Amazon has screwed up the supply chain. As it turns out, it’s been the fault of Whole Foods themselves for some time now.

    According to an expose by Business Insider, Whole Foods started using a new ordering technique called Order to Shelf, or OTS for short. This technique, ordered by the Whole Foods home office in Austin, Texas, for all its stores, is supposed to reduce waste which many say it has. Instead of storing additional stock in the back, now if a store is running low. they’re supposed to get it direct from the supplier, bypassing the store room.

    However, the problem as evidenced by the Business Insider story is that Whole Foods now have little to stock their shelves. While OTS may be reducing waste, it is also turning away customers. Empty shelves make stores look like they’re about to go out of business making the store look less reputable. While Amazon may have been seen as the Whole Foods bogeyman before, maybe now Amazon will be their savior.

     
  • Geebo 10:01 am on December 26, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, , , Newsweek,   

    Do tech companies foster a culture of human trafficking? 

    Do tech companies foster a culture of human trafficking?

    Before being lambasted by Congress for their alleged roles in the Russian ad scandal, many tech giants like Google opposed an amendment to the Communications Decency Act of 1996 that would allow the prosecution of websites that hosted obvious ads for sex trafficking. After their PR disaster in Congress, many tech firms reversed their position and supported the amendment, but why did they oppose it in the first place?

    A number of arguments against the amendment from tech companies was because they felt they might get caught up unfairly in prosecution. Could another reason be that some of these companies foster a culture where sex trafficking is not only tolerated but encouraged? Now, it’s not being said that the heads of these companies have some kind of unspoken rule where they will look the other way if their employees are caught engaging in sec trafficking, however there does seem to be a belief among the male employees of many of these companies that sex trafficking is not only acceptable but they also allegedly get together to compare notes about it.

    Newsweek recently broke a story where they allege that in the Seattle area many employees of both Amazon and Microsoft were caught allegedly engaging in behavior at local illegal brothels where Asian women were being trafficked. Some of these employees were said to have spent anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000 a year in these brothels. The employees were even said to have communicated with these brothels while using their company emails.

    While both Amazon and Microsoft condemn these activities, if there is this cavalier attitude towards the trafficking of women in these companies who’s to say there aren’t similar attitudes in other tech companies in other regions of the country? With the slew of accusations of sexual harassment in Silicon Valley recently, could there also be an environment where brothels are frequented where women who can barely speak English are being kept against their wills. If the Seattle allegations are any indication then the answer seems to be yes.

     
  • Geebo 10:04 am on November 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon,   

    Amazon Key already hacked 

    Amazon Key already hacked

    Previously, we’ve discussed Amazon’s Key program which in theory would allow deliveries to be dropped off inside your home while you were away. A number of consumers and Amazon Prime members said they would not subscribe to the service due to security concerns such as having strangers in your home even though Amazon Key comes with a security camera.

    Those security fears may have been validated as Wired is reporting that a security research firm has successfully hacked the Key system. In a move that appears almost out of a movie, researchers were able to disable the Key camera in such away that in the camera’s view the door is closed while a rogue delivery person could be searching through your home.

    Amazon says that they will be issuing a software update to prevent these kinds of hacks from happening but that’s not to say that another exploit could be found in the future. With the Key already being exploited and the amount of trust you have to put into strangers being in your home, is the Amazon Key really worth it? We would have to say not at this point in time.

    With the prohibitive cost of purchase and installation, and now with security vulnerabilities, the Amazon Key may become Amazon’s New Coke.

     
  • Geebo 10:30 am on November 16, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, ,   

    Why Whole Foods’ price cuts aren’t good news 

    Why Whole Foods price cuts aren't good news

    In the run up to the Thanksgiving holiday, Amazon owned Whole Foods has announced deep price cuts on Thanksgiving staples and other products. Whole Foods has even gone so far as to say that the price cuts are permanent. This announcement has caused concern among other grocery outlets causing a number of their stocks to drop.

    However, things may not be as rosy as Whole Foods would have you believe. according to financial experts at Barclay’s, Whole Foods saw a decline in foot traffic after their initial sale to Amazon. Shoppers were curious at first to see how the new Whole Foods was, but now foot traffic into their stores has leveled off which could have triggered the new price cuts.

    These deep price cuts may be having a human cost as well. Many stores in the chain are said to have been reducing staff in order to compete. The stereotypical Whole Foods shopper seem to be more socially conscious than other shoppers. If they realize that their discounts are coming at the cost of jobs, that could definitely have an impact on Whole Foods bottom line. Would you want to shop in a store that was laying off employees just in time for the holidays?

     
  • Geebo 10:10 am on November 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon,   

    Prime members largely reject Amazon Key 

    Prime members largely reject Amazon Key

    Previously, we’ve discussed the service offered by amazon called Amazon Key. This service would allow Amazon deliveries to be left inside your house after Amazon Prime members would pay for a smart lock and a security camera for around $250. This would allow delivery people temporary access to your home to leave your packages inside the home. Amazon will be rolling out the service this week to 30+ cities this week but will it be a successful launch.

    According to tech blog Recode, it will not. They polled close to 8,000 people and according to Recode’s numbers, a majority of Amazon Prime members would not buy into the Amazon Key. Most of these Prime members cited security concerns as the main reason they would not enter the Key program. Non-Prime members were also polled and they also said that they found the idea of allowing strangers into the home unappealing. That’s not even taking into consideration liability problems that could arise from strangers being in your home if they injure themselves or if a pet were to attack or get loose.

    In a culture that has largely sacrificed security for convenience, it’s refreshing to see that not everyone is willing to forego common sense for self-gratification.

     
  • Geebo 9:07 am on November 2, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, , , walmart parties   

    There ain’t no party like a Walmart party 

    There ain't no party like a Walmart party

    If you’re the country’s largest retailer, but you’re losing ground to online competition, what do you do? You throw a party of course. Walmart has announced that in their run up to the holiday season will be holding ‘parties’ in their Supercenter stores in November and December. These parties, to be held on three separate weekends, will have increased stock at the stores with thousands of product demos.

    This is another attempt by Walmart to take advantage of what Amazon can’t do. One of the problems with Amazon is that you can’t have any hands on testing with the products before you buy them from the website. You have to rely on sometimes unreliable user reviews. Whereas with Walmart, you can actually go into a physical location during these parties and inspect the merchandise.

    The problem for Walmart is, that even with increased stock they won’t have the selection that Amazon wields. Walmart could very well find themselves in the same place that Best Buy found themselves in. Meaning that people will go to the stores to check out a certain piece of merchandise than order it from Amazon. Many consumers say that Best Buy is the best Amazon showroom there is and Walmart could find themselves in the same predicament this holiday season as more people continue to turn to online shopping in order to avoid the holiday crowds.

     
  • Geebo 10:47 am on October 31, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, ,   

    Are Amazon pharmacy rumors changing the healthcare landscape? 

    Are Amazon pharmacy rumors changing the healthcare landscape?

    Previously, we’ve posted about rumors of Amazon getting into the Pharmacy Benefit Management business. Those rumors became more substantial recently as the St. Louis Dispatch reported that Amazon has received approval for wholesale pharmacy licenses in at least 12 states.

    While Amazon has refused to comment on these license approvals or whether or not they’re getting into the wholesale pharmacy game, that hasn’t stopped some businesses from reacting. Pharmacy chain and industry leading benefit manager CVS has put a bid of $66 million to try to purchase health insurer Aetna. If the purchase goes through, this would put CVS on par with UnitedHealthcare who has their own healthcare and pharmacy benefits. This would streamline pharmaceutical procedural operations for the potentially new CVS/Aetna and has the potential to save consumers money with their healthcare and pharmacy benefits being under one roof.

    However, the Amazon effect on this story should not be ignored. Billions of dollars have been put into action just on the rumor that Amazon is getting into the pharmaceutical market. When one solitary company has historically wielded that much power it ends up being targeted by the Federal Trade Commission. Maybe not during this administration, but in the future could we see Amazon being broken up like Bell Telephone was in the 1980s? If history is any indicator than the answer leans toward yes.

     
  • Geebo 8:41 am on October 26, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon,   

    Amazon wants you to pay for the privilege of receiving your order 

    Amazon wants you to pay for the privilege of receiving your order

    Not too long ago we talked about how Amazon was working on a system that would allow your deliveries to be left inside your home. Now, Amazon has made that system official as they have announced their Amazon Key service.

    That sounds all well and good, however, Amazon seems to really want you to have to pay for the privilege of allowing strangers into your home. First you need to be an Amazon Prime member which costs $99 a year. Then you’ll have to pay $250 for the Amazon Key package which includes a security camera and smart lock which can be unlocked by delivery people with an app. This sounds like it’s designed for people with disposable income who probably already live in decent neighborhoods who don’t experience that much package theft.

    Then there’s the point of allowing strangers into your home while you’re not there. Camera or not, that’s still inviting a host of problems from theft of all sorts to stalking, to who knows what. One executive connected to the program said that people will come to trust these deliveries like they’ve come to trust Uber and Lyft. The only problem with that argument is rideshare drivers are letting you into their car, while Amazon Key let’s strangers into your home while you’re not there.

     
  • Geebo 9:04 am on October 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, , ,   

    Are big retailers trying to squeeze out Whole Foods? 

    Are big retailers trying to squeeze out Whole Foods?

    According to a report from Reuters, Amazon is facing an uphill battle when it comes to not only opening new Whole Foods locations, but also what they can provide in existing locations. Many big box retailers such as Target and Best Buy have leasing agreements with their stores’ property owners that can limit what other stores can do.

    For example, Many Target stores have a clause in their leasing agreements that prevents nearby stores from providing lockers where they can pick up online orders. That was one of the main reasons as to why Amazon bought Whole Foods in the first place. Some Best Buys have clauses that prohibit electronics from being sold on less than 250 square feet of floor space. This could inhibit Whole Foods from selling Amazon’s Echoes and Kindles. Bed Bath and Beyond also has a clause that prevents some nearby stores from selling linens and other housewares. Many of the stores’ spokespeople say this is a common business practice when it comes to multi-store properties.

    However, Amazon should never be counted out. Considering they took a simple book selling website and it turned it into the world’s largest online retailer they’ve face hurdles like this before and have always come out on top.

     
  • 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.

     
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