Tagged: retail Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Geebo 9:31 am on May 25, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , banned, retail, returns   

    Amazon banning customers for too many returns 

    Amazon banning customers for too many returns

    Amazon offers a lot of incentives to get customers to try to use their service extensively. For example, Amazon offers its Prime membership to its users so the customer can have free shipping for the length of their membership, usually paid in an annual fee. Another one of those features was Amazon’s easy return policy. However, while Amazon wants you to order as many items as possible they’ll send out for ‘free’, don’t send back too many or you may not be an Amazon customer anymore.

    Reports came out this week that Amazon was banning customers who made excessive returns. Amazon claims it’s to prevent fraudulent returns but many customers say they were banned even though they made reasonable returns. Like too many tech companies, Amazon relies on an algorithm to identify potential abusers and only worries about false positives if the banned customer calls to complain. Apparently, Amazon lives by the edict that it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.

    Let’s be honest, mistakes happen in all retail spaces. Sometimes you get the wrong order or the product wasn’t exactly what you imagined when you received it. Now let’s translate Amazon’s policy to brick and mortar space. For example, Walmart has a very generous return policy. You can almost return a half-eaten fish stick to Walmart without a receipt and still get a refund. Now imagine you returned too many things to WalMart and you were not only banned from your local store but also from all the other Walmarts in the country.

    Amazon would do well to remember who it is that allows them to make all those billions of dollars in profit before customers start leaving their service without being banned.

     
  • Geebo 9:13 am on April 25, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , delivery, Key In Car, retail   

    Amazon now wants access into your car 

    Amazon now wants access into your car

    Recently, it was announced that Amazon has started a new delivery program called Amazon Key in Car. It’s similar to their Amazon Key service which allows delivery people to leave your packages inside your house, except now deliveries are left in your car. Once again, Amazon is asking you to put a lot of trust in them for the sake of convenience.

    This is an idea that Amazon has been toying with for some time now as previously they were said to be working with some kind of smart license plate holder in order to gain access to your car. However, Key In Car relies on existing service in order to open your car. In order to get Key In Car deliveries you need to have a late-model GM vehicle with the OnStar service or a Volvo with their On Call service. Of course, you’ll also need an Amazon Prime account and the service is only available in 37 cities so far.

    While many people will no doubt consider Key In Car as a viable option for them, to me it seems like it has too many points of failure to be trustworthy, not to mention the privacy issues. In a lot of cases, cars can contain more personal information than homes as many of us spend an inordinate amount of time in our cars due to long commutes or other circumstances. That’s not even taking into account the information Amazon could gain access to through the OnStar and On Call services. We’re all up in arms about Facebook’s privacy leaks but since Amazon is sending us creature comforts we’re more than willing to give up our privacy.

     
  • Geebo 8:57 am on March 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , grocery delivery, retail,   

    Walmart offering home grocery delivery in its war with Amazon 

    Walmart offering home grocery delivery in its war with Amazon

    Retail giant Walmart has fired the latest shot in their ongoing battle with Amazon. After Amazon purchased Whole Foods last year, a number of grocery chains started offering home delivery. Since Walmart is the nation’s leader in grocery sales, they’ve announced that they will be rapidly expanding home grocery delivery into at least 100 cities over the coming year. Currently, through Whole Foods, Amazon only offers that service in six markets.

    The main difference between the two services, besides availability, is cost. With Amazon, you need an Amazon Prime membership which can cost as much as $99 a year. Walmart’s new delivery service will be a $9.95 flat fee per delivery and deliveries have to include at least $30 worth of groceries. While that may seem a little exorbitant at first, at least it’s not Whole Food prices and no membership is required.

    On the one hand, Walmart’s new delivery service could be great for lower-income families who may not have the transportation to get to a local grocery store. When you factor in costs such as public transportation, taxis, or ride share programs like Uber, the $9.95 delivery fee doesn’t seem so bad. However, with Walmart and Amazon battling it out like this for retail dominance, the shadow of a duopoly continues to loom over consumers. While better access to affordable food is always a good thing, what happens if only two corporations control those avenues?

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

    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 11:02 am on February 9, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , retail,   

    Amazon offering Whole Foods delivery amid stock shortages 

    Amazon offering Whole Foods delivery amid stock shortages

    As of yesterday, members of Amazon Prime can have orders from Whole Foods delivered to their homes. So far the program is only available in Dallas, Austin, Cincinnati, and Virginia Beach although Amazon has full plans to roll out the service nationally. Prime members will be able to get Whole Foods orders delivered to their homes in two hours as long as the order is over $35. With Whole Foods’ pricey reputation that could be just a bag of Kale and a bottle of Sriracha sauce.

    In all seriousness though, one has to wonder if this announcement will only compound the preexisting problems at Whole Foods. Previously we’ve not only posted about how the shelves on many Whole Foods stores are close to barren thanks to their ordering procedure, but we’ve also discussed how employee morale is at an all-time low thanks to an almost Orwellian employee review system.

    Before Amazon starts offering new programs in their bid to be the global retail solution, maybe they should fix problems already plaguing their acquisitions. As of right now, this new delivery program is akin to adding an addition to a house that’s on fire. In their quest for retail dominance is Amazon starting to cut off their own nose to spite their face?

     
  • Geebo 9:55 am on February 2, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: retail,   

    Is Whole Foods reducing employees to tears? 

    Is Whole Foods reducing employees to tears

    There used to be a time where even jobs in retail meant you could work for a store or chain for years and actually experience growth and financial stability in your career. Nowadays it seems like most retailers encourage high turnover and less working hours in order to maximize profits for the company itself.

    Take Whole Foods for example. Previously ,it’s been made public that its OTS ordering system has left shelves empty at most of their stores while supposedly saving the company money from wasted food, however, it seems much more onerous than that.

    According to Business Insider, the OTS program is so stringent that there are scorecards and inspections among While Foods employees that are causing many of them to either quit or cause them to have emotional breakdowns for fear of failing one of these exams. This is coming from a company that prides itself on being an asset to the communities where it does business, but how can it be an asset when its breaking down its employees mentally, financially and emotionally to the point where they have to look for jobs elsewhere?

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

    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 10:10 am on January 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , retail,   

    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 11:30 am on December 18, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: retail,   

    Sears: The Ghost of Christmas Past 

    Sears: The Ghost of Christmas Past

    There once was a time, in the days before publicly available internet, that this was a magic time of year. The once powerful retail outlet Sears would release their massive Christmas catalog known as the Wishbook. At the time, this was every kid’s favorite time of the year as the Wishbook allowed the kids of America to see all the new hot toys for that year’s Christmas.

    Fast forward to today and Sears is mostly an afterthought when it comes to holiday shopping. These days most of us will either take to Amazon to avoid the crowds, or will brave the crowds of Walmart to try to get a reasonable deal. So what happened to Sears? For the most part, the internet happened to Sears.

    Every year, we hear about how Sears is on the verge of bankruptcy but have survived another year somehow. This year they made deals with Amazon to sell their Craftsman and Diehard brand of products. However, in the online space, Sears barely has a presence. This was a company that was founded on the premise of easy mail order so you would think that it would have easily pivoted to the online marketplace. Instead, it doubled down on its brick and mortar stores and cancelled its catalogs back in 1993. That was one hundred years after the founding of Sears & Roebuck. Now in yet another attempt to survive, Sears is closing many of their Kmart stores, which they purchased back in 2004, again placing their faith in brick and mortar.

    Sears had the potential to modernize their business and could have been Amazon before Amazon. Instead, they’ll soon be a reminder that no business lasts forever no matter how successful they may have been in the past.

     
  • Geebo 10:01 am on November 22, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , retail   

    Why you should stay home on Black Friday 

    Why you should stay home on Black Friday

    With Thanksgiving now upon us, consumer eyes will quickly turn to the holiday season which kicks off with Black Friday. Many of us will trudge down to our local big box stores, with some even camping out, in order to get a good deal on gifts for the holidays. However, is the effort put into Black Friday shopping really worth it? Most consumer groups say no.

    Retailers aren’t in the business to lose money and many Black Friday deals are too good to be true. Many retailers will raise the price of an item, just to offer what appears to be a deep discount on Black Friday. Also items that are listed as being in limited stock on Black Friday often reappear into stores in the weeks leading up to the holidays. Not to mention it goes without saying that most of what’s offered on Black Friday in stores can be found for the same price or even cheaper online.

    That’s not even taking into account the cost of your time and effort into going from store to store looking for the best deal. In the long run that time could be better spent either with your family and friends or enjoying some much-needed leisure time. Let’s also not lose our outlook on life just because of holiday pressure. While it may be disappointing to not get the greatest deal, it’s not the be all and end all of the holidays if you don’t get the latest shiniest gadget or fad item for the holidays.

    So please, stay safe take care this Thanksgiving weekend.

     
c
Compose new post
j
Next post/Next comment
k
Previous post/Previous comment
r
Reply
e
Edit
o
Show/Hide comments
t
Go to top
l
Go to login
h
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
Cancel