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

    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 8:58 am on October 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: counterfeit goods, designer goods, , eBay Authenticate, retail   

    eBay cracks down on high end counterfeits 

    eBay cracks down on high end counterfeits

    If you’re an aficionado of designer accessories made by the likes of Louis Vuitton and Gucci, but are looking to buy them at a discount then you probably know the hazards of trying to avoid the counterfeits. Designer knock-offs have always been a blight upon the fashion industry and have been linked to everything from organized crime, to human trafficking and even terrorism by some reports. You almost have to act like an FBI investigator to try to authenticate any designer goods being sold online. However, you may not have to do that for long as eBay claims they’ve got your back.

    The online retail pioneer has just launched a program they call eBay Authenticate. For a fee, eBay will have a professional authenticator review the physical receipt of the item in question before allowing it to be sold to a buyer. This service is said to be specifically for the brands of Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Chanel, Gucci, Céline, Fendi, Christian Dior, Prada, Goyard, Balenciaga, Valentino, and Burberry. eBay says they expect to have more brands included in the program in 2018.

    So if this program is a success for eBay is stopping counterfeit sales, where will counterfeiters go to peddle their wares? I think we all know the answer to that. I won’t mention them by name, but it will probably be a certain classifieds site that does not care enough for their customers to moderate their own ads. In case you need another hint, their name rhymes with draigslist.

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

    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 8:59 am on September 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , retail,   

    Walmart not only takes on the last mile, but also the last few feet 

    Walmart not only takes on the last mile, but also the last few feet

    As we’ve mentioned on this blog many times before, in the battle between retail giants Amazon and WalMart, both companies are trying to solve the problem of the ‘last mile’. The last mile of delivery is said to be the most expensive part of home delivery. Now, WalMart has announced an endeavor where they intend to not only conquer the last mile, but the last few feet to the fridge as well.

    WalMart has partnered with a smart home company to allow delivery drivers to be able to drop off packages inside your home and will put perishables away in your refrigerator. The program will first test in certain markets and will be available to people who own August smart home devices. Delivery people will be given a one time code to be able to enter your home and place your packages inside rather than leaving the items on your doorstep.

    In theory, this is a great idea, however, in practice it has its flaws. Deliveries will be done by start-up Deliv. Deliv drivers are part of the gig economy meaning they’re basically Uber drivers for deliveries. With all due respect to both Uber and Deliv drivers, we’ve all read and heard stories about some less than reputable drivers that work for some rideshare start-ups. Even smart homes equipped with security cameras are vulnerable to potential abuses even if someone is let inside for one time only. I just don’t see consumers allowing people into their homes while they’re away just to have their milk put in the fridge by a stranger.

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

    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 8:57 am on September 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bodega, retail,   

    Why ‘Bodega’ won’t work 

    Why 'Bodega' won't work

    Yesterday, a new retail start-up made its splash onto the internet and you could say that it wasn’t the most auspicious of debuts. In a nutshell, the start-up called Bodega wants to put unmanned pantry boxes into places like apartment lobbies, gyms, student housing, offices, etc., so people won’t have to travel so far to get necessity items. Basically, the pantry boxes are just smart boxes that unlock with a phone app then charge your account for whatever you take. It’s like the unmanned stores Amazon are experimenting with except much smaller.

    The internet in general was not happy with Bodega’s debut after an article from Fast Company said that Bodega’s founders wanted to make mom and pop corner stores, the actual bodegas, obsolete. The complaints online ranged from accusations of cultural appropriation for using the word Bodega in their name to the claims that the Bodega boxes are nothing more than glorified vending machines.

    However, I think Bodega’s main drawback is that it’s largely ignoring a customer base from the bodegas they’re trying to replace. While their boxes may work in a perfect world imagined in Silicon Valley, in the real world a lot of people still use cash as their primary means of purchase, not everyone trusts or wants to use a smart phone app with their money. That’s not even taking into consideration that the boxes are not refrigerated, meaning as long as they don’t have milk and eggs people are still going to need their corner stores.

     
  • Geebo 8:59 am on September 12, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Darkstore, , retail, T-Force Final Mile   

    Start-up tries to solve the ‘last mile’ problem 

    Start up tries to solve the 'last mile' problem

    In the retail war between Amazon and WalMart, we constantly hear about the ‘last mile’. The last mile in the delivery chain is supposedly the most expensive phase of home delivery and each retail giant has been trying to solve that problem for years. Now a start-up out of San Francisco seems to have a plan that they think solves the last mile problem.

    Recently, noted tech blog TechCrunch did a write up on delivery fulfillment start-up Darkstore. Darkstore wants to take the fulfilment centers of retailers out of rural areas and bring them into bigger population centers in order to cut down time and cost on the last mile. Darkstore has storage space in several urban markets and uses delivery services like UberRUSH and Deliv to get the items to your door in a more timely manner.

    However, Darkstore just recently partnered with another delivery company called T-Force Final Mile which has expanded Darkstore to 40 markets nationwide. The problem is T-Force Final Mile used to be called Dynamex. Dynamex is also used by Amazon in some markets and have not had the glowing reviews that one would hope. Both Yelp and Amazon reviews contain stories of Dynamex allegedly delivering packages to the wrong address or not delivering them at all.

    Maybe this new partnership with Darkstore will cause T-Force Final Mile/Dynamex to improve their image and reputation, otherwise they could drag down Darkstore with them.

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

    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: , blimps, retail,   

    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.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on August 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , retail, 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.

     
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