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  • Geebo 9:00 am on March 30, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Humana, walmart   

    Is retail’s venture into healthcare dangerous? 

    Is retail's venture into healthcare dangerous?

    The Wall Street Journal is reporting that retail giant Walmart may be in talks to acquire one of the nation’s leading health insurers in Humana. If the acquisition talks were to be true, this would just be the latest in a series of talks between retail outlets and healthcare providers, but is it a good trend?

    Currently, pharmacy chain CVS is in talks to purchase Aetna, and Amazon has been looking to get into the pharmacy management business. With these acquisitions are we headed to a future if a healthcare cabal where only a few corporations can control reimbursement rates? It does seem to appear that way.

    With retail heading towards a duopoly between Walmart and Amazon these two companies once again are showing signs of trying to be all things to all people by also trying to control healthcare. If this trend continues, we may be seeing a single payer healthcare system in our future, but not one administered by the government for all citizens but rather by the profit driven iron fist of a possible single corporate entity for only those who could possibly afford it.

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

    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 10:00 am on January 26, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , e-books, Kindle, Rakuten, walmart   

    Walmart to take on Amazon’s core business 

    Walmart to take on Amazon's core business

    It’s been no secret that Amazon and Walmart have been at odds with each other recently with both retail giants trying to infringe on each other’s territory. Amazon has been expanding into the brick and mortar space while Walmart is trying to increase its online presence. Now, Walmart is trying to steal a part of Amazon’s customer base by launching their own line of what started Amazon’s success in the first place, books.

    Walmart has teamed with Japanese company Rakuten to start selling e-books and readers to compete with Amazon’s massive library of e-books available on their wildly successful Kindle e-reader. Does Walmart really expect to take a chunk out of Amazon’s book business? Barnes & Noble tried to take on Amazon with their Nook reader which was superior to the Kindle. While not exactly a failure it didn’t have nearly the success that the Kindle has. Also, with all due respect to Walmart, it’s never been seen as a book lover’s first destination to buy a new book.

    While on the surface it seems like a bold strategy from Walmart to try to further entrench themselves in the retail battle against Amazon, it seems more like an act of playground bravado with Walmart claiming ‘anything you can do I can do’. The problem is that books are Amazon’s bread and butter and are what basically turned the company into the success it is today. For Walmart to succeed in this space they would have to offer better deals for publishers and authors which may lead to higher prices of books and higher prices is just not Walmart’s way.

     
  • Geebo 9:07 am on November 2, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , walmart, 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 9:34 am on October 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Lord & Taylor, walmart   

    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 9:01 am on October 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , walmart   

    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 3, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Parcel, , walmart   

    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: , , , walmart   

    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 8:57 am on August 22, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , blimps, , walmart   

    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 8:33 am on July 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , walmart   

    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.

     
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