Archive for General Information

Is Amazon Playing Defense To Walmart?

It blows my mind that retail has come to Amazon vs Walmart.

Walmart. Really?

It seems so, and Amazon has taken notice.

It seemed to start with Walmart’s purchase of … that was the first time people started paying attention to the fact that Walmart was eyeing Amazon as the one to beat. And back then, to many, it seemed like a futile attempt on Walmart’s part.

At that point, Walmart’s “ship to store” and “buy online, pick up in store” were painful to be nice. Ship to store would take up to 7 days, even at a time where Kohl’s was stepping in with two to four hour pick up windows. What was even more jarring was when you’d order something online to pick up in store, be told to wait 7 days, but visit the store in the meantime and see that item on the shelf, ready to go. Made no sense.

They also toyed with the idea of hiring customers to deliver online purchases and, more recently, having employees deliver orders on their way home from work. Many saw these as feeble attempts to try to be like Amazon, even if just a little.

But then the retailer got serious.

It seems that the purchase of started something big between the two retailers. Amazon started to take notice, and Walmart steadied itself and became more significant.

Outside of buying, what else has Walmart done?

  • Made significant improvements to its Ship to Store and Buy online, pickup in store features.


  • Implemented a two day delivery program (dubbed ShippingPass) at a reduced rate of $49.99 a year compared to Amazon’s Prime at $99.00 a year.


  • Walmart quickly ditched this program, refunded ShippingPass members who paid the membership fee, and lowered the minimum purchase to qualify for free shipping to $35 to be more in line with Amazon.

Earlier this month, Amazon took a big swipe at Walmart and the grocery industry by announcing the purchase of Whole Foods. Unfortunately, this major announcement trumped Walmart’s announcement, which came only hours later, that the purchased Bonobos, a men’s online retailer, in an attempt to continue to expand their online presence.

It’s been fascinating to watch these two retailers to see what happens next.

But why is Amazon seemingly most worried about Walmart, more so than other retail giants such as Target? It’s simple:

 Wal-Mart has stores within 10 miles of 90% of the U.S. population.

Walmart doesn’t need to worry about drone delivery, or addign distribution centers; they are already in place via their retail stores. By increasing their footprint online, they’re positioning the company to be a main competitor to Amazon.

While it’s interesting to watch how this develops over time, it’s sobering to remember that these two companies are responsible for the changing landscape of retail. Right now it seems like it’s hurting the industry overall, with some long standing retailers hurting to the point of potentially going out of business. However, change is not always negative, and while this appears to be a rough spot across the industry, the changes may be for the positive in the long run. Only time will tell.


Yelp Treats Users to Secret Menus


Yelpers in Chicago and DC have a reason to celebrate (and use their Yelp app) – “Order the Yelp” is happening this month!

This is a fun event hosted by Yelp, the well known and well used review site. During the event, restaurants local to the area will offer secret menus at a 50% discount, which is only available to those who check in via the Yelp app.

According to a recent Chicago article, there are many new and secret items being showcased. From the article:

As part of the “Order The Yelp,” 50 restaurants will offer new, never-before-seen items for their menus. These include Mongo Mousse and Mango Ice Cream at Artango Steakhouse, Yelp Steak N’ Fry Pizza at Dimo’s, George’s Feta Dog at George’s Hot Dogs, A Double Decker Yelp Lamb Shammi Burger at Hakka Bakka, The Check In Sandwich at Pastoral, Tsukemen Yelp Ramen at Strings and 5 Star Yelp Balls at Yum Dum Food Truck!

Chicago’s “Order the Yelp” event goes through June 17th and it looks like the Washington DC Metro is hosting a similar event through June 30th.

This is a win-win situation for restaurants and customers. Restaurants can increase business by offering secret menu items, which will in turn increase the restaurant buzz. Because customers need to check in with their Yelp app, they may be more inclined to talk about the restaurant. Customers, on the other hand, are getting first shot at new menu items and a nice discount for their patronage.

Is your restaurant active on Yelp? Even if you’re not, it’s likely your customers are. Take a look at claiming your business on Yelp and using the site as another way to gain followers. Who knows – maybe next time your restaurant can participate in “Order the Yelp.”


Shop Online? It May Cost You $1600 If You Live Here…


Gurnee, Illinois is a suburb of Chicago. It offers a wide range of amenities, including Six Flags Great America, the recently closed Key Lime Cove, and other popular attractions.

In fact, Gurnee does so well with taxes collected from local business – around $17.5 million – that the residents do not currently pay property tax.

That soon may change.

Gurnee Mayor Kristina Kovarik recently spoke to the members of the Gurnee Chamber of Commerce, and encouraged members to continue to shop locally, and encourage Gurnee residents to do the same.

She expressed concern that the increase in online shopping is hurting local business. If local business doesn’t thrive, the town won’t see the same level of sales tax revenue. If that continues to happen, the Mayor indicated that residents may have to start paying property taxes in the future.

The impact of the increase in online shopping has made the news as it affects brick and mortar retail stores – we’ve heard plenty about retail giants like Sears, JC Penney, and Macy’s – but this shows the impact on a smaller, more personal level. It’s hurting small business, which in turn can impact residents.

While online shopping is convenient, its impact is becoming visible in many aspects of our lives. Does the answer lie with brick and mortar retail – do they start accommodating and gearing up to more of an online presence, or will we get to a point in the future where online shopping is one of the only options available to us?

Only time will tell.