Tag Archive for amazon

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 Jet.com … 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 Jet.com started something big between the two retailers. Amazon started to take notice, and Walmart steadied itself and became more significant.

Outside of buying Jet.com, 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.

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Why Amazon Continues to be Awesome (Hint: Don’t Throw Out Your Boxes)

 

amazon-goodwill

 

Just when you think Amazon could not outdo itself, it does just that.

This year the company is partnering with Goodwill to make use of their many empty boxes and helping a great cause. According to a recent article from Business Insider, it’s very simple:

  • Collect your used, empty Amazon boxes. (You can also use boxes from other selected retailers.) Make sure your order isn’t still in there.
  • Pack it with the stuff you want to donate to Goodwill. Here’s a suggested list of items Goodwill accepts.
  • Print a shipping label from givebackbox.com.
  • Drop the box off at UPS or the post office. Shipping will be free, and the box will go to the nearest participating Goodwill.

I think this is a wonderful way to encourage donations! With Amazon being the best performer of the season, it’s likely that boxes are stacked high in homes around the world – this is an outstanding way to recycle the boxes while serving a great cause.

Amazon continues to lead the pack in sales for the holiday season, but this newest partnership makes them even more awesome.

As a fun side note, Amazon has shared a variety of interesting statistics in a press release related to the holiday shopping season; here are some of the highlights:

 

  • More than one billion items shipped worldwide with Prime and Fulfillment by Amazon this holiday season.
  • More than 72 percent of Amazon customers worldwide shopped using a mobile device this holiday.
  • There are now 45,000 robotics units working alongside Amazon associates in more than 20 fulfillment centers.
  • The last Prime Now order delivered in time for the holiday was delivered at 11:59 p.m. on December 24, 2016 to a Prime member in Irvine, California. The order included a Heated Mattress Pad, NyQuil and Afrin Nasal Spray.(Sounds like someone wasn’t feeling well!)
  • The last Prime FREE Same-Day Delivery order from Amazon.com that was delivered in time for Christmas was ordered at 10:23 a.m. on December 24, 2016. The order included Venum Contender Boxing Gloves, and was delivered to a Prime member in Richmond, Virginia at 2:42 p.m. – the same day
  • Amazon.com customers purchased enough 4K TVs to reach the peak of Mount Everest more than 9 times.
  • Amazon.com customers purchased enough KitchenAid Mixers this holiday to make nearly 7.5 million cookies at once.
  • Amazon.com customers purchased enough luggage to fill 20 Boeing 747 airplanes.

 

 

It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s an…Amazon Drone?

 

It looks like Amazon is serious about their newest plan for speedy delivery.

 

Their Prime Air program has been discussed before, but it looks like Amazon is taking steps to launch the program in 2015, if they can get approval from the FAA to begin testing.

 

Prime Air’s goal is to speed up the already lightning fast Amazon delivery via the use of drones. If you haven’t heard of this before now, here is a quick video showing how it might work:

 

 

 

The idea is to offer a 30 minute delivery of Amazon purchases, making it by far the quickest way to shop online.

 

At the current point, Amazon is requesting permission from the FAA to test this idea. However, there are many factors in play that will need to be worked out revolving around safety exemptions to the FAA’s restriction on commercial use of drones. However, it looks like Amazon is really trying to make this a reality in the next generation of online shopping.

 

In addition to offering speedy delivery, the company claims that the use of drones will reduce shipping costs to the company, which they claim are currently $4 billion per year.

 

While this concept is fun and interesting, and there is no doubt it would be quite the sight to see a drone delivering your latest Amazon purchase, but how necessary is this? Have we really become a society where we need our purchases within 30 minutes?

 

I’m all for companies trying to enhance their services, but this is a program that might be a bit overboard. I’ll be curious to see the next steps, and eagerly await 2015 to see if it becomes a reality. This is no small undertaking – if any company can manage it though, it’s Amazon.