Tag Archive for walmart

Walmart Uses Google and Uber in Walmart-Amazon War

 

 

 

I find this Walmart-Amazon war fascinating; if you’ve read this blog, you may have read an earlier post on how Walmart and Amazon continue to try to one up each other in the fight for becoming the world’s retail giant.

It looks like Walmart is responding to Amazon’s latest purchase of Whole Foods and indicating that they will lower prices in an attempt to “change the face of grocery shopping.”

They are planning to partner with two big name companies, namely Google and Uber, to expand their service offerings.

First, they are testing grocery delivery via Uber in Denver and Orlando currently to see if this could be a new offering. In the past, Walmart has tried various other options, including considering the use of their own employees and, more interestingly, their own customers (this one never saw the light of day of course).

More interestingly, they are also partnering with Google to provide streamlined online shopping. The first step will begin in September when Walmart’s items are available for purchase via Google Express. In the long term, they are hoping to be able to offer online purchasing through Google Assistant or Google Home, similar to Amazon Echo.

The moves are interesting. On one hand, Walmart could be starting a new phase with their delivery – Ubereats turned UberMart or UberRetail perhaps – or they could not be successful at either of these new ventures and be seen worldwide as the ones who continue to chase Amazon and never really catch up.

Walmart is a retail giant, no doubt, but I believe Amazon is still the stronger of the two. However, Walmart definitely has its sights set on Amazon and seem to be working quickly to catch up and possibly pass them by.

So it seems the Walmart-Amazon war continues, and for now Walmart seems to be making headway. We’ll keep an eye on these new developments and wait for the next move in this retail game of chess.

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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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Check Cashing Scam: A Plea to Banks, Walmart, and MoneyGram

 

It’s not new, but it continues to live on, and for unsuspecting folks, it can put them in a bad financial situation.

The check cashing scam continues to make its rounds, and unfortunately I have received plenty of calls in the last few weeks from people who received a check ranging from $1,000-$3,000 posing as a “mystery shopping assignment.” If the recipient deposits the check into their bank account, and wires money as instructed, their own hard earned money is long gone, because that check is not worth the paper its written on.

Now, I will say that most people can tell it’s a scam right off the bat, but there are many that fall victim and don’t do research until it’s too late.

As a consumer, there are always tried and true rules of thumb:

  • If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Do your research BEFORE heading to the bank – as an example, we have a disclaimer on our home page that provides information to those who may have received a check in the mail.
  • Always be suspicious of unsolicited emails/offers
    • look for an email address that is hosted by a company (not AOL, gmail, etc) – companies typically have email addresses that correspond with their company.
    • Do NOT click on any links in any email – it’s best to do a Google Search for the company in question and search that way – clicking on links may lead you down a bad path.
    • Do not give any personal information in an email reply unless you know the person. Even then, proceed with caution.

As I’ve fielded phone calls, I realized that there is more that can be done by companies to help those who are about to fall victim to this scam.

  • One person attempted to wire money at their local Walmart’s MoneyGram station. The employee asked a simple question – do you know this person you’re wiring money to? – and, when the person replied they did not, the employee told them it was likely a scam and refused to process the wire transfer.
  • I received a call from a check cashing facility. The employee wanted to verify a check, which was of course part of the scam. She said that she had heard about the scam and she was taking an extra precaution before cashing it. The person was not allowed to cash the check, and was informed it was likely not real.
  • Another individual attempted to deposit the check in the bank. The banker noticed the high amount of the check and looked into it, only to learn that the check was not real.

In these three instances, employees took an extra step to try to save someone from becoming the next victim.

Since this is a well known scam, it would be advantageous to educate staff across banks, credit unions, check cashing facilities, and even Walmart customer service staff who deal with MoneyGram. Education and employing simple steps in the customer service process can go a long way. Below are some simple suggestions:

  • Banks & credit unions – look for money orders or cashier’s checks for large sums of money, and be extra cautious about them. Ask the customer questions about the sender of the check. While some may feel that this is intrusive, the ones that are about to fall victim will certainly thank you! If your staff explains the reason for asking, customers should be more understanding about the intent.
  • MoneyGram/Western Union/Walmart – I include Walmart because the majority of letters I’ve seen instruct people to go to their nearest Walmart to wire funds. I have reached out to Walmart Corporate, and have not yet received a response. There are a couple of things to look for and ask here:
    • Often times, though not always, the scam instructs people to wire money to the same person twice. This should be a red flag that something may not be quite right.
    • Include a question that asks the customer if they know the person they are sending funds to. Again, customers may feel this is intrusive, but it could save a person or two from sending their money away to scammers.

Unfortunately, these scammers are good at what they do, and strive to be as realistic as possible. We can all work together to educate the public while employing simple questions into customer interactions to potentially save people from becoming victims.

 

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