11 Jul

Retail Stores vs. Amazon, Part 2 (2012)

On Retail Stores vs. Amazon (May 2012) I wrote about the issue that local retail stores are facing with respect to Amazon’s prowess:

Consumers visit a physical-local merchant/retail-store to see, try and feel a product, then compares prices online via their smartphone in real-time, then leaves the store. Many will go ahead an buy from Amazon, way cheaper, as Amazon has mastered the art of inventory, moving inventory and adjusting prices (in real-time). In addition, Amazon, to complement such sale, will show you something that pretty much is guaranteed that you will like and potentially buy.

Well, get ready, as it seems that things will be getting much more interesting for consumers, and much harder for local retail stores —
it seems that Amazon is planning a new push for same-day delivery.

Wow, think about it; consumers go to a local retail-store, sees, touches, feels, tries a product, then goes home/online and buys from Amazon-and receives the merchandise same day or almost same day!

Is it game over for Best Buy and similar?

Let’s take it a step further… Will Amazon open local stores similar to Apple Stores, but that carry no inventory? That is, the store’s whole purpose is for the customer to touch and feel and try the products right there, and order the products right there (or online) –products delivered the same day from one of Amazon’s new local/nearby warehouses? I predict that will be the case; at least some pilot stores.

And for local retail stores with inventory, believe me, you MUST adapt to the game, as I explained on Retail Stores vs. Amazon (May 2012).

ceo

03 May

Retail Stores vs. Amazon (2012)

Something subtle but very important occurred yesterday. I am talking about Target’s decision to stop selling Amazon’s Kindle e-readers (hyperlink: USA Today).

In the above article you can find one sentence that summarizes the struggle that Retailers have been facing:

Target’s decision to phase out the Kindle is also occurring as the retailer, along with other major merchants, is trying to fight a growing practice called “show rooming.”

Consumers visit a physical-local merchant/retail-store to see, try and feel a product, then compares prices online via their smartphone in real-time, then leaves the store. Many will go ahead an buy from Amazon, way cheaper, as Amazon has mastered the art of inventory, moving inventory and adjusting prices (in real-time). In addition, Amazon, to complement such sale, will show you something that pretty much is guaranteed that you will like and potentially buy.

There is such a huge opportunity for whomever solves this problem; of keeping the customer within the store and helping close the deal, right there — by bringing the right information to the floor, including adjusted prices, in real-time. As the article reads, retailers are trying to combat this via “exclusive merchandise” but that is not the right answer — the answer is “inventory-demand-data/intelligence + consumer lifetime value index + price adaptation, all in real-time”. Easy to say, hard to do. Amazon not only knows this but it has the advantage.

(Disclaimer: back in 2008 while at eZee, we saw this problem coming and we tried to build the above. Not only we were too early, but it is a very hard thing to build – we had to pivot the company. Merchants were not seeing what was coming their way. Today, merchants are not only recognizing this problem, but are living it; Best Buy, a company we tried to get into, is a good example of what I am talking about).

ceo

28 Jul

Amazon, the Kindle and 1984

Earlier this month Amazon not only pulled a number of eBooks from their online catalogs, but also deleted such eBooks from the Kindles of people who had purchased such eBooks. The reason: some kind of publishing/copyright debacle.

But ironic it is that one of the eBooks in question was 1984, the classic dystopian novel that introduced us, back in 1949, to “Big Brother”.

But the real novel is right now about the Dystopian (business) structures by companies such as Amazon (and Apple).

Dystopia begins with ignorance and the hope of an Utopian society or business structure that in the name of “our own good” or the “good of the business/investors” instead turns into a nightmare.

Today we have companies that can easily turn from their Utopian beginnings to true Dystopia — with our personal information that they own and control. And as in the case of Amazon, the *invasion by the company* which to them at first seemed such a natural course of action; but it was not.

Since then, Amazon has apologized and has promised not to do that again…

But this pattern will continue because *we* allow it to happen; we give up our own individual rights, via EULAs and Terms-and-Conditions; as I said, Dystopia begins with ignorance… And it is all around us; in businesses such as Apple, Amazon, MSFT, Google and other. And governments with their pervasive surveillance (and control), and the escalation on the rights of the individual.

ceo