retail news in context, analysis with attitude

On the subject of the Amazon.com vs. Walmart.com battle, MNB user Jim Fletcher wrote:

You left out one big consideration I make in using Amazon over Walmart.com, no sales tax.  That can add up to quite a bit depending upon the purchase amount.  Also, my experience with Amazon has been very good.  UPS left an Amazon package at my front door once for me to arrive home to find it not there.  When I contacted Amazon, they refilled my order overnight at no cost to me.

But MNB user Jon Melior had another take:

Amazon has a real weak spot: its reliance on third-party vendors. My wife purchased a $300 juicer.  For one reason or another we didn’t get around to opening it for a couple weeks.  It was DOA. Amazon said they wouldn’t take it back because they’re not truly the seller; the other company wouldn’t take it back because they had a 15-day return policy (!).   If I’d purchased it from Walmart.com, I’m fairly certain I would have either a working juicer or a refund.

Good point. Though I believe that Walmart also has started working with third-party sellers on its site. So the same problems may apply.

And, from MNB user Deborah J. Maestu:

Another point to consider, even in economic downturns snobbery continues to exist. Some people just never will set foot/or internet time in a Walmart.  Amazon still has some coolness attached to it which Walmart never has.




On the subject of Kate McMahon’s piece yesterday about the nexus of social networking and online shopping at work, one MNB user wrote:

While I certainly agree with Kate’s post on many aspects, when I read that employees will spend up to 2 days this holiday season shopping on line I was a little surprised at that. I work for a retail chain (obviously). I try to be fair with all my teammates. At store level 95% of the employees do not have access to a computer. At corporate level I’d say 95% do have access. So if we go by the stats stated then we can assume that the corporate employees or spending 2 days this holiday season shopping from the comforts of their desk. What if the store level associates wanted equal access to online shopping? That would be extremely difficult to allow. While you write for the retail world, there is a huge difference between the store level and corporate level. What is allowed for one isn’t that easy for the other. At our company social networks at store level are blocked. Corporate level may or may not be I don’t know. I just find it hard to believe so many people justify wasting corporate assets. Don’t really know what the answer is, but I do know that social networks aren’t going any where.

You say that 95 percent of your in-store employees do not have computer access...but are you factoring in the possibility that they could have smart phones that give them such access without you even knowing about it?

MNB user Vic Hansen wrote:

As the world runs out of cheap fuel and people have to work together without being in the same place, social networking will be one of the keys to business survival. All the team spirit and cohesion generated by being together in the office and the coffee machine will still be needed so companies that don’t make use of social networking and collaboration tools will become dysfunctional and unable to compete. It seems an irony that long distance grandparents have discovered this before some of our business leaders.




We’ve had some discussion here on MNB about the future of newspapers, and MNB user Blake Steen weighed in:

I’m a 29 year old who does know what a newspaper stand is. However, I choose to walk by it.  Our local newspaper does no in depth reporting or as the gentleman said uncovering.  All the major articles are the AP and are not local.  The only good part is checking local baseball scores.  It is sad to watch an industry dwindle like this one.  My grandparents and parents would not dream of starting a day without reading a newspaper and it baffles them that I read the paper on my Wii game system.  I’m also one of those conservatives that believe the newspaper industry has done itself in with the editorial sections.  I know I know I’m not a Neocon Rush Limbaugh conservative but, I do feel this has had a negative impact on print media.  It is a subject that I like to talk about and I’m glad to see you covering it in your news beat.




And finally, regarding the naming of former Supervalu COO Mike Jackson as CEO of the National Grocers Association, MNB user Denis Zegar wrote:

I have known Mike Jackson for many years and have had the pleasure of his service on the Food For All board of directors.  Anyone who knows Mike, can attest to his passion for the independent grocer and knowledge of the grocery business.  I can think of no person better qualified to serve as President & CEO of NGA.  As President & CEO of Food For All, I am looking forward to working with Mike and NGA in furthering our mission of ending hunger worldwide.
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