retail news in context, analysis with attitude

MNB reported yesterday about how dunnhumby is out with its fourth annual Retailer Preference Index (RPI), concluding that Amazon is most preferred by US consumers - a leap seen as driven by safety concerns created by the pandemic.

MNB reader Glenn Cantor responded:

My household continues to regularly shop for our groceries in a variety of local, physical stores.  Two, Aldi and Lidl, are relatively new and always crowded.  The traditional grocery chains in my area have not appreciably changed their retail shopping experiences as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.  For example, daily necessities are still located in the same places.  Milk and eggs are in the back, and shopping for ready-to-eat deli is still a pain the butt.  Also, paper towels and toilet paper are stocked in the very far, back corners of two of our regular stores.  In fact, other than the increase in store-employed shoppers, the wearing of masks, and offering one or two hours a week for seniors, I cannot think of any notable changes or improvements made to improve the shopping experience. 

P.S.  Stores needs to make sure the hand sanitizer and wipes at their front entrances are kept full.

I respect the fact that your shopping experience isn't much changed.  I'm not sure that invalidates the dunnhumby findings … and I think that retailers ignoring the shift could find themselves disadvantaged in the long term.

MNB reader Joe Axford wrote:

Kind of ironic that Kroger isn't in the top 20...

Fair point.

More comments about Feargal Quinn and his Superquinn stores.  MNB reader Gwen Morrison wroteL:

Loved the comments in your newsletter today.  While running WPP’s Global Retail Practice, we made the pilgrimage to Ireland. I was struck by F. Q.’s  refusal to let being at the top interfere with his connection to the customer.

He strayed from our small group to help a shopper in the parking lot unload groceries and then took her trolly back to the store. Feargal was religious about attending customer focus groups each week and took actions from these sessions.

Great lessons for any business.  Thanks for the reminder.

Responding to the continued discussion about Instacart, one MNB reader wrote:

Yes, there are drawbacks to any process, however, look at the over all experience.  The shopper may be looking for an item that cannot be found because it is OOS.  That has nothing to do with the shopping service, it is supply chain. That OOS is what creates the back and forth messaging they referred to.  Regarding “ditching” a custom cut, that has been a problem since groceries stores been around.  It is not inherent to Instacart or other shopping services.  

So now let’s not forget, the “customer” is shopping from the comfort of their home and their groceries are delivered to their door step.  They don’t have to go out, if they can’t or don’t want to.  They don’t have to stand in lines at the register because the store is understaffed (not in every store) to get out the door.  While still patronizing their favorite store.

Seems to me, if I had a store, I would welcome the “shoppers” and find away to connect to the customer, so that they know how appreciative the store was for their continued business.  What a novel idea.

Regarding the drone delivery test that will take place in The Villages, one MNB reader wrote:

I don’t know about anyone else, but if I lived in The Villages and had these high pitched drones buzzing around all the time, I think it would be very annoying.  Way too “Jetsons” for me.

We noted yesterday that a number of businesses - including, now, Walmart - are cutting back on their political contributions because of current events.  One MNB reader reacted:

One of the best things that could happen from all this is the removal of PACS – removal of all money going to Congress so people might actually put people into office who really do act on behalf of the people instead of acting on behalf of where the money is coming from. 

I really don’t trust big business because big business, most of the time, makes decisions based on profit or worse: GREED.  A LOT of our health problems, environmental problems, social problems, and economic problems stem from BIG BUSINESS and their desire for profit and at the head of those big businesses are CEO’s who answer to stock holders and boards of directors – and within that mix of people, there are undoubtedly some who are solely out for more money.   Not saying ALL of them are bad, but the pressure to grow profit can be overwhelming and we are living in a time where money has the power. This article says business is our 4th branch of government and God help us if that is true.  I’ve worked for many different CEOs and I can say first hand – I would NOT have wanted most of them interfering in our government.

Our constitution was not written based on who would gain from it monetarily – it was written with Godly principles of what is best for the people,  what brings freedom and justice,  NOT MONEY.    When all people in government have people, freedom, and justice in mind and they vote and act according to those principles, we will be a lot better off for it.

MNB reader Charles Bartell chimed in:

Amazon is going to pay a price for removing Parler from the AWS platform.  Jeff Bezos will be seen as having too much power.  Freedom of speech is sacred in the United States.  This move was a step too far.


I'm not sure about that.  I wonder how many people will give up their Prime memberships and "free" two-day delivery because Parler is harder to access.

And, for the record, Amazon argues that by refusing to police violent content on its site, Parler was in violation of its rules of service.

“This case is not about suppressing speech or stifling viewpoints,” Amazon’s attorneys write. “Instead, this case is about Parler’s demonstrated unwillingness and inability to remove from the servers of Amazon Web Services ('AWS') content that threatens the public safety, such as by inciting and planning the rape, torture, and assassination of named public officials and private citizens.”

And you think it was Amazon that went too far?