Let’s face it – the retail marketplace in America appears to be dying. Why? Largely because of online retailers like Amazon. Online purchases are quick and easy, but what about those people who like to kick tires and actually wander through stores? In this respect, Amazon has precious little to offer. But what about retail stores like Walmart? Walmart has both an online presence and a local retail outlet presence. Win-win for the consumer.
And, of course there is the need satisfaction time to consider. With Amazon, you have to wait for a day or more for your product to arrive, but with a retail store near you, you can just hop in your car, go to the store, and get your supplies immediately. That’s tough to do with Amazon, although they are smart enough to try and solve the timeliness problem of their deliveries with their Prime delivery options. Good for Amazon.
But, having retail stores act like local warehouses breaks down the huge single or few warehousing problem into smaller, more easily managed pieces and allows local stores to become the local depot for consumers. Isn’t this idea grand? I think so.
BTW, I should note that another manufacturing/retailing computer memory manufacturing company with which I am quite familiar (Kingston Technology) actually uses a slightly different approach. Kingston offers all customers, whether OEMs, distributors, local computer dealers, or end users, same day shipments on all orders, and then Kingston lets the customer decide how fast they want delivery by having the customer pay for their own shipping charges. Inside Kingston, the company manages all of its own vendor materials, manufacturing operations, order processing, customer financing, and shipment processing in a very fluid and, by now, time tested operation. Kingston also offer lifetime warranty on most of its computer memory products. Thus, Kingston, in its own conservative manner, has basically changed the way the computer memory business operates. Historically, no other computer manufacturing company could keep up with Kingston’s rapid new product development, or its rapid shipment and delivery capabilities. Even computer manufacturers and memory OEMs and competitors started buying products from Kingston – Kingston was, and still is, that good.
Getting back to Amazon v Walmart, there is one dark side of Amazon, and maybe Walmart as well. Amazon is now doing its own version of book burning by controlling what books and materials it will sell online. Does Walmart do this also? I ask these questions because it is clear to many of us that the US is no longer free, and that governments and businesses are playing politics with what we can see and what we can buy. The concept of freedom for the individual, and the idea that adults are able to make their own choices without government controls, seems to be a thing of the past. And that is sad for every freedom loving human alive. As long as we are not hurting others in our purchase and/or our own individual actions, why are we being controlled so miserably? Why are we losing our freedoms of choice on a daily basis? Why are our own freedoms such a threat to big government and big business?
Anyway, those last questions aside, here is an article on Walmart’s changing contribution to the consumer marketplace. As I noted in the title for this post, I love competition. Now – let’s get Petco, Sears, and the rest of the shopping mall retailers to act the same way. In my opinion, this Walmart approach is a great idea, and may help transform the retail marketplace back into something of value for us all.
From the linked article:
“Walmart is the biggest employer in the country and the largest retail company in the world, but it’s currently locked in a battle for consumers’ dollars with Amazon that dominates online shopping. Walmart hopes to leverage one staggering fact: 90% of Americans live within 10 miles of a Walmart store.
“In a recent talk at the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference in Austin, Walmart’s chief technology officer Jeremy King revealed how the company is thinking of new ways to take advantage of its vast physical footprint to make the shopping experience more convenient for customers, whether in-person or online.”