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The making of Amazon Prime, the internet's most successful and devastating membership program

pedro47

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Amazon is one of the reason that brick and mortar retail stores liked Radio Shack, Foot Locker, Kmart, The GAP, Lerners, Toys r Us, Best Products, Sears, j C Penny, Montgomery Wards, Pay Less Shoes, Macy’s are in trouble or they are no longer in business. IMO.
 

bogey21

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Amazon is one of the reason that brick and mortar retail stores liked Radio Shack, Foot Locker, Kmart, The GAP, Lerners, Toys r Us, Best Products, Sears, j C Penny, Montgomery Wards, Pay Less Shoes, Macy’s are in trouble or they are no longer in business. IMO.
Color me stupid if you like but this is why I do right next to no business with Amazon...

George
 

DrQ

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It is just what Sears Roebuck and Company did in the 1890's when they disrupted the industry with their catalog sales.

Same idea.
 

Bucky

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I surely won’t blame Amazon for realizing what the people really wanted and taking steps to meet their demands! I do fault the others for not being able to read the writing on the wall and adjusting their business plans to be able to compete.

Amazon provides fair pricing (not always the best for sure), a wide variety of just about anything you can think of compared to the limited inventory by most retailers, a no hassle return policy (typically no cost, no restocking fees, etc), fast shipping (2 days, soon moving to one), no store hour to worry about, no traffic getting to their store, no rude people elbowing them while they shop, etc, etc,etc.

Amazon saw e-commerce as the future. The others saw it as a passing fancy! Brick and mortar stores lost sight of the carrot. Game over.
 

bbodb1

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Amazon is one of the reason that brick and mortar retail stores liked Radio Shack, Foot Locker, Kmart, The GAP, Lerners, Toys r Us, Best Products, Sears, j C Penny, Montgomery Wards, Pay Less Shoes, Macy’s are in trouble or they are no longer in business. IMO.
It is NOT that I disagree with the overall thrust of this statement but I think it is equally (if not more so) important to remember the businesses listed here FAILED to adapt to the changing times.
Businesses have (and will continue to) failed throughout the history of retail because they believed what they were doing and how they were doing it did not need to evolve. This could otherwise be called the Ma Bell theory.....

If I did not already know JC Penney was in a death spiral, a recent visit to a store confirmed that belief for me. While the store was reasonably stocked, there were so few employees in the store to wait on customers that long check out lines were the norm. Several registers - including the catalog pick desk - were shut down and all customers were instructed to use the one set of registers open at the front of the store even for catalog pickup needs. While this certainly appears to be very similar to the Wal Mart approach, the quality and type of items offered by JC Penney simply do not compete with the prices found elsewhere. Shopping in store has become a hassle everywhere and unless you have the lowest prices (or some compelling attraction) the Amazon's and Wal Mart's of the world are eating you alive. It is survival of the fittest and the most adaptable in the world of retail as it always has been. The pace of change is what has increased in recent years..
 

WVBaker

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Amazon is one of the reason that brick and mortar retail stores liked Radio Shack, Foot Locker, Kmart, The GAP, Lerners, Toys r Us, Best Products, Sears, j C Penny, Montgomery Wards, Pay Less Shoes, Macy’s are in trouble or they are no longer in business. IMO.
Understand that business is business. The main objective of these corporations is to make money by providing good/services. Jeff Bezos saw a need and created a company that worked to fulfill that need, much like Henry Ford, Jack Welch, Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, etc. Any business succeeds by satisfying it's customers by providing them satisfactory products and services.

Don't blame Amazon for the failure of other corporations to change in order to meet those needs. Blame the others for failing not to keep up with an ever changing market.
 

geist1223

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How many of the big chains started failing after they were taken over by Investment Types vice Retailers?
 

WinniWoman

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I was always a big catalog shopper back in the day. I easily adapted to on line shopping. Most things I have only found on-line- even on websites for Sears, Macy's and JC Penny. Could not find the things in the physical stores.

Got all my new kitchen appliances online through Sears - all the models rated highly on Consumer Reports. No physical store had any of them.

I love Amazon. I can't find things we need in the retail stores and I can look for hours-waste time. Nope- I order on Amazon most all the time.

Example- I needed another light weight robe for the upcoming season. But I like it down to my ankles and long sleeves for summer due to air conditioning. Try to find one in a store. Nope. Amazon- yup! $29.99.

I wanted a knee pillow for when I sleep but didn't want to spend $30. Went on Amazon- found a great one for $11.

Needed a replacement filter for our home water system, but didn't want to spend $44 or more since it needs replacing every three months. Went on Amazon- found one for $15.99.

All came to my door Friday afternoon.

Did I mention I can reorder hard to get items on Alexa just by asking?

Just recently my husband wanted to buy that Bengay like product called "HEET". No stores had it. Amazon had it- but way expensive. Found it on Walgreens- on-line only for $9 and had it shipped free to the Walgreens near my husbands workplace.

It's a new world. Adapt.

I am now thinking of maybe getting an inexpensive robot vacuum. Where?- on Amazon. The price just went down $40 from yesterday.
 
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breezez

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Business needs to adapt to the needs / demands of the customers those that don't will not survive. Those that do will flourish. Trust me there are things I don't like about Amazon... But 80% of my purchases on items other than food come from them. Remember when Walmart was first founded there claim to fame was MADE IN AMERICA, you won't find to many made in America products in Walmart now.

Unlike any generation before in our time, our society is all about convenience, everyone wants to be serviced, this is why people eat out, get someone else to mow the grass, someone to trim their hand and toe nails, clean their house etc. Amazon is catering to that convenience factor.

They are not always the cheapest, but they are almost always the fastest with competitive pricing.

At holiday times I don't have to go shop the mad house stores to then wait in line at the post office to spend more than my gift was worth to send it. I just have amazon send it free under my prime account. If I feel so inclined they will even gift wrap the item for me for a reasonable price.

In our area you can get Prime Now where they typically will deliver stuff in around 2 hours during daylight hours. This is good for last minute grocery items, batteries and other items you may need but don't feel like running to the store for. Heck I have even had them deliver one of my favorite IPA's "Elysian's Space Dust" and they can bring it cheaper than my local grocery store has it.

Amazon did have some help in the way they crushed their competition from the onset. Because what originally gave them great appeal was the no sales tax being collected. Now they collect tax almost every where, so this advantage was lost, but the damage to competitors was already done.

So what areas will Amazon disrupt next. I see 3 large ones. Groceries - In large metro areas I expect them to put a hurting on the grocery chains... You have start ups like SHIPT that provide delivery services, but these are done at prices more expensive than buying in the stores. I see them with their warehousing and new grey delivery trucks rolling being able to deliver stuff and at prices competitive if not cheaper than your local grocery store. Package Delivery Service - Look out UPS, FEDEX, and USPS. Amazon will be coming after you guys soon... Once they get a good amount of those Amazon Delivery Trucks around the country, not only will Amazon be delivering your prime packages in 1 day.... But I look to see them offset their costs by being a shipping carrier also.. Prescription Drugs - with 50% of American's taking some form of drug on a daily basis this is to lucrative not to be involved in. So I for sure see them getting involved in this area.

Just my two cents worth!
 

dioxide45

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So what areas will Amazon disrupt next. I see 3 large ones. Groceries - In large metro areas I expect them to put a hurting on the grocery chains... You have start ups like SHIPT that provide delivery services, but these are done at prices more expensive than buying in the stores. I see them with their warehousing and new grey delivery trucks rolling being able to deliver stuff and at prices competitive if not cheaper than your local grocery store. Package Delivery Service - Look out UPS, FEDEX, and USPS. Amazon will be coming after you guys soon... Once they get a good amount of those Amazon Delivery Trucks around the country, not only will Amazon be delivering your prime packages in 1 day.... But I look to see them offset their costs by being a shipping carrier also.. Prescription Drugs - with 50% of American's taking some form of drug on a daily basis this is to lucrative not to be involved in. So I for sure see them getting involved in this area.
Amazon really doesn't even need their own delivery trucks. With Amazon Flex, they get regular Joe's to use their own vehicles to delivery the packages for them. No real big need to invest in a lot of overhead when you can do it by just paying a service fee to those that deliver your packages for you.
 

breezez

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Amazon really doesn't even need their own delivery trucks. With Amazon Flex, they get regular Joe's to use their own vehicles to delivery the packages for them. No real big need to invest in a lot of overhead when you can do it by just paying a service fee to those that deliver your packages for you.
They are actually spending over 800 Million according to their last investor conference call. I live in Tampa metro area and I now see more Amazon vans moving around than UPS fans.
 

Panina

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In the past I almost always went to the stores to buy what I needed. It seems more and more store do not have what I need and now most of my shopping is done online.

I have a prime account with Amazon and do a large chunk of my shopping with them but recently have seen many companies that are starting to compete online.

Whereas as many prices are lower on Amazon then other places, many prices are also higher then other places. If prices are the same I will go with who gets it to me the fastest.

Recently I put online orders in with CVS and Walmart and they were just as fast as Amazon with delivery.
 

WinniWoman

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Even some groceries I will buy on Amazon because our supermarket seems to have less and less of the items I wamt. When they remodeled the store recently they crammed their shelves so tight I can't find stuff anymore. And now the cash registers have short platforms and they made several into self checkouts. Lines are longer and cramped. Forget it. If it wasn't for the cold and fresh food items (and our store does not even have good produce), I would do all our food shopping on line as well.
 

OldGuy

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Going online and shopping the entire world, and getting exactly what you want at the lowest price, instead of driving to several stores, running around, not finding what you really want, and settling for something you don't want, at a high price, is the best thing since, well, Al Gore's Internet thing.

Regarding the relentless, nefarious effort to sell Prime, about three weeks ago I found exactly what I had been looking for, at the lowest price, on Amazon, and it said free 2-day shipping, no mention of Prime. When I went to my shopping cart, that free 2-day shipping was no longer an option. There were two options on Prime, then a line, then one non-Prime option. I chose the Non-Prime option, and ordered.

Whattya know, I immediately got a welcome to Prime email. I called and a nice lady who seemed to already know exactly what happened said she would set my Prime account so it would not automatically renew after the 30 day free period.

Then, later, DW said she would probably like all the free stuff on Prime. She looked, to see what she could get during the free period, and did not find anything.

I have always had great service from third-party Amazon vendors, including two laptops. Those vendors bend over backwards to stay on the good side of Amazon.

Speaking bricks and mortar, I look at Bass Pro, and how successful they are, and wonder if that will be the case in 20 years.
 

Patri

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Business needs to adapt to the needs / demands of the customers those that don't will not survive. Those that do will flourish.
My small town has had ups and down for its retail stores. Ten years ago it was a destination for bus trips, a wide territory of shoppers, etc. The businesses met some niche markets. It was a charming place to visit. Then some store owners got arrogant and broke away from the local business consortium that cooperated in promoting everyone as well as the town itself. Of course, the bickering became public. Store owners had fall-outs, moved away, sold their business, relocated, etc. A different time was coming. New businesses have come in. A few are highly successful, but mostly our downtown is dead.
What I have seen is that the owners set up shop with something THEY love, not what consumers want. Right now there is a store featuring country decor. That look disappeared decades ago. One restaurant sold expensive vendor items but had a limited menu and hours. Who wants to buy a scarf when you go in for organic sandwiches and coffee? That place just closed.
When a tattoo shop leases a prime retail spot, you know you are in trouble.
We have some solid longtime family owned businesses that are flourishing. They tailor to a specific audience and have adapted to the times. Entrepreneurs need to find out what the public wants, and go after that. This town can thrive again!
 

geist1223

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Amazon has spawned whole new industries and provided jobs for people in the lower social/economic rungs of society that do not need much training - porch pirates.
 

Brett

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Amazon has spawned whole new industries and provided jobs for people in the lower social/economic rungs of society that do not need much training - porch pirates.
porch pirates !
:(

Amazon gives us low prices, good products, good service and fast delivery but for low-level Amazon workers-

https://www.wsj.com/articles/for-lower-paid-workers-the-robot-overlords-have-arrived-11556719323

yes, you probably can't view the entire article but Amazon (and other companies) use "AI" software to evaluate employee performance and if you don't measure up ................ a computer fires you!
 
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WVBaker

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porch pirates !
:(

Amazon gives us low prices, good products, good service and fast delivery but for low-level Amazon workers-

https://www.wsj.com/articles/for-lower-paid-workers-the-robot-overlords-have-arrived-11556719323

yes, you probably can't view the entire article but Amazon (and other companies) use "AI" software to evaluate employee performance and if you don't measure up ................ a computer fires you!
The more things change, the more they stay the same.

If you do your job as you're paid to do, chances are you keep your job. If you don't, you lose your job. In the old days, though, the process
was less fair, as a human might show favoritism. Amazon, like most large corporations, is in a very competitive business. They must constantly innovate and make their employees as productive as possible. There's nothing less frustrating than working hard and having another employee not, but getting paid the same.

Here's another link.
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-05-01/amazon-employees-hired-and-fired-robots

Big Brother is Watching
"Those robots do not care about someone's race. They only care about performance."

"If you are supposed to handle x packages per minute, and you underperform, goodbye."

"One huge advantage for employers having robots fire people is the process will stop discrimination lawsuits. As a side benefit companies can get rid of higher paid employees who used to make these decisions."



As for our "Porch Pirates", they have been a problem since home delivery of any item has been an option. We can't lay that solely at Amazon's door, so to speak. :thumbup:
 

WinniWoman

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