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Walmart hopes to out Amazon, Amazon

Walmart has been putting a significant beating on many smaller retailers in the United States for years due to lower prices. Brick and mortar retailers are also feeling increasing pressure as more consumers signup for Amazon Prime, which offers free two-day shipping of products (often “tax free”) plus the added bonus of free TV show/movie streaming. Walmart may be the biggest retailer in the world, but it too is feeling the heat from Amazon.
 
Walmart may be the king of retail sales, but it is very far behind Amazon when it comes to online sales. Reuters reports that last year Amazon racked up $61 billion in online sales. Walmart only expects to crack about $9 billion in annual online sales as of this year.

Walmart recently announced that it would start using it stores to get internet orders to its customers faster. Walmart noted that it would begin testing lockers to hold goods ordered on the internet in stores until shoppers pick them up. Exactly when this test will kickoff is unknown; Walmart only says "soon." Amazon is also using lockers in grocery stores, convenience stores, drugstores to hold purchases for consumers when the consumer doesn't want an order to come to their home.

Walmart will also begin testing other services to make online shopping via its website easier and more appealing to consumers. One service will allow shoppers to pay for online orders in the store with cash rather than paying online with a credit card.

In addition, Walmart is planning an expansion of a currently running test to ship online orders from physical stores. The company hopes to expand this test to about 50 locations. The goal is to use stores that are closer to customers offer same-day delivery and next-day delivery of online orders at a low cost. Considering that two-thirds of the U.S. population lives within 5 miles of Walmart store, this could prove to be a very important plan for Walmart.
 
Amazon is also testing a same-day delivery service in some locations.

Source: Reuters



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Wal-Mart can't win
By inperfectdarkness on 3/27/2013 10:01:36 AM , Rating: 3
It's a simple matter of selection. Wal-mart operates based on squeezing its suppliers to sell at razor-thin margins so that Wal-mart can offer low prices & gain huge profits. But in the digital age, suppliers won't just die-out because they are shut-out from doing business with big-box retailers.

Amazon is 21st century's flea-market. Infinite suppliers carrying infinite products. Wal-Mart can't possibly house that kind of selection and inventory, even if it drop-ships. No single retailer can.

So no, I'm not supporting the mega-corporation that has eaten the soul out of countless American towns. I'm supporting the mom & pop garage-operation selling customized merchandise on Amazon. God bless America.




RE: Wal-Mart can't win
By ebakke on 3/27/2013 10:16:20 AM , Rating: 5
I'm supporting whoever has the product I want, at the price I'm willing to pay.


RE: Wal-Mart can't win
By ppardee on 3/27/2013 12:40:51 PM , Rating: 2
That's the problem. When you indiscriminately purchase from the company with the lowest price, that company has the power to do anything they want as long as they keep their prices low.

Walmart pushes manufacturing of consumer goods oversees. They support child labor, communism and environmentally damaging practices by feeding money to countries and organizations who support them.

You vote with your wallet, so if you shop at Walmart, you're also supporting outsourcing, child labor, communism and pollution.


RE: Wal-Mart can't win
By Mint on 3/27/2013 1:05:31 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Walmart pushes manufacturing of consumer goods oversees. They support child labor, communism and environmentally damaging practices by feeding money to countries and organizations who support them.
Give me a break. You think other stores carrying the same products don't implicitly support the exact same thing? Or that without Walmart they wouldn't choose to buy overseas goods at a lower cost? Walmart simply accelerated the inevitable, and with international e-commerce so well developed now, everyone else does the same thing.

The only genuine criticisms of Walmart are their practices to suppress wages/benefits and maybe discrimination, but that's really just a side effect of blind faith in the free market. Gotta take the bad with the good.


RE: Wal-Mart can't win
By ppardee on 3/27/2013 1:44:11 PM , Rating: 1
Walmart ACTIVELY pushes jobs oversees. Companies that wouldn't normally have outsourced have been given the choice to outsource or not sell their products at Walmart (which would essentially doom the business).

Read 'The Walmart Effect' and tell me if discrimination and compensation suppression are their only failures. With respect, if you truly believe they are a good company otherwise, you are woefully uninformed.

Do a bit of research before sticking up for this company. I'm not saying other companies are blameless, but few in the history of the country have done more to damage our economy and environment than Walmart.


RE: Wal-Mart can't win
By bsd228 on 3/27/2013 2:11:27 PM , Rating: 2
The Walmart Effect also points out that Walmart effectively reduces the inflation rate experienced by its customers.

It is inaccurate to place all of this on them. Home Depot has had a similar effect on manufacturing, pushing prices down, forcing production overseas.


RE: Wal-Mart can't win
By bill4 on 3/29/2013 4:33:36 AM , Rating: 2
funny, environmental regulations enacted by liberals force more production overseas than anything, but you NEVER see internet commenters talk about that. NEVER.

It's almost like internet commenters are paid of or something.

Here's a fact, CO2 caps ban factories, or make them prohibitively expensive. Period. when they are banned, they go overseas where there are no such regulations. amazing!


RE: Wal-Mart can't win
By Mint on 3/27/2013 2:55:03 PM , Rating: 2
I never said Walmart is a good company, nor am I sticking up for them. I'm implying that they're a normal company that simply proceeded down the road of the inevitable given the realities of the world we live in.

I completely disagree with your statement about "companies that wouldn't normally have outsourced". They absolutely would have, even if would have been a couple years later in the absence of Walmart.

I'm not going to read a whole book to reply to your post, but I have read excerpts and Fishman interviews, and nothing he says contradicts what I'm saying.

The writing was on the wall for pretty much the entire economy to move in this direction, not just department stores. Outsourcing is nothing more than a prelude to cheaper and vastly more capable automation. Both drastically reduce the value and demand of blue collar labor. Even if we could somehow outlaw outsourcing, we'd have exactly the same domestic problems in a few years.

Cheap and efficient production - whether through outsourcing or automation - reducing the quantity and wage of jobs needs to meet our production demands needs is something that we as a society have to figure out how to deal with. Walmart is not the cause.


RE: Wal-Mart can't win
By ebakke on 3/28/2013 2:02:44 PM , Rating: 2
Why do people not listen to what others say?

I did not claim I would indiscriminately purchase from the company with the lowest price. I said, "I'm supporting whoever has the product I want, at the price I'm willing to pay." The product I want. The price I'm willing to pay.

The "product" isn't limited to simply the physical good, or to a generic physical good that meets some criteria. The product includes both the physical good as well as anything else that might be important to me in the context of a purchase. That might be product quality, shopping experience, distance/time from me to the store, store hours/availability, taxation, who owns the company, past experiences, etc. And then we add in price. (Arguably, you could say the latter items listed are all "costs" and should be part of the "price" not the "product" - but it's 6 one way 1/2 dozen the other.)

WalMart's cheap, but I hate shopping there. I don't give a damn that they sell products made outside the US; the shopping experience is far too unpleasant for me. So if I can easily avoid shopping there, I will. And I'm very much willing to support Amazon's business because it adds value to me. But if I need a 9V battery for my multimeter for a project today, I'll make a 5 minute trip to Wal-Mart and not think twice about it.

The product I want, at the price I'm willing to pay. It's a value judgement, each and every time. If you want to never shop at Wal-Mart, good for you. But you're not on some moral high ground above the rest of us.


RE: Wal-Mart can't win
By PrinceGaz on 3/28/2013 4:27:24 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You vote with your wallet, so if you shop at Walmart, you're also supporting outsourcing, child labor, communism and pollution.


Excellent.

Outsourcing = getting the work done with the most efficient workforce to do it (capitalist ideal)
Child labour = instills a good work-ethic from an early age (capitalist ideal)
Communism = these days it's just nationalised capitalism
Pollution = the solution to pollution is dilution, and most of the countries making stuff cheap have the Pacific Ocean nearby

Walmart have the right idea!


RE: Wal-Mart can't win
By Mint on 3/27/2013 12:47:23 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
So no, I'm not supporting the mega-corporation that has eaten the soul out of countless American towns. I'm supporting the mom & pop garage-operation selling customized merchandise on Amazon.
That's a rather distorted view. The mega-corporation products on Amazon are still selling far better than garage operations on Amazon, and the latter are facing intense competition from sellers across the country.

Walmart is less of a threat to "mom & pop garage-operation selling customized merchandise" than Amazon, because before e-commerce they were the only shop in town with that unique merchandise. What Walmart did was take sales of common items (clothes, basic furnishings, TVs, appliances, basic food, etc) away from local stores, not unique items. Amazon, OTOH, threatens everything: before, 10 ma & pa stores could sell unique stuff to 10 local markets, but now, the single most efficient one can serve all of them.

In the end, though, both Walmart and Amazon are great for consumers paying as little overhead as possible. The effect on towns - increased efficiency of distribution resulting in fewer retail jobs - is something society has to come together to address.

Doing more with less total labor is progress and should help everyone. It is only because of selfishness that it isn't.


RE: Wal-Mart can't win
By Reclaimer77 on 3/27/2013 6:12:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
So no, I'm not supporting the mega-corporation that has eaten the soul out of countless American towns. I'm supporting the mom & pop garage-operation selling customized merchandise on Amazon. God bless America.


LMAO love that argument.

Do you have any idea how many online retailers Amazon has crushed? If that's the argument you want to use, well, I guess we can't support Amazon either!

quote:
Amazon is 21st century's flea-market. Infinite suppliers carrying infinite products. Wal-Mart can't possibly house that kind of selection and inventory, even if it drop-ships. No single retailer can.


/shrug

I'm just happy that Wal-Mart and Best Buy and others are just trying to compete with Amazon on their own terms. Instead of sitting there going "Waaaaa we can't compete, raise everyone's taxes!!"


RE: Wal-Mart can't win
By seamonkey79 on 3/28/2013 8:14:28 AM , Rating: 2
They've already solved the tax situation for most states, so now it's time they actually do something to compete.


By Pneumothorax on 3/27/2013 10:21:41 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know if any of you have tried Walmart's 'Ship-To-Store' internet buying 'service', but it's absolutely horrible. My local super walmart has the ship to store line combined with the layaway service. In other words prepare to stand in hour long lines, employees who can't find a crop duster in a haystack, and having them rude to boot. After 2 purchases on-line for store pickup this past holiday season... never again Walmart.




By Salisme on 3/27/2013 10:30:19 AM , Rating: 2
I agree. It doesn't make sense, minds as well go to the store and buy it. The awesomeness that is Amazon is coming home from work and having the package already at my door step. That is the key concept.

IF I wanted to pick something up at the store then... well I'd just go to the store. And it wouldn't be wallmart.


By Rukkian on 3/27/2013 11:06:24 AM , Rating: 2
I agree, I would rather have it at home waiting, but there is one thing that the ship to store helps, and that is selection. At this point, walmart cannot hope to compare to amazon for number of products, but with ship to store, (in theory) they can start to compete, but wont be same day, it will probably be much longer than the 2 days from amazon, and you have to still go pick it up.


By ClownPuncher on 3/27/2013 1:47:50 PM , Rating: 2
Plus, you don't have to deal with 900lb women with 20 children all wearing dirty pajama pants.


By ipay on 3/27/2013 3:30:26 PM , Rating: 2
Wait... at your wal-mart they wear pants not just diapers?! Lucky.


By rasmith260 on 3/27/2013 4:24:07 PM , Rating: 2
LOL Wait a minute, you shop at Wal-Mart and have the nerve to talk about someone else LOL. Well let me open your eyes; anyone who shops at Wal-Mart is pure trash and like most trash you’re too stupid to realize it LOL.


By glowingghoul on 3/28/2013 1:06:55 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
anyone who shops at Wal-Mart is pure trash


Excuse me? All those working class people who shop at WalMart because their lower prices allow them to provide a better standard of living for their families are "pure trash"?


By ClownPuncher on 3/28/2013 1:29:23 PM , Rating: 2
That's correct. Conversely, all those working class people who shop at Amazon to provide themselves a better standard of living are quality individuals with higher standards.


By bsd228 on 3/27/2013 2:16:24 PM , Rating: 2
> I agree. It doesn't make sense, minds as well go to the store and buy it. The awesomeness that is Amazon is coming home from work and having the package already at my door step. That is the key concept.

Depends on where you live. In an urban environment, packages on the doorstep and the amazon logo have a short shelf life. Or a trip to the UPS pickup office is in order, and where I just moved, this pickup office closes at 5:30 pm. Amazon's locker is the solution for the objects that fit - there are Radioshack's near home and they're open till 9, and most importantly, open on weekends. It actually becomes a faster method for me than UPS.


By MadMan007 on 3/28/2013 7:26:43 AM , Rating: 2
Urban market - exactly what I was thinking. There are some apartments I've lived in that, while decent complexes, made me hesitant to order stuff that would sit on the stoop. I would have them delivered to the office instead. And it's worse in true urban environments where there's more random foot traffic and fewer options for secure drop-off.


By Mint on 3/27/2013 1:08:52 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
can't find a crop duster in a haystack
Love it!


WTF?
By Denithor on 3/28/2013 2:10:48 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Walmart will also begin testing other services to make online shopping via its website easier and more appealing to consumers. One service will allow shoppers to pay for online orders in the store with cash rather than paying online with a credit card.


Okay, let me get this straight. I'm going to place an order online and then have to drive to my local Walmart to pay cash for the item? So exactly what is the point of the online part of that transaction? Can't I just walk into the same store, pick up the item and pay cash for it?




RE: WTF?
By flyingpants1 on 3/29/2013 5:25:48 AM , Rating: 2
Free shipping, pay in cash, more selection of items. Not really seeing what the difficulty is


Wal-Mart...
By StealthX32 on 3/27/2013 2:45:21 PM , Rating: 2
The reason I don't shop at Wal-Mart is because I can't stand the store, the employees, or the people that shop there.

What makes them think that I'd want to go to a locker there?




Walmart's shipping suxx hard.
By cyberguyz on 3/27/2013 5:14:05 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry - had first hand experience ordering from Walmart and experiencing their shipping when I tried to buy a snow blower from them.

They offered free shipping and even gave you an ETA on arrival. Seems that Wammart and their shipping company simply don't talk to each other because somebody lost it. After waiting 2 weeks beyond the promised ETA, I cancelled the order (there was another seriously miserable runaround over that). I mean seriously --- how the frig do these guys lose a $300 pound snow blower?

That was my first and last experience with Walmart's online shopping.




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