shopping

created 2 years ago

For years, retailers have been haunted by the thought of Amazon using its technological prowess to squeeze them into powder. That battle has mostly played out on Amazon’s home turf, the world of online shopping.
If those experiments work — and there is no guarantee of that — they could have a profound influence on how other stores operate. Over time, they could also introduce new forms of automation, putting traditional retail jobs in jeopardy. At the same time, locating those stores close to customers’ homes could also help Amazon further its ambitions of delivering internet orders within hours.
The company is exploring the idea of creating stores to sell furniture and home appliances, like refrigerators — the kinds of products that shoppers are reluctant to buy over the internet sight unseen
These would not be your average Home Depots: Amazon has considered using forms of augmented or virtual reality to allow people to see how couches, stoves and credenzas will look in their homes,
Amazon is also kicking around an electronics-store concept similar to Apple’s retail emporiums, according to two of the people familiar with the discussions. These shops would have a heavy emphasis on Amazon devices and services such as the company’s Echo smart home speaker and Prime Video streaming service.
And in groceries — a giant category in which Amazon has struggled — the company has opened a convenience store that does not need cashiers, and it is close to opening two stores where drivers can quickly pick up groceries without leaving their cars, all in Seattle. It has explored another grocery store concept that could serve walk-in customers and act as a hub for home deliveries.
Overseas, Amazon is quietly targeting India for new brick-and-mortar grocery stores. It is a vast market, and one still largely dominated by traditional street bazaars where shoppers must wander from stall to stall haggling over prices and deliberating over unrefrigerated meat sitting in the dusty open air. Amazon’s internal code name for its India grocery ambitions: Project Everest.
Last week, Amazon opened its fifth physical book store in Chicago, and it has five more announced locations under construction.
It is possible that some of the store ideas will never see the light of day.
“We are always thinking about new ways to serve customers, but thinking is different than planning,”
One big desire many customers have is that they want to see fresh fruits, vegetables and meat in person before buying them. The relatively high cost of home delivery — Amazon charges $15 a month for its Fresh service, on top of a $99 annual Prime membership — is another barrier.
Online grocery delivery accounts for only about 3 percent of the market in the United States, though it is closer to 10 percent in Britain
Joe Thompson, a former general manager in Amazon’s retail business, sees physical retail as key to Mr. Bezos’s outsize ambitions for the company. "I can’t help but feel that, in Bezos’s mind, he wants to be the first trillion-dollar valuation company,” said Mr. Thompson, who is now an executive at BuildDirect, an online home improvement store. To do that, he said, Amazon would have to “crack” a couple of “completely underpenetrated markets online.”
Amazon’s current market value is bobbing around $400 billion.
A growing number of established grocery retailers are experimenting with this “click and collect” approach to shopping, including Walmart, Kroger and others.
the company has been developing technology for automatically detecting when a customer pulls into the parking lot so orders can be brought to them more quickly.
A few miles away from its other Seattle stores, on the ground floor of one of its many office towers in the city, the company is testing Amazon Go, a convenience store concept stocked with beverages, sandwiches and prepared meals, which are put together by chefs in a kitchen that is visible from the street.
“Amazon is wonderful at frictionless commerce,”
“I’ve probably been in 30 boardrooms of retailers in the past year,” Mr. Galloway said. “I would say the No. 1 topic of conversation is Amazon.”
India could represent another big market for Amazon in physical retail. The company, which has vowed to spend billions of dollars on its efforts in the world’s second-most populous country, recently sought approval from the Indian government to open online and physical food stores in the country, The Economic Times reported in February.
“What appears to be clear is they haven’t yet zeroed in on a format they’re willing to massively scale,” he said. “This is a company that the moment it figures out something that works, it puts nuclear energy behind it.”
www.nytimes.com
In 1868, while living in Springfield, Massachusetts, Knight invented a machine that folded and glued paper to form the flat bottomed brown paper bags familiar to shoppers today.
en.wikipedia.org
The 90cm-tall child-sized robot can scoot around at about 3.7mph to keep up with humans walking briskly and can identify as well as approach people who need assistance while shopping, thanks to its ability to recognize human movement and its environment.
EMIEW3 can also isolate people’s voices from background noise to better understand you, and can switch between multiple languages to communicate.
Expect these bots to get exponentially smarter and more useful over time. By connecting them to cloud-based platforms like IBM Watson, their abilities to recognize human input and emotions as well as to respond appropriately can be upgraded on-the-fly.
It’ll be interesting to watch both companies race to bring their robots into stores and public spaces. Softbank recently opened a cellphone store in Tokyo staffed entirely by Pepper bots; the trial will run for 30 days so people can see what the future of shopping might be like.
thenextweb.com
In recent years, more and more people are finding themselves in their pajamas late at night dazedly looking at a computer screen or smartphone, ordering from our Modern Santa, Amazon Prime.
Shopping trends may be changing, but our year-end holiday shopping bacchanal is bursting at the seams more than ever — and the data backs this up. A typical retailer now expects one-fifth of its annual sales to occur over the holidays; total 2015 holiday spending is expected to reach an all-time high of $630 billion in the U.S. alone — roughly the size of our annual military budget or the entire GDP of Switzerland or Saudi Arabia. That’s a lot of TVs, LEGOs and fruitcake.
As much as $105 billion — more than 15 percent — of 2015 holiday spending is expected to be online, and this is projected to increase substantially in the years ahead. Early sales reports could make these estimates look conservative, as a record $7.5 billion was recently rung up online over Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday alone. A 5-10 percent annual decline of in-store sales over the same period gives us a pretty good idea of where the future is headed.
Also worthy of note are sharing-economy-based services that connect local communities in new ways, which in turn can help keep spending dollars local and bring more individuals and artisans into the online economic fold. Connecting all these trends is our smartphone, fulfilling prognosticators’ predictions that a remote control for life already is in our pocket.
techcrunch.com
The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs compared nearly 800 products with female and male versions — meaning they were practically identical except for the gender-specific packaging — and uncovered a persistent surcharge for one of the sexes. Controlling for quality, items marketed to girls and women cost an average 7 percent more than similar products aimed at boys and men.
DCA Commissioner Julie Menin, who launched the investigation this summer, said the numbers show an insidious form of gender discrimination. Compounding the injustice, she said, is the wage gap. Federal data shows women in the United States earn about 79 cents for every dollar paid to men.
Researchers for the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs pored over toys, children’s clothing, adult apparel, personal care products and home goods sold in the city. The largest price discrepancy emerged in the hair care category: Women, on average, paid 48 percent more for goods like shampoo, conditioner and gel. Razor cartridges came in second place, costing female shoppers 11 percent more.
washingtonpost.com
Amazon took in 39.3 percent of e-commerce spending from Nov. 1 through Dec. 6, up from 37.9 percent during the same period a year earlier, according to Slice Intelligence, which gathers data through e-mail receipts of 3.5 million shoppers. You’d have to combine the Web sales of the next 21 retailers, including Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy Co., Macy’s Inc. Home Depot Inc., Nordstrom Inc. and Costco Wholesale Corp., to match Amazon’s share, Slice data shows.
bloomberg.com
Of all the retailers hoping to capitalize on this trend, Amazon is by far the most well-positioned. This week, on the heels of launching a Black Friday online store well ahead of the actual day, the company said that its holiday deals would start rolling out as early as tomorrow—a full week ahead of Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving here in the US. The company had eight days of Black Friday deals last year, too, but this year it’s giving the promotion an even bigger push: new deals will be added as often as every five minutes on Amazon’s dedicated Black Friday page, twice the rate of last year. In 2014, Amazon offered three “coveted” deals of the day starting on Thanksgiving at midnight, as well as three more on Black Friday; this year, it’s offering ten at the stroke of midnight on both days.
wired.com
If Amazon hasn't already hooked you for Prime membership with free two-day shipping and video streaming, now there's another bonus: You can get free shipping on other sites, too.
mashable.com

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