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Amazon brick and mortar stores?

November 3, 2015 Leave a comment
Amazon Books, the company's first brick-and-mortar store, will open tomorrow Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015 in Seattle's University District. The retail space offers 5,000-6,000 books as well as technology devices like e-book readers.

Amazon Books, the company’s first brick-and-mortar store, will open tomorrow Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015.

I was surprised, pleasantly, to read an article today about Amazon opening it’s first brick and mortar store in it’s home city of Seattle. For years, Amazon has been accused (probably rightfully so) of running small, and large bookstores (Borders?) out of business, so it’s nice to see that those types of stores may not go away entirely after all.

This may actually also be a brilliant move. With all of the customer data Amazon acquires on a minute by minute basis from their customers online, the opportunity to stock exactly what will be demanded in a certain geography at any given point in time is huge. Other retailers would sell their souls to know what the up-to-the-second purchasing trend is in their area and only inventory those items at that exact point in time. Again, Amazon is changing the game for everyone involved in that industry. And, it doesn’t hurt to have even more fulfillment options for their promised same day delivery…

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To be Green or not to be…

going-greenhttp://www.foxbusiness.com/business-leaders/2013/04/05/dont-buy-electric-car/

Great article that summarizes some of the same reasons I would never (yet) buy an electric car.  While I don’t live in California and can’t speak to some of the subsidies they offer for their forced environmentalism, I do agree with a couple of the main points: The car I choose to drive and spend my money on isn’t offered in an electric version, and the idea that electric cars somehow are more green than conventionally powered gasoline cars is really not true.

On the first issue, I have a quite large and active family and we ain’t all fittin’ in Leaf or a Prius.  I would have to own 2 or 3 of them (and be able to drive them all at the same time) to be able to fit everyone.  But maybe even more of an influence on my non-purchase is that I drive 40+ miles each way commuting to work.  From the specs I’ve read a one way trip is about the maximum range on the mass produced electric cars.  Of course, I’d love to drive a Tesla but that’s not happening on my current pay rate.  My current employer doesn’t offer a charging station and I don’t see that happening any time soon.

Which brings me to my point of confusion.  Why do automakers waste time designing and producing electric cars with such limited range?  (I suspect it has something to do with forced government mandates, but I digress…)  People who drive under 40 miles per day aren’t using that many resources to begin with, comparatively speaking.  But people like me who drive nearly 100 miles a day are.  If companies were really trying to be socially responsible and good stewards of the environment, wouldn’t they go after the biggest offenders first?  I realize that there’s a lot of additional cost in developing batteries with that kind of range, but I have to think that the biggest bang for the buck for the environment, the automaker, and the auto owner would be on providing vehicles with a much greater range.  If you take one car off the road that was driving 200 miles a week or one that was driving 500, where would the greatest benefit be?

Which brings me to my final reason for not purchasing an electric car.  I believe the benefit to the environment to be negligible.  At best.  The vast majority of the power in the United States is produced by coal or oil burning power plants.   It’s a one for one trade off.  You need more electricity to run these vehicles, so you need more oil and coal to run the power plant.  Every drop of oil saved in a car is burned to create electricity.  And I have no proof of this, but I have a suspicion that a power plant produces more carbon dioxide than a fleet of Hummers with the catalytic converters ripped off.  And this doesn’t even touch the issue of how much exploitation takes place in mining the special minerals used in making exotic vehicle power plants…

It may seem that I am a resource waster or don’t care about the environment.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  I just believe that the only thing buying a car to be green does, at least at this point in time, is make us feel good about ourselves but does nothing to help the environment.

 

Shopping on Amazon could get much faster, and better…

Amazon Logo

I’m a fairly frequent purchaser from amazon.com.  I love the convenience of having almost anything I can conceive of purchasing available in one place, and see multiple businesses to purchase it from, nearly assuring I get the lowest price possible.  I also have to admit that I have their shopping app downloaded on my Android phone and love being able to scan a UPC code at a physical store to price compare on the spot.  The downside has always been the wait to receive my item over buying it while I’m standing in a store that has the item in stock.

The attached link to an article on slate.com outlines a new strategy being employed by Amazon that could change this dynamic completely.  With local distribution centers in nearly every major market Amazon is making it possible to get next day shipping on almost everything, and possibly same day shipping if ordered early enough.  This is a definite game changer in the retail space that could be the final death blow that send some retailers into oblivion.

http://www.slate.com/articles/business/small_business/2012/07/amazon_same_day_delivery_how_the_e_commerce_giant_will_destroy_local_retail_.single.html?ref=linkedin

Maintaining ‘orphaned’ car owners

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The attached article scratches the surface of a problem I think few, if any, manufacturers are addressing well. As you may know, orphaned car owners are owners of vehicle brands that have been discontinued, such as Pontiac, Saturn, Hummer, Plymouth, and Mercury.

When these owners are shopping new cars, there is no brand loyalty they can follow.  Sure, they can show loyalty to the parent company of their now discontinued brand, but the article states that this only happens in 30% range.  Obviously this means that 70% are spending their money on a competitors brand!

I think the most common way manufacturers of former brands are trying to maintain loyalty is through the use of <gasp> incentives to purchase new vehicles.  If I were even remotely passionate about my brand and am mourning its passing, the last thing I want to get from the parent company is an incentive to buy one of their other vehicles.  ‘Sorry we’ve abandoned the brand you loved, but hey, buy another car from us and we promise not to do it again!’

I think they’re missing a huge opportunity with this approach.  These brands have large Facebook followings, blogs dedicated to them, and owner run communities.  Engage these owners through those sites, continue to show the love through posts that would appeal to those owners, even sponsor get-togethers for those owners so they don’t feel, well, so orphaned.

Yes, it costs money to do things like this.  Yes, you will have to continue to have a small dedicated staff monitoring social sites and organizing events. But the opportunity to rebuild the trust with these owners so that they will be loyal customers to a new brand will more than pay for itself in the long run.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jimgorzelany/2012/05/07/the-battle-to-adopt-orphan-car-owners/?feed=rss_home