I hope they can do a better job than Amazon but I'm not confident. I'm currently gaming their system of one day delivery failure credits because they can't seem to wrap their heads around the fact hat USPS won't deliver to my door and the packages are too large. USPS gets a box, it won't fit, they take it back to the post office and tell me I can pick it up the next day. I contact amazon, tell them it's late because the package is too large and they picked the wrong carrier and they give me a $5 credit. I tell USPS I'm not circumnavigating a lake to pick up the package and they can send it back. I border again and go through the same thing. I've told Amazon that they can't ship large items to me via USPS but they can't seem to figure out how to handle it. I even asked them to not use USPS (they're unreliable anyway) but they're stick in a loop. I'm openly and publicly doing this and they don't care. It's stupid. Thankfully it's a low priority item and I don't actually need it. Some day it will show up... maybe.
Walmart, if you can figure out that problem, you'll have my money.
I am in the same boat. I have called and begged and pleaded and escalated to get Amazon to stop using USPS but it just doesn't work. Here in Brooklyn if anything is unusually large they just punch in "attempted delivery" a couple days in a row and send it back. They don't even bother trying, I'm pretty sure it never even leaves the regional sort facility and gets on a truck.
I'm not sure I blame them. Amazon once used USPS to send me half a dozen office chairs. I called Amazon as soon as I saw the shipping update and said there's zero chance whatsoever they will ever reach my door. Nothing they could do. I just ordered from another vendor the same day and waited the inevitable 2-3 weeks for the Amazon order to work its way through the system and back to Amazon without delivery ever attempted.
It's one of a few things that perplex me about Amazon. Like why can't I just flag a shipping method as unusable. Why can't I search for stuff only sold by Amazon. Why can't you fucking stop selling fake chargers and headphones?
But what do I know about running a multi billion dollar business right?
The USPS is all shenanigans. I had something shipped to my office and they told me they "couldn't access the building." There's a USPS location inside the building.
Funny thing is ordering out of the USA to Canada is way better with usps because they turn the package over to Canada post, which if anything only charges gst. Everyone else rips you off with huge brokerage fees
Technically you can flag a shipper. After recording delivery drivers stomping across my landscaping and literally throwing packages at my door, I got them to stop using that particular gig economy delivery service for my packages. Getting them to do feels like pulling teeth though. It seems you can't do it for a single incident but interestingly they'll gladly give you the number to the local shipping logistics company, so you can call and yell at them.
Was it lasership? I've had packages never delivered by them. I'm assuming the courier is just stealing them since the package will say "out for delivery" multiple times that day and then never show up. They don't respond to emails or calls so anytime a package is set to come through them, I know that I'm probably not going to get it. Nobody has questioned my reports that the packages aren't getting delivered most of the time. I guess the vendor already knows how much they suck but for some reason is ok with the spillage? Maybe the cost savings for using one of these gig economy delivery services is so cheap that its still worth it after having to replace customer orders that get stolen. Maybe it's like doing business with the mob, there's just a certain amount of money you're going to have to lose due to rampant theft but the money you save by getting around the normal business costs makes it worth it.
Lasership is the worst. Last time they were my carrier, it was marked as delivered with a note it was left on my deck. I don't have a deck.
I had a Lasership package found on the street by a stranger (thankfully he sent it to me with a note).
I got Amazon to avoid shipping things to me using their own execrable AMZL (Amazon Logistics) service, by emailing Jeff Bezos. They said from now on they would only use AMZL if there is no other way to ship (e.g. for same-day shipping). So far this has been a good solution.
Hah, exactly the opposite situation for me with USPS in Brooklyn - they've got a key to my (large) residential building, and are the only carrier who can reliably deliver when my super is busy with something and can't accept a package. I'd opt out of Lasership in a heartbeat if I could, they're wholly useless.
Realistically, I just buy a month of Prime if I know I'm going to be needing lots of things soon (spring cleaning season or whatever), and don't keep an active subscription for the rest of the year. I found myself not using most of the new perks, becoming increasingly skeptical of product authenticity, and not enjoying the prices going up and up every renewal. Its a lot easier to walk over to Target or sit on the train for 15 mins to get to Bed Bath and Beyond / Home Depot than it is to sit around at home all night because Lasership marked my package as "delivered" 6 hours ago but doesn't intend to show up until 10pm.
>It's one of a few things that perplex me about Amazon
Their price match policy is pretty silly too. I bought a robo vacuum that got a $150 off promotion a week later. They were unwilling to refund me the difference but are willing to let me return the old one for a full refund while buying a new one at the discounted price.
That may make sense if the inverse of percentage of people that actually go to the trouble of returning a bulky item multiplied by the margin is higher than the shipping cost of a new item.
It's pretty easy. I've done this with hard drives that I had already installed.
Just printed the return label for the higher priced item, and slapped it on the box and gave it right back to the carrier when he delivered the same, lower priced item.
Yes, but it doesn't matter if you do it, it matters if most people do it. His argument (which I believe) is that notably fewer people will do it if they have to return the item and get a new one.
When those are the only two options presented to them, a lot of people won't be arsed to return the item, which will save Amazon $150.
I once bought a book from them and while it was in shipping, the price dropped due to a sale. I called and asked if they would reduce the price on my book and they said no but they said I could order it again at the new price and and then mail back the previous book once it reaches me.
There is a startup called Paribus that was doing automated claims for Amazon price drops. Amazon locked down the policy after a while.
There's actually several companies offering this service, Earny is another one.
I had the same experience in Brooklyn (Atlantic Ave post office) and didn't think anything was getting sent out for delivery. One day I went to get a package and they said "we don't know where it is, it might be on a truck somewhere."
Same, I encountered that problem maybe a dozen times with the Atlantic Ave post office when I lived around there from 2009-2014. Sad to hear they haven't improved since then, but I guess I shouldn't be surprised!
Ironically, after moving a few miles northwest to the NJ side of the Hudson, my preferred shippers have completely reversed. USPS is by far the best option here, since they have lobby keys to apartment buildings and leave packages with no problems at all. (Even though USPS clearly has lobby keys to deliver non-package mail in Brooklyn too, somehow their package delivery people don't have them?)
Meanwhile, Amazon's contractors have become the worst option for me. Frequently they'll silently leave a package with a neighboring building or business, with no indication whatsoever that they've done so, and with no initial attempt at actually ringing my unit's intercom. Or sometimes they'll call my cell phone, but again without ever trying the intercom first. After a few years of this, I gave up and cancelled Prime.
Unfortunately, in my case, they've switched from being mostly UPS to mostly a combination of USPS and, increasingly, their own trucks. USPS is fine for smaller envelopes and packages and I even bought an extra-large mailbox to accommodate somewhat larger boxes. But USPS hates to come down my driveway (long and rough) so bigger packages often get hung off my mailbox, the mailbox door is left open, or sometimes just sent back to the post office for pickup.
You can search for stuff only sold by Amazon, at least in the UK. You can run a search and then filter the vendor to "Amazon.co.uk" only.
Bad delivery is a huge annoyance over here in The Netherlands too. My experience is that the big webshops (Coolblue, Bol.com) are excellent with their deliveries, but as soon as you order from some of the smaller stores or via the brand-sites, it's a mess. DPD in particular is absolutely atrocious, and that's been my experience in multiple cities in Europe.
The problem seems to be that the local webshops work with the more local delivery services, whereas the brand-site-stores and a bunch of others use delivery services that work across Europe. Those seem to be awful everywhere (the aforementioned DPD, but I've heard similar things about FedEx and DHL).
DPD is the worst. They almost returned my package to the origin because they couldn't call me to deliver once, I asked why couldn't they knock, ring the doorbell or leave a notice and while trying to excuse themselves they accidentally told me the number they tried to call - it was the package shipping number. :facepalm:
I had a similar experience with FedEx until I filed a BBB complaint. That got things sorted out quick.
I am still amazed that people take BBB complaints seriously. It’s just like getting a bad Yelp rewiew.
I think the fact that they're so popular is, ironically, why they're so effective. They're not a government organization, they have no enforcement arm, yet complaints there can and have resulted in satisfaction when other avenues fail.
Yelp, on the other hand, is where "let me speak to your manager"-types go to bitch about restaurants screwing up their orders. BBB complaints seem a bit more fleshed out.
Me too, I don't even know any younger people that know what BBB is.
Bezos has moved on.
Unfortunately I'm convinced that the only thing this will achieve is getting your account suspended for suspicious activity(a lot of created and then cancelled orders).
Possibly but it's no big loss to me. For years I've been a customer more because of my spouse and my now toddler. As she's getting older, driving to the store (she hates cars) is less of a problem. Amazon, on the other hand, has grown increasingly worse in just about every aspect (quality of service, customer service, employee/contractor treatment, civic duties, etc).
You are probably on a list now:
Probably one of many but to be clear, I'm not actually returning anything. The packages are _being returned_ as "undeliverable." Having never actually had possession of the item, I'm incapable of actually returning it. I've asked Amazon to ship it another way but they can't seem to figure it out. Since I do eventually want the item, I'm hoping it makes it some day.
That effort does not at all sound worth a $5 Amazon gift card
There's almost no effort. It takes less than five minutes each time, to both order and request a credit. I've wasted a lot more time than that on trying to get them to remove USPS as a shipping option. At this point, it's just a game for me.
A dollar a minute == $60/hr
Or around 120k/yr @ 40hr/wk over 50 weeks, pre-tax.
I'm not sure you'd report that as taxable income, so it would probably be closer to 'post-tax'.
So you're saying this a pretty good investment of my time, right? On top of my salary, I can effectively make an additional $120k/yr? You know the opportunity cost argument you're making is false, don't you? You're arguing that I'm risking doing something else while doing this and there's a cost associated with that risk. In reality, I risk nothing because I'm a salaried employee whose time isn't 100% filled with must-do tasks. If that were true, the time you spent replying would be actually be worth even less than the time I spend getting Amazon credits because it has no return on investment. Or are you saying I should make this my full time job?
It's a different poster, he's agreeing with you by calculating that those 5 minutes are quite lucrative.
Whoops. Misread. Thanks for pointing that out. :)
Or the gas wasted on each trip.
That's covered by Amazon in the shipping cost they pay to move from their warehouse to the USPS sorting facility. USPS isn't making any additional trips to not deliver packages. They drive out to the mailbox cluster every day except Sunday (a day which Amazon also said they'd deliver a package via USPS...) and go no further.
You have a cite for that waste? That's not remotely correct. The marginal cost to ship one package across the world is literally pennies, that's why our junk is so cheap. The cost to drive to one store for one shopping trip is two orders of magnitude higher.
Buy online and save the planet. I'm serious.
You still get stuff through USPS? Everything I've ordered has been through AMZL, which means 100% of my orders are left at a neighbor's house, marked as delivered and then show up a few days later, or marked as lost after 5 days and refunded.
The $5 credits they give me are only good on stuff sold by Amazon, which seems to be getting slimmer. I got three things last week figuring I'd get $20 off, and it was only after I checked out that I realized none of them were by Amazon.
It completely depends on where you are. Bigger cities are more likely to use the AMZL system than smaller towns.
Here in Nevada, my experience is that Walmart's online business and delivery is strongly superior. It has been a refreshing thing to see a massive global company turn around and do something very right.
I'm also in flyover country and have found the same to be true, aside from selection. But the products they do directly offer (it's easy to remove 3rd parties from your searches) come from their own supply chain which they really care about, the prices are almost always better than Amazon's, the shipping is fast, and free if you buy at least $35 per purchase, and they pack the boxes with a fair amount of care.
The latter detail was the last straw for me and my Prime membership due to Amazon switching to pro forma padding by just throwing in a few air pillows. Between that and all the last mile delivery issues others are reporting, its clear Amazon is seriously pinching pennies in fulfillment without caring how much business and extra expense that costs them. Add in the counterfeit problem and it's hard to imagine how much damage the brand is suffering.
I didn't renew my Amazon Prime after they pulled this "one-day" BS on me more than once:
Hopefully Walmart will have better shipping logistics.
Yeah; I learned early on to always change the delivery from "1 day" to standard 2 day prime shipping. 1 day delivery always ends up with some joker trying to deliver a package at 9PM and marking it as "attempted delivery" without knocking or calling the number in my delivery notes. I've never had a problem with 2 day shipping, but 1 day always ends up being a nightmare.
Not to point out the obvious but your example is an order placed on Cyber Monday...so the biggest online shopping day of the entire year...you might experience a slight delay that week.
I don't have a problem with delays... I have a problem with them being deliberately misleading about delivery times on their product pages.
It happened several times where they used the term "same/one-day" delivery yet at checkout the delivery time was 2-3 days out. So... in other words... they knew damn well what the time frame was, but deliberately chose to use "bait-n-switch" like methods.
Parent was not complaining about slow shipping.
Parent was complaining about misadvertized shipping.
Sam's has been offering free 2 day shipping to plus members for awhile. My order never fails to be marked delivered by Fedex on day 2.
It doesn't actually arrive until day 5...
Amazon has ten to twenty thousand new trucks for delivery and yet I am getting split deliveries from orders still. Example, ordered three items recently and UPS used one package in the morning and Amazon delivered the rest later. Wal Mart has improved but their use of Fed Ex has seen an order split as well between Fed Ex and Fed Ex Home all on the same day.
I am just amazed Amazon ran the numbers and determined spinning up an entire last mile delivery process was cheaper than using the previous setup.
It's all related to where the merch is sitting when you order. There is an online auto parts store called RockAuto that will let you know across the site which items are sitting in the same warehouse as other items in your cart. A lot of the stuff is standard auto parts so there will be like eight identical gas caps made by different vendors that are all priced within a few cents of each other. They all are located in different warehouses so I'll usually pick the parts I don't have as much choice over and then go back and pick the jellybean parts that happen to be in the same warehouse. They don't do free shipping so it really helps reduce shipping costs when you only have one box coming. It's also nice just getting all of your parts at once instead of having to wait for different ones to come in and not being able to work on anything until you get them all anyway. I'll play around with which identical parts I choose just to make sure I'm picking all the parts I need from the same, closest warehouse.
Some how my wife got them to stop doing USPS on her account and she gets either UPS(which I rarely get from Amazon) or Amazon's own delivery. For a while she was getting quoted less next day and Sunday delivery dates since she was UPS only, but now that Amazon is doing a lot more deliveries in my area, she's about to about the same shipping days as me again(mine being split between USPS and Amazon).
Amazons own last mile has now consistently failed to deliver my sub $20 items several times in a row now. You can say the same for amazon.
I've had the same experience but their last mile deliveries at least have a chance to make it. USPS will _never_ deliver to my door.
I suspect that the number of people that have to travel long distances (or across a lake) to get something from USPS are pretty rare, so Amazon's just eating the cost.
Also, the number of people that actually call/IM customer support for a credit is probably fairly low- until everyone starts holding their feet to the fire Amazon will continue to eat the cost.
The only way likely for this to be resolved is for Amazon to 100% own the supply chain end to end, which means an Amazon owning last mile delivery company which it seems where most of these delivery issues like. I'm sure Amazon is looking how it can own this part of the chain (along with everything else), maybe someday soon...
Amazon doesn't need to own the last mile. They just need to ensure whoever does meets their standards. USPS has rules for what size packages they will deliver. Amazon either needs to get USPS to follow their rules and deliver that package, or they need to read the rules and ship via someone who can deliver. (I don't know the rules or package in question so I cannot say who is at fault). Of course Amazon might be too small a player in the eyes of USPS, but there are other choices for delivery if USPS doesn't meet their needs.
Amazon does own a last mile delivery company, Amazon Logistics (AMZL). For deliveries to my house (Seattle area), AMZL was so bad that after many complaints, Amazon offered to block/disable that delivery method for my account.
Owning the supply chain end to end and paying employees enough to maintain a quality of life which supports good customer service
About 50% of my Amazon packages are delivered by Amazon at this point (Boise, ID area).
Yeah, I would say 90% of mine are (Los Angeles)
They own it in a handful of cities: https://www.amazon.com/AmazonFresh
Amazon Fresh is not full vertical integration, merely seems like Costco's ordering program or similar.
Amazon Fresh used to be quite popular in Seattle a half decade ago, but I barely see their empty containers anymore. I think Amazon saw their volume falling with Amazon Fresh and was threatened by their vendors and wholesalers with higher prices, thus purchasing Whole Foods to attempt to stabilize their cost on goods.
> Amazon Fresh used to be quite popular in Seattle a half decade ago, but I barely see their empty containers anymore.
Amazon has been cannibalizing Fresh by including (a smaller selection of) grocery items in Prime Now, which (unlike Fresh, which is a premium upgrade) is included in the base cost of Prime.
Amazon Fresh had its own (timely and reliable) delivery network and reusable plastic storage crates (often insulated). It seemed like a more eco-friendly & premium service compared to Amazon Prime.
That's a tough one - considering the blurry definition of "grocery item", they'll end up with a lot of frustrated customers who find they need a premium upgrade for the privilege of buying from Amazon.
For example, you can buy a Philips electric razor through Amazon Prime, but refill cartridges are only available through Amazon Fresh. The result: I made my first online order with Walmart and will probably make many more in the future.
I had really bad experiences with USPS recently, got multiple packages weren't delivered for unknown reasons and two were actually lost and their tracking were always like "Awaiting delivery scan".
Have you tried calling the post office and asking them to deliver large packages to your door? Our carrier does this for us.
They called me while I was in a meeting and said I could drive 15 minutes out to them. They don't deliver to houses here.
This is probably one of the many reasons why Amazon has started shipping their own products with their own fleet.
So...you need a bigger mailbox?
Not an option for everyone obviously but it's actually not a bad idea. I got an "extra large" rural mailbox a few years back and it's been great. Not everything fits of course but most basic book and small to medium parcels do. It also means I don't need to get my mail held even if I'm out of town for 10 days or so. My postal carrier even thanked me for getting it at one point.
Unfortunately it's a mailbox cluster at the entrance of a rural subdivision. The sizes are fixed and I believed they're property of USPS. An oversized package locker would be a great idea but it's not something I could do as a private citizen.
Well, it seems this here is the root of your problem.
And given the amount of difficulty and delay it causes, would be worth serious investigation into a solution.
I'm pretty sure residential mailboxes are owned by USPS. See section 632 at :
> Purchase, installation, and maintenance of mail receptacles are the responsibility of the customer.
You should just ask your subdivision/postmaster about adding a bigger package mailbox.
the funny thing is a lot of times they will us something like ups or fedex(even though those services will do it) and then locally let usps deliver to door. i have had issues with usps as well though.
Is that an ethical thing to do?
That depends who you think is in the right. In return for money, a merchant guaranteed a specific delivery date. I paid my money, they failed to to deliver. I contacted them and told them they needed to pick a new shipper. I ordered again. Again I paid money and they guaranteed a delivery date. Again they failed to deliver. Again I contacted them saying they needed to pick a new shipper. Each time they fail to live up to their side of the agreement, they pay me a token amount in restitution. All they have to do is pick a shipper that will actually deliver (or cancel my subscription, which wouldn't pain me in any way) and the cycle will be over.
Who's in the right?
Amazon, since you used the words "gamed the system".
Why wouldn’t it be?
He's "gaming" the system, he even said so himself.
Knowingly placing orders you know will not get fulfilled to collect money... where have I seen this before... https://archives.fbi.gov/archives/seattle/press-releases/201...
Does anyone know if Walmart has consigned, third party merchandise like Amazon does (e.g. sold by X, but shipped prime)? And if so, does it get commingled with the Walmart supply chain inventory?
My issue with Amazon is that I'm afraid of knockoffs, counterfeits and plain old cheap crap with fake reviews (really, 2000 people decided to review your plastic drinking cups?).
These days, I'm shopping more and more at Target, who offers free two day delivery on orders above a certain threshold, good prices, a curated selection of items, good website experience and most importantly, no third party sellers intermingling their fake wares.
Walmart Marketplace on the website runs on a similar business model to the Amazon marketplace, so there are third party sellers on their website. In some cases Walmart sells goods on consignment, so it does not own the goods in question, but it is still the seller of record.
So, there is a good chance that if you buy something in person at a Walmart that the products you are buying were consigned from the brand, but you would never know. Products stocked at Walmart itself go through a very rigorous vetting process, so in general you will never find anything on Walmart shelves that is truly 100% crap. As far as I know, there is no commingling with Walmart.
All online reviews are fake; there are just some products and places where the reviews are less fake than in other places. In general people don't do as much Walmart review fakery because their website gets so much less traffic and sales than Amazon does. The fakes go where the money is.
Unlike getting a product on store shelves which requires passing through a rigorous, sometimes corrupt, but difficult-to-fake process, getting a product on Amazon or Walmart Marketplace is as easy as uploading a spreadsheet or filling out a product description.
> Unlike getting a product on store shelves which requires passing through a rigorous, sometimes corrupt, but difficult-to-fake process, getting a product on Amazon or Walmart Marketplace is as easy as uploading a spreadsheet or filling out a product description.
This is the key. For the most part, anyone can sell anything on Amazon. On other sites, even if the reviews are fake, at least there's (generally) someone at the retailer who sanity checks their products for a basic level of quality and provenance.
At present Walmart does not commingle its inventory with 3rd party sellers. Things sold 3rd party are also shipped 3rd party so it is currently immune to the counterfeit problem that amazon is having.
That's not entirely accurate. Walmart offers DSV (drop ship vendors) which is basically inventory as a service. Walmart pays the third party sellers for storing and shipping the item, but takes on the overhead of customer service and returns. The customer is never made aware of the fact that they bought it from a third party because even the shipping label is customized to match Walmart's labels.
Right but they don't have the "we pulled a counterfeit widget out of the community widget bin and have no idea who's to blame" issue that Amazon had since they aren't co-mingling inventory from multiple suppliers.
It may be worth noting that Walmart has a lot of products on the shelf designed specifically for them to be cheaper. So, not counterfeit, but the SKU might not be exactly the same as another store.
Yeah but your Walmart phone charger will likely charge a phone. Your amazon counterfeit won't even have pins in the usb cable.
FYI Target has a service called "Restock" where you can get items the next day. I've used it a few times and it's not bad. You can buy detergent and they'll overnight them from some warehouse in Illinois or whatever (I live in Georgia...). I'm sure the shipping costs them an arm and a leg. I think they can streamline their operations but maybe they just wanted to get out a MVP.
Only time I had an issue was last time I ordered formula for my infant it came a week late. It was really an issue of the courier (FedEx) but I got a refund, and the formula came a week later...so free formula. Yay?
Whenever Walmart is mentioned I like to use the rise of Dollar General to illustrate my complete lack of confidence in anything the company attempts. How on earth did Walmart see the rise of Dollar General and not think: hey we could do that, or hey we should buy them, or hey Amazon has slow rural deliveries let's innovate there. They simply gave it a half-effort attempt and then gave up the small town / discount markets (which contained many loyal existing customers), blinded by their efforts to become Amazon and attract customers who don't care about Walmart brand. Dollar General's stock has doubled over the past 5 years and has a market cap of $30 billion, I have difficulty believing anything Walmart can do in efforts to become Amazon will add value equivalent to acquiring or cloning Dollar General around 2009. The thing that really kills me is that when Dollar General started gaining momentum during recession in 2009, Walmart was still nearly three times as large as Amazon and could have used Dollar General strategies to put Amazon on the defensive in some markets, but for some reason they didn't and have been struggling to figure things out ever since. I don't even have a horse in the race, and probably dislike Walmart when I really think about it, but every time I see a Dollar General I start thinking about this and end up getting frustrated that a company could so fundamentally lose it's way, striving for something it will never have.
Dollar General is a vulture that swoops in to clean the corpse of towns that Walmart has killed. Your argument that walmart isn't racing to the bottom efficiently enough could be right on its own terms, but what's the point? It's like arguing over which ocean to dump plastic waste into.
Dollar General and Family Dollar are not Dollar stores. They are small retailers who sell a limited inventory of groceries and such.
They are also closing alot of under-performing stores this year. I think Wal-mart might have known more then people give then credit for.
I agree. I was in a dollar general recently in a different city (just killing time) and i think they are actually more appealing to shop than a walmart. (I shop in neither usually).
DG gives an impression of small, local run (which I know they are not) shop with pretty decent service, and walmart doesn't feel like that.
What I wonder: why did it take them this long? Walmart has warehouse-sized stores that are close to almost everybody. And most of America's houses are already visited 6 days a week by a delivery person. Walmart could and should have made a deal with the USPS a decade ago. It would have been great for all concerned.
Instead, they let Amazon practically own the concept, eating away at their huge distribution advantage.
I can attempt to answer this. (Disclosure: Used to work at Walmart, though as an engineer not an ops person).
Most of the stores are optimized for in store shopping. What this means in practice is that the actual back rooms where the products are stored are relatively tiny (on the order of less than 10-15% the floor space of a typical Supercenter). The whole operation is designed so that the trucks can be unloaded as quickly and efficiently as possible, and most of the stuff can be stocked straight on the shelves where it is available for purchase. Inventory held in back rooms are minimal, and all the items in the entire store turn around extremely quickly.
Contrast this with an e-commerce warehouse, which has to deal with a large 'long-tail' of demand. People are used to having a huge range of choice available, and they expect same or next day shipping on whatever they order. Now instead of having say 20 boxes each of 8 different kinds of toilet paper now you need maybe 10 boxes of 100 different kinds, and they all have to be organized such that they're easily accessible to the packing crew. To make an efficient warehouse, you simply need a different layout and assortment of products than is available in your average store. At the same time, the stores continue to generate the vast majority of revenue for your business so you can't mess up their operations too much.
Not implying that it is an impossible problem to solve, simply a difficult one. I'm sure amazon will run into similar issues as they continue to integrate whole foods.
Do they have to? I need toilet paper. I get frustrated with eCommerce sites because they want to to figure out which of the 100 different ones is best - toilet paper is toilet paper. Let me choose based on size of roll and softness, give me the best price that meets my requirements.
e-commerce makes it easy to have a million choices, but my local brick and motor store - because they have limited space - just gives me the choices I care about without too many.
Thanks! This is very interesting.
I agree that to do it efficiently at scale, you need to change a lot. But they could easily have started with an Instacart-like approach, where every night when the stores are empty they have people pull and pack from the regular stock. That gets them into the game, and as buying habits change, they can start optimizing for the patterns that emerge. There are a lot of levers they can pull to keep that from disrupting store operation, including geographic rollout, limiting product selection, and marketing spend.
That's not optimal, of course. But neither is waiting until Amazon has a huge lead. So I still feel like they weren't thinking far enough ahead at a business level. Which as Clayton Christensen has shown, is pretty common for successful businesses.
Walmart is not actually using the Stores to deliver, but delivering 1-day from warehouses. Currently cheaper
I live in a major metropolitan area that has fought tooth and nail to keep Walmart out. Within 10 miles of my house (which encompasses pretty much the entire metro area) there is only 1 neighborhood Walmart that is smaller than many convenience stores. I've never actually traveled to visit it. Even before Amazon made the 1 day announcement, we were usually getting Amazon packages in less than 2 days since there is a huge Amazon warehouse in the metro area. The closest Walmart superstore is about 2-3 hours away from the city in rural areas. It would seem that if they are using the superstores to support 1 day shipping to the city, it will be hard for them to compete with Amazon.
I was looking for cheap college furniture a year or two ago and Walmart had a similar 'walmart prime' where you pay x$ for free 2 day shipping above a certain price point for a year. So, they've had this for a while, but not the mindshare IMO. (Other specialty stores also have this, but the mindshare isn't there).
> What I wonder: why did it take them this long?
What I wonder: why didn't USPS start an e-commerce business?
I think that would require at least an act of Congress, if not a constitutional amendment. It also would need a huge initial investment to succeed.
Yes, perhaps, but they could have used third party merchants instead of having everything on stock themselves. It's all about the portal, not about the actual merchants.
Deal with USPS? Would be hard to find a manager who can make this work and not obviously post it as a huge disaster on their resumee. USPS continues to bleed money, is always understaffed, continues to misplace the mail and is bugged with pretty old technology that is hard to upgrade. Add unions to it and you have a perfect government entity altho USPS is not actually a government organisation. If anything it would make more sense for Amazon mail to offer USPS a helping hand ;)
USPS continues to bleed money but that's due to the mandate from Congress about pre-funding pensions. That's a requirement that nobody else has - see the articles about the 3rd-largest coal company declaring bankruptcy and shedding its pension obligations.
Is always understaffed? Yeah, there are lines a lot of the time. So go to USPS.com if you can and buy postage online. Go to the offices that have ATM-like machines if you can't. My usual problem is that I have a letter that I don't want to send Priority Mail and I've gotten out of the habit of having 10 different amounts of postage labels.
Misplace the mail? I signed up for their service that sends me a picture of almost every piece of mail that gets delivered. The last problem with the mail that I can remember having was dropping off a check at the airport while leaving on a trip. The contractor suggested that mail there got extra inspection, which delayed it. I'm not sure that's right but I can see somebody dropping something "bad" in the mail right before they leave the city/state/country.
They're certainly not perfect and I bet it's not any more fun to work there than when "going postal" was a thing. But I'm pretty happy with USPS.
> USPS continues to bleed money but that's due to the mandate from Congress about pre-funding pensions. That's a requirement that nobody else has[.]
This is misinformation that unfortunately has become quite widely spread.
Private employers generally are required to pre-fund their pension obligations: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Employee_Retirement_Income_Sec.... FedEx and UPS both have around a 90% funded pension fund: https://www.investmentnews.com/article/20180509/FREE/1805099... https://www.pionline.com/article/20190221/ONLINE/190229950/u....
What the 2006 postal reform legislation did is require the USPS to pre-fund its retiree health benefits as well. While it's technically true that private employers don't have that same requirement, that is only because their employees are eligible for Medicare. Like other private employers, FedEx and UPS, and their employees, pay the employer/employee Medicare taxes. Postal employees, by contrast, do not pay into Medicare and are not eligible for Medicare benefits.
There is some crazy idea out there that Congress somehow required the USPS to fund its employee health benefits to make government services look bad. That is complete nonsense. When the reforms were enacted, the postal service had a $75 billion unfunded liability for health benefits: https://taxfoundation.org/primer-postal-service-retiree-heal.... Congress saw the impending disaster, and (pretty much unanimously) voted to impose the funding requirement.
I think the "crazy idea" also stems from the PRC regulating price increases. From a consumer viewpoint, it makes sense to regulate prices, but - again - from a consumer viewpoint, I'll agree that the USPS delivers a service for a VERY competitive price. And contrary to joering2's comment, they do an amazing job at it (considering the sheer volume).
>USPS continues to bleed money but that's due to the mandate from Congress about pre-funding pensions. That's a requirement that nobody else has - see the articles about the 3rd-largest coal company declaring bankruptcy and shedding its pension obligations.
The USPS hasn't actually made those payments in years.
All that the USPS has to do is put aside enough money to pay for pension obligations they incur. That's not "pre-funding" anything. It's paying for an expense that the business incurs. If they can't do it then they're bankrupt and should be reorganized so that they don't incur expenses they can't pay. Coal companies going bankrupt and shedding pension obligations is exactly the thing that's trying to be avoided.
Non pre-funded pensions are absolute madness. Pension funds are going bankrupt left and right. They are built on the ridiculous premise that the fund’s investments will perform well or that the parent company will be making enough money to pay out anyway.
They should probably just switch to defined-contribution plans and abandon the pension program altogether. I imagine politics got in the way of that, and that pre-funding the pension is the compromise position.
The unusual pension funding requirement forced on the USPS might be an instance of: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starve_the_beast
It might have that dual purpose, but I’d rather them have to properly fund their retiree healthcare and defined benefit pension expenses than be in the situation that most governments are in where today’s taxpayers get to pay for benefits earned in prior years.
Ideally, they would get rid of those retiree healthcare and defined benefit pension benefits and just pay their employees more in cash, and let them buy annuities if they want. That would make the whole operation far more transparent and get rid of possibilities of corruption and numbers games being played with these deferred pay agreements.
Perhaps. But any company who makes the claim of pensions or "we'll promise to pay you more later" should be legally required to store that in escrow.
So if/when they try their little bankruptcy schemes, it won't work.
I agree, at least for modern for-profit corporations. The USPS has a better track record than that class, is at least quasi-gov't, and, as a citizen, I'd be happy considering all USPS obligations backed by the full faith and credit of the US gov't.
I would disagree.
My wife and I will have different payouts for Social Security, because the younger have been stolen from. Every year that the federal govt adds to Social Security is one year less I get. And that matters to my housing, quality of food I eat, medical help, drugs I need, and basic quality of life.
I pay in the same percentage as older, yet they can retire earlier and get their money. And given my family proclivities of massive heart attacks in late 50s/early 60s, I'll see none of it. And I'm diabetic - this country cares little to none about health care... How many "supplements" will I need for medicare when I'm close to retirement age?
Where I'm sitting, I don't have that much to look forward to, given how much I've (forcefully) paid in. And I have little trust in the chuckleheads in office the last 20 years - since I've been able to vote.
I have had way less issues with USPS than UPS, especially considering the volume of mail coming via USPS. I think it is underpriced for the value it delivers, especially media mail.
I generally really like using the USPS, though not as much as when I could ship a Priority Mail Small Flat Rate Box for $4.95. USPS is very effective for some purposes, and I have the impression that, overall, they take integrity of delivery seriously. I also like that the workers are getting pensions, and the ones I see seem committed to the work.
USPS's reputation has also saved a few eBay sales, when the buyer said they didn't receive the item. I ask the buyer to please double-check that it didn't get mixed in with the junk mail or something, and say that, if it's not there, I'll refund them in full immediately and ask the USPS Postal Investigator to figure out what happened. Every double-check thus far has found the package.
The USPS is most certainly a government organization. It's mentioned in the Constitution. (that's the first clue). Where people get confused is that it's called a "independent agency" which simply means it doesn't fall under a Cabinet-level post. It is, however, controlled by Presidential appointees (that't the other clue it's part of the government).
At least for me, the USPS often does last-mile delivery for Amazon. Given that Amazon has already made this work, it seems reasonable to think that Walmart could have made it work as well.
And personally I haven't had them lose mail in years. I know this varied by region, so maybe it's just where I live now. But if anybody can make a large organization up their game, it's another large organization who is paying a lot of money.
Remind me again why a tax funded organization needs to make a profit?
Strictly speaking, their operations are not tax funded. Their operating budget comes from selling postage. There's a whole complicated discussion about their pension, which apparently gets some Federal funding, but day-to-day they are not tax funded.
They don't need next day delivery. They need a search that works, reviews that aren't fake, and a way to get products that aren't counterfeits half the time.
Amazon has skated way out onto very thin ice and is ready for disruption.
> and a way to get products that aren't counterfeits half the time
How often do you actually get fakes?
My family probably gets an Amazon delivery three or four times a week and we've never received a counterfeit item.
How do you know you're never received a counterfeit item? Many counterfeits you probably can't tell are counterfeit unless you have the real item already and do a side-by-side comparison.
For example, would you be able to tell if you got a counterfeit tumbler?:
Counterfeits might not last as long as the real thing or, worse, they might but unsafe.
I think I got counterfeit wallet a couple years ago, but I just suspected it of being not built to last, not counterfeit, until I read something on HN last week about Washington State making Amazon get rid of toxic school supplies. I was inspired to look up the wallet again and I found an extremely similar if not exactly the same wallet from a reputable brand but the one I bought was unbranded. I only knew the brand was reputable because I bought something from them before. I'm going to order a new wallet... straight from their site.
For a few years I was in the same boat: dozens of items delivered without issue. Within the last year or so it's become more common to hear about counterfeit issues on HN as well as personally be confronted with them--I've had to return 4 items that were obvious fakes and a 5th item that was already opened and probably not legit.
Is there any area in particular that seems problematic?
For me it's board games, and more specifically expansions. The last expansion I bought had slightly differently colored card backs than the base game, meaning you could tell if someone had expansion cards and making the expansion unusable. I had to compare them both to a friend's sets to know which was counterfeit.
You might be getting counterfeit boardgames, but the slightly different colors on the cards isn't a great tell.
Manufacturers are not great at getting card color to match, even for the same item, even in the same manufacturing run. I've got three kickstarters that have outstanding shipments to send out replacement cards because colors were mismatched on the backs in the very same box, and more that have already done it.
I've only purchased Kingdom Death Monster expansions from the official store, and card colors are hit and miss.
QC on color accuracy is pretty shitty in the popular factories used to produce boardgames, unfortunately.
Outside of the biggest major game manufacturers, that's long been a problem with legitimate board games having inconsistencies like that, for instance because different printers with slightly different process were used for different print runs of the same expansion.
Its perhaps a sign of the times that counterfeits are perceived to be common enough that the natural assumption when this occurs is "counterfeit" not "QC/supply chain issues".
My natural assumption was "QC/supply chain issues", because I've seen those too. In this case the designer actually posted about the issue on a forum, which was later linked by the publisher.
I've had a few fakes or knockoffs -- mostly low-cost electronics that I didn't care too much about.
But one of them was an AC adapter for my laptop :|
After I plugged it in, my laptop smoked. Well, more like sizzled. The manufacturer replaced the motherboard for me. After it happened, I examined the two AC adapters I had (real + not-real) and they were virtually identical except for some font and mark differences.
That was enough for me to change my shopping habits wrt to expensive electronics and to start using review analysis sites for everything.
>we've never received a counterfeit item. How can you be sure? That's the trouble with buying from street vendors.. could there be something in this water bottle?
I can't be sure. I got a book and a CD from them yesterday and both look legit. One or both could be counterfeits and I'll never know.
Try to buy an Apple, Logitech, or Samsung product.
Also (not by personal experience) its become quite difficult to get name brand clothing and shoes.
I'm excited for the future when we'll finally have day-before shipping, where ML predicts what I want before I even order it.
This honestly strikes me as getting close to doable. For Amazon to do next-day and same-day shipping with reasonable efficiency, they clearly have gotten good at this on a statistical basis, as the stuff needs to be in the warehouse in advance of shipping.
A plausible next step to me is something like the Amazon Corner Store, where they have neighborhood caches of goods. I go to order something and they say, "Hey, we figured you might want that, so it's just down the street if you want to pick it up now, or we'll drop it off later today." Or once self-driving improves a little more, maybe a mobile truck-sized warehouse with delivery bots, so they get delivery times down to 10 minutes or so.
And for the future, they have huge historical baselines for a lot of customers; I've been using them for more than 20 years. Most of the day their software sits in my pocket, so it wouldn't be hard for them to start collecting the sort of sensor data that gives them a very good idea of my activities and metabolic stats. It seems entirely believable to me that they could know that, for example, colds are going around, that sensor data indicates I'm going to feel the symptoms soon, and to dispatch a delivery robot with a package of tissues, OJ, and Nyquil.
Amazon does something similar now -- if they see you're following a repeating pattern (say, ordering detergent the first day of every month, or you buy the newest installation of an annual video game on release day), they'll prep loading the product onto their delivery trucks in anticipation of a last-minute order.
Really? That's very cool. Where could I learn more about that?
Argos here in the UK basically do that now, they have loads of physical locations and will do same-day delivery even if the item is out of stock at your nearest branch.
If by the future, you mean five years ago: https://techcrunch.com/2014/01/18/amazon-pre-ships/
"Amazon has filed a patent for a shipping system designed to cut delivery times by predicting what buyers are going to buy before they buy it — and shipping products in their general direction, or even right to their door, before the sales click even (or ever) falls."
Realistically they were looking at items added to your cart but not yet purchased, and moving them to a closer distribution center in case you purchased.
Hopefully it can also predict me backing out right before hitting buy. Otherwise life is going to get expensive.
Amazon has been getting people to sign up to have their homes, cars, garages etc. open to delivery people for stuff that they've ordered. I figure it's only a matter of time before they start warehousing stuff you haven't ordered there. Maybe you can just wander out to your car and browse, scan whatever looks good with your phone and take it. (Hopefully kidding but I guess you never know what people will trade for "convenience".)
John Deere already does that for common parts. They put a shelf in the farmer's shed with oil, filters, belts... and the farmer takes out what is needed. Once a week the dealer comes by and refills whatever is missing, and once a month sends a bill. No need for any of the scanning as you take it out: you are the only one with access to the cabinet so if it is missing you bought it.
So... it's like a hotel minibar for tractor parts. Great idea! (Hopefully the pricing is less outrageous.)
TIL, thats pretty cool and makes a lot of sense. I used to work at a mine and we'd break expensive parts all the time, the supplier would have to ship them in from halfway across the world. They should really do something like that.
If you don't like it, just send it back in the included return envelope and pay nothing. Just like the scams of the 80's!
The analytics are there. There's that classic article from some years back about a Target knowing that a woman was pregnant before her dad did because they were sending coupons for items related to pregnancy. The issue is now making a goo d product out of the service that people want.
I've assumed that's been coming for a while—Amazon ships you something they think you'll want, and you ship it back if you don't. There are probably legal hurdles, but.
Starting with the fact that, in the U. S. at least, if you didn't order it, you get to keep it. IANAL, but that could probably be signed away in the agreement or something.
I think there are ways around it. I get a book every year from Cooks Illustrated, and I don't ask for it, but about a month before they send it, they send me a letter telling me "we're going to send you this book unless you respond back to this letter". Which is really scummy, but I do want the book, so I let them.
I hope you didn't pay them for it. Telling me up front you're going to send something, while expecting payment, unless action is taken on my part does not absolve them of letting you keep the item free of charge.
Put another way, shit shows up in my mailbox for which I took zero action? Mine now.
They have a patent for that. Where it actually predicts what you will order and they ship it to a distribution point closer to you.
reminds me of this fun little promo short https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwK02wNVOy8
that was not as fun as advertised.
> Honey... why did Amazon send us a bone saw, an acid-resistant plastic tub, latex gloves, industrial-grade hydrochloric acid, and a bottle of bleach?
$5 credit on your next order if you follow these steps...
I tried to get a pair of airbuds delivered to upstate NY. Two weeks after they were lost in transit, WMT put the onus on me to speak with the shipper and track down. I canceled. Amazon has nothing to fear.
That Amazon announcement was a bait in disguise. Amazon can pull this off because they have massive logistics efficiencies that are optimized for their e-commerce business.
Walmart has to do way more because their core business is still walk-in retail. They have to literally force their model to make this happen and that's why you get low reliability on the customer offering and an unprofitable dynamic in the business operation.
There's some forcing for sure, but they already had a lot of the hard parts in place when they started the process. I've witnessed since the fall of 2016 their sending me many packages from various locations to almost always shipping one package, and without any promises many of those packages then and now arrive the next day if I order them in the morning.
That is maybe the first sign of brick and mortar retail finally waking up. Considering that technically they have one fulfillment center in every small town they should be able to achieve really short lead times out of these. Fulfillment Centers obviously being all their stores. While it is a non-trivial thing to connect all these stores to last mile courier services it is not necessarily overly complex.
Just what that means for Amazon and retail will be seen. I for my part won't be surprised if Amazon will change its focus more to Walmart. In turn that could open opportunities for new competitors.
> That is maybe the first sign of brick and mortar retail finally waking up.
Hasn't Walmart been inching into this space for a while? I already cross-shop with Amazon all the time, and for me Walmart's delivery is often quicker than Amazon's already.
>Hasn't Walmart been inching into this space for a while?
Yup. An aircraft carrier cannot turn on a dime but when it finally comes around it's bad news for anyone in its way.
Walmart, yes. But at least in Europe (France and Germany at least), the last mile is still outsourced to the customer. Giving all the smaller delivery services in every city retailers always had the possibility to offer these services. That they didn't allowed Amazon to become as big and successful. Still, Amazon executed almost perfect on that opportunity.
Since I always wondered how it would look like if that window closes I am happy that I might get a first glimpse.
Yeah they bought Jet for about three billion dollars cash in 2016, for their delivery network. See point two on https://blog.walmart.com/business/20160919/five-big-reasons-...
Ya I order from Walmart online all the time for dry food, for years now. Their delivery wasn't next day, but usually a few days which 99/100 times for me is more than fine.
The 5000 sq ft in the back of every Walmart is nowhere near being a fulfillment center. It's already full of items for the low turn-around shelves in the store. Instead, they'll be relying on their warehouses to handle this change. They were already dicking around with modifying scheduled loads to accommodate the internet sales orders, back in 2016. This will just be more of the same, really.
I'm guessing the more complex part of the operation is inventory management. The optimal way to stock a warehouse is different than the optimal way to stock shelves, and that has knock-on effects all the way down the supply chain. Plus, the inventory tracking in a physical store that is exposed to consumers is less robust in general.
Generally speaking, inventories go up with the number of warehouses. Plus the uncertainty of quantities and the state of goods in a store. On the other hand, Walmart used to be the model case for cross docking, so their Supply Chain isn't too bad. And stores still have some local inventory in the background. Not much, but it is there and can be used and much closer controlled.
That this isn't easy was proven by Amazon's issues integrating Whole Foods. And Amazon is good at these things.
A major hurdle to that is finding the space to pick and pack then organize the packages for pickup by whatever delivery company they create or partner with.
I saw what Target's same day pickup / two day shipping workstation looked like on Black Friday last year. It was two 6' workstations with a shared printer, tape dispenser, air pillow machine between them. Maybe 4 employees packing, and 2-3 employees picking items and either bringing them up front or to the back. I think they had a handful of pallets that they stacked all the boxes on and left at the loading dock for UPS. New orders were coming in every 10 seconds or so, but they could have handled 10X that.
>Considering that technically they have one fulfillment center in every small town
Sorry to nitpick with an anecdote, but the closest Walmart to me is over 60 minutes away and I don't live in a small town, just one that rejects/blocks "big box" stores aggressively. Walmart certainly has a lot of stores but not everyone has one just around the corner (thankfully)
To counter with an anecdote, I live in a metro area with over 4 million inhabitants, and the nearest Amazon fulfillment center is over 120 minutes away.
The bottom line is that Walmart's physical presence in the U.S. absolutely dwarfs that of Amazon... outside of NYC and a couple of mega-urban metropolises, who see Walmart as more "evil" than Amazon because they're in the mindset of still fighting the previous war.
I know what you mean. Not every town can be like the one with maybe 3k inhabitants and 5 Rewe stores I know in Germany.
But still, 60 minutes means same day delivery without too much hazzle. An advantage Amazon doesn't have. Disadvantage is the considerably higher fix costs of Walmart and the like.
Dropshopping could, theoretically at least in my opinion, provide that geographic reach without adding additional fix costs for a player like Amazon.
Agreed, and 60 minutes away the "Walmart every 20 min rule" applies. What's funny, is our region would welcome an Amazon "fulfillment" center because of the job creation, but Walmart is "evil".
The stat is that something like 90% of the U.S. population lives within a 15 min drive of a Walmart.
I guess that means I'm a 10%er! Neat.
Didn't yesterday's article about the packing robots mention Walmart had already done it?
Amazon has rolled out same day delivery for my area and it is too convenient to pass up. I used to go to Brick and Mortar to get my items faster and I felt good that I was supporting them, but now I will have a hard time saying no.
Walmart has always had a terrible website experience for me. It's difficult to find items that will be in store for pick up and difficult to tell which items are part of the third party marketplace. Going to Walmart in person is equally terrible. There are so many trashy people I just stopped going, even though the prices were lower. It's the worst of both worlds.
I hope that same day delivery becomes something that every b&m retailer can provide regardless of their infrastructure. Maybe this is through Amazon or another third party. I'm wary of giving Amazon too much, but maybe this is the future and everyone else needs to get on board.
Coming up with a next day delivery service on scale for every brick and mortar retailer out there sounds like a good start-up idea. Kind of Uber for Walmart or some such thing!
Who says that once Amazon figures out one day delivery at scale that they won't sell it as a platform? Seems obvious.
Uber says that they are the Amazon of Transportation. I'd argue that Amazon is the Amazon of transportation.
Actually, Amazon just announced they are willing to throw money at you to start a company to do delivery for them.
Agreed on the website experience. While co-mingling is almost always bad - at least buying things via Amazon is a nicer experience.
Walmart and others (like Newegg) who have started selling other merchant goods on their website, have made it pretty much clear that I will never buy something not sold by them - exorbitant shipping, terrible pictures and subpar product descriptions for the 3rd party seller items.
Are you actually getting one day deliveries in a day? I always got two day deliveries on time before the switch, but so far the vast majority of my one day shipping items are coming late. It's not a big sample size, but 7/9 were or are currently late.
I'm 3/3 for same day. I order in the morning and packages are delivered before I'm home from work. It's free with Prime too. Can't believe it.
I recently ordered an iPad for my mother from Walmart (after comparing prices at Amazon, Costco and Apple store, and found Walmart's one to be $20 cheaper).
The iPad arrived literally the next day. The iPad covers, although apparently shipped from abroad, arrived in less than 7 days. I was impressed. Next time around, I'll definitely be checking out Walmart before I purchase any other items above $100 for sure.
Side note: I never had prime subscription.
I'm pulling for Walmart! I've seen the death of so many stores that I dearly miss (Sears, JC Penny, etc.). I can no longer get good hand tools or good t-shirts locally. And, the online stores are full of rip-offs and forgeries. Walmart is the last bastion of honest retail (where I can talk to a fellow human in person). I really hope they make it.
It's so odd to see Walmart getting cheered on as a plucky neighborhood underdog. They were Amazon before Amazon, using their huge scale to drive local competition out of business and relentlessly pressuring suppliers to drive down prices.
All that said I'm rooting for them too, simply because competition with Amazon is good for everyone.
Having grown up in a small town, we cheered walmart killing all those little businesses with overpriced goods. Instead of planning the monthly trip to the big city we would head to Walmart after supper and be home before bedtime.
>I'm pulling for Walmart! I've seen the death of so many stores that I dearly miss (Sears, JC Penny, etc.). I can no longer get good hand tools or good t-shirts locally. And, the online stores are full of rip-offs and forgeries. Walmart is the last bastion of honest retail (where I can talk to a fellow human in person). I really hope they make it.
I kind of feel the same way, but damn if this isn't one of those things that me from 15 years ago would think was insane.
People like Microsoft? Apple is being brought up on anti-trust issues? Walmart is "good" now? What even is this reality we live in?
Just so you know, Walmart is not the underdog. Walmart sells many multiples the volume that Amazon does, and to boot, most of the products sold are owned by Walmart. Amazon is merely a fee-taker on the majority of the product sales that it facilitates.
Can you post evidence to support those claims?
These are not controversial claims.
Walmart revenue is $514 billion. Amazon revenue is $232 billion. Currently, about half of the retail revenue of Amazon is marketplace sales, where Amazon does not own the merchandise but simply warehouses it on consignment and charges fulfillment fees, or in some cases simply places a drop-ship order for it.
About 70% of Amazon sales are from third party sellers. So if you are comparing apples to apples you have to just look at the ~30% that is direct from Amazon. And with first hand experience with Amazon's Vendor program they go further than a lot of other retailers in pushing costs onto their vendors such as making them eat returns etc.
> you have to just look at the ~30% that is direct from Amazon.
Except due to commingling you might get something from a 3rd party Fulfilled by Amazon instead of Amazon's supply chain.
> And with first hand experience with Amazon's Vendor program they go further than a lot of other retailers in pushing costs onto their vendors such as making them eat returns etc.
I know Walmart is very severe with their vendors, do you believe Amazon is worse?
That number is included in the marketplace vs 1P sales. The 3P seller gets credited when their commingled item is sold. Amazon gets credited for the sale when it is the one they own that is sold. That's how it works. A lot of sellers also opt out of commingling so it is really not as much of a factor as is sometimes portrayed. There are only certain kinds of items that are disproportionately impacted by it.
>I know Walmart is very severe with their vendors, do you believe Amazon is worse?
I mean, Walmart is harsh, but Amazon is just an insane robot as it relates to most vendors. Think more maliciously dumb than evil.
Walmart is the reason vast numbers of people can no longer buy anything good locally. They were killing local stores before Amazon was.
I'm rooting for their death, as I have since I first heard about them in the mid 90s, pushing out local music retailers so they can sell the censored, watered-down crap they strongarmed labels into producing.
Never spent a penny there, never will.
>Implying local is better
I've found local/mom and pop is significantly more expensive, than our national counterparts.
I don't think lowest income Americans could live at their current standard of living off local mom and pop stores.
>Implying megacorp forcing their values on people is undesirable
In my area, music stores managed to survive Walmart for the most part because they got into buying and selling used. Stores like Best Buy also cut into local music sales substantially.
The end result was inevitable, however, regardless of Walmart or Best Buy. First Napster, then Apple, then Spotify. If anything, the local music store survived by offering a premium, through their knowledge, sense of community, vinyl offerings, etc. while Best Buy and Walmart have retreated on music sales.
You can stop this type of progress. While the romantic idea of local shops is appealing, the reality is not. High prices, inconvenient hours, and limited selection pale in comparison to incredible selection, low prices, and 24-hour availability.
Thankfully, streaming solved this particular issue-- You no longer need a local music store in your community to ensure that you're not stuck listening to censored junk.
Lowes bought the Craftsman line from Sears so you can still buy good hand tools.
Good may be a bit too generous to Craftsman. I've never found their hand tools reliable. Their powertools less so.
Worst was a ratchet where the first thing to break wasn't one of the teeth on the gear, but instead the pawl, meaning instead of simply slipping and still being mostly usable, it became immediately useless. Which is just annoyingly bad engineering.
Depends on one's window of time when buying Craftsman. Anything in the last ten years is definitely crap, fifteen-twenty years ago was becoming hit-or-miss, anything older than that was definitely good. My father was a tool-and-die maker since the 60s, and always had Craftman tools. Err, correction, still has; I'm sure a ratchet or two has been lost to abuse (i. e., "cheater bar"), but last I checked the vast majority of his collection is intact.
So when the old farts bemoan that old Craftsman quality, they're talking two decades ago.
Oh I'm well aware they used to make very quality products. Craftsman at one point was re-branding high quality products, like Abus locks. But that was again, 50 years ago. Their recent tools have left me disappointed with issues coming up far too soon. Not that I'm easy on tools but still.
Lowes might sell Craftsman tools, but Stanley bought the name: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Craftsman_(tools).
Yesterday we were looking to buy a few movies, Amazon was 6x the price of Walmart.
I no longer choose Amazon, I actively search for the best deal now.
costco > target > walmart in my book
The relentless competition in retail never ceases to amaze me. I remember when online order delivery times for basic items were measured in weeks. Now, I can order the most obscure of items and get it at my door in 1-2 days.
>Now, I can order the most obscure of items and get it at my door in 1-2 days.
For anything obscure but to big to fit in a bubble wrap envelope you're still going to pay big bucks though.
I've been trying to use Walmart for most of my household internet shopping needs because I dislike a lot of Amazon's practices.
In general Walmart is...ok. Their shipping times are pretty accurate, though they will sometimes split up shipments and don't clearly inform you. It also seems like their shipping pipeline is a lot rougher on boxes than Amazon. I ordered a window-mounted AC unit and the box showed up wrecked - the unit was badly dented and never worked.
Like Amazon, they have the problem of "seamlessly" integrating 3rd party sellers into their store which means you need to look closely or 4/5 things in your order will arrive day after tomorrow and 1/5 will arrive in 2-3 weeks.
 Walmart is no picnic either, but only so many companies can ship me the random products I've gotten used to.
I tried ordering a flat screen TV from Walmart. My logic was that it'd be a lot easier to return to a physical store then mail back.
I'm not sure if it was the overall trip or the final delivery but I found the package with the "This side up" upside down. Opened the box and the screen was totally shattered.
Their return process was nice though!
Wal Mart's practices have certainly been much worse than Amazon's in aggregate.
How so? As a consumer, I personally have a lot less trust in Amazon. At least with Walmart I know I'll get what I ordered instead of some cheap Chinese knockoff.
Walmart's bad practices by far predate the founding of Amazon and have been well-documented. Walmart moves into towns and undercuts prices on locally-owned stores, putting them out of business and destroying Main Street America. They demand products sold on their shelves reduce the quality enough to make the items disposable, which forces the manufacturing offshore to China or Mexico, further destroying American towns.
As a consumer, Walmart is better than Amazon in the very short term. Long term, both Amazon and Walmart are causing serious damage to the economy of America.
Good riddance to those "main street" stores and their overpriced business model.
Yup. Good riddance to downtowns, to store owners who put their customer and employee needs before pure profit. Good riddance to community, to knowing your neighbor, to walking. Good riddance to sustainable pricing and sustainable wages.
Much better that we drive out of town to Walmart, pick up dinner at the drive-through, drive home, and never have to talk to anyone or walk on a sidewalk. Much better that the profits leave the town, the county, the state, and move to a corporate headquarters. Much better than the main economic center for a town is outside city limits so the city gets no tax revenue to maintain roads, schools, and water/sewer service. Much better that the taxpayers subsidize those rollback prices that force their employees onto food stamps and welfare checks. Much better that you can buy something so cheaply that when it breaks you just throw it in the ocean and buy another one.
Good riddance to America. The United States of Amazon is just so much more convenient.
Is that true though? I just cancelled an order with Walmart after I noticed it was a 3rd party seller; I have no idea if I would have received a knockoff or not.
I suppose I shop at Walmart in a digital context, but avoid them in a physical one. Obviously their competitive practices are pretty harmful.
There just aren't good alternatives to Amazon in general. Do you have another recommendation? I've tried to use Target but have found their selection to be quite bad.
Every corporation does some sketchy thing or another so I just use Amazon because it's the most convenient.
You could go out and shop locally at small stores when possible if you want. Some argue it's still better to go to a Wal Mart than order from Amazon because it keeps local jobs. I've heard Amazon warehouse work has bad conditions but pays decently and consistently if you're willing to put up with it, while Wal Mart pays less and switches your shifts around but is obviously less labor intensive - various points for each but I have gotten the impression Wal Mart is worse on society overall. I think it's generally a moot point because the influence of the few people who are both motivated to take these stances on where to shop and can afford to is too small to make a difference - legislation and unionization are the most practical avenues.
One part of local shopping I highly recommend is farmers' markets - not just in the sense of not supporting Tyson et al, fresh eggs are great and you can even get different kinds like duck eggs (bigger and taste better), you can get fresh grass fed beef and other meats if you're lucky, and obviously the vegetables/fruits are good too.
Yah - it's easy to find alternatives offline. The problem (and the context of the discussion as I understood it) was online shopping.
Online shopping isn't a necessity for the most part.
Delivering physical goods is a surprisingly persistent problem. Circa 2003, my thinking was that by the time amazon inevitably folds and the next generation of ecommerce takes over, commodity delivery systems will have gotten good enough to enable a drop-shipping future. The sites would be aggregators (stumbleupon, digg, etc.) with a good UI and packages would come directly from wholesalers and manufacturers.
Meanwhile, it's the 20s and delivery is still a strategic capability that the largest companies on earth compete on.
Target is also experimenting with this locally.
When you order something online, instead of shipping it from a warehouse, it is instead shipped directly from a local Target store via UPS (you can tell from the shipping label). I've had several things delivered next day as a direct result.
The major difference is that Target aren't yet advertising that this will be the case, and therefore don't guarantee it or similar. But I anticipate we'll see Target officially announce this service when they've worked out the kinks.
I actually ordered a CPU from Walmart.com a few days ago. It'll take a week to get to me, but it's still amazing to me that the order happened at all.
My goodness, they sell a bunch: https://www.walmart.com/search/?cat_id=0&facet=retailer%3AWa... (substitute amd for intel in that query if you prefer) including a $1,629 Ryzen Threadripper $70 cheaper than Newegg, free 2 day delivery or local store pickup. The multi-thousand dollar Xeons seem to be more in the receive next week category, but a couple of the most expensive 18 or 28 core, $3K plus or minus, are 2 day, at or just a bit more expensive than what Newegg is charging for them.
One thing I don't understand why Walmart hasn't invested in: change the web interface!!! Their website is just not attractive at all!!!
They're shooting to keep it as close to the in-store experience as possible, in that regard ;)
You joke, but with the recent update they do have similar design aesthetics. If you're already a happy Walmart physical store customer that's perfectly OK, "familiar" is a good thing, even if it's not as attractive as you'd like.
I personally wouldn't say the design aesthetic for either is "attractive", but they're pretty clean and functional, and that is worth a lot. Walmart.com transactions are now a bit easier than Amazon, before you factor in the tremendous amount of effort the latter requires to avoid counterfeits. Walmart.com search is a lot better once you get the right terms, and turn off 3rd parties which they make trivial.
What do you find wrong with the web interface? I think its fine?
Neither is Amazon's
This is still only on orders over $35.
Walmart still does not realize what Bezo's has done with Prime. He has made it the default option and incentivized users to check there first by removing all the friction.
Having these weird caveats and no 'membership' (which again, makes users think of Prime first) is going to keep Walmart behind for a long while.
Walmart did realize what AMZN did with prime membership. But they probably also realized their customer base wont pay for another membership.
They already have a bulk retail subscription with Sams Club. A membership that includes access to both the retail store and one-day walmart.com shipping could be attractive.
Possible evidence they could be thinking about this: a few minutes ago I filled out a survey of their's about my last Walmart.com purchase, and one of the questions asked was if I, or an immediate family member had a Sam's Club membership.
Prime has weird caveats also, though. eg. small objects like personal grooming supplies, snacks, etc. are much more expensive if they're offered through Prime at all. (Most are offered through 'prime pantry' which forces you to buy at least 25$ worth of stuff).
They have this already for groceries in some markets. The problem is $13+ of delivery fees and tips. This has got to be worked down to $0.
Walmart seems poised to steal a lot of cost conscious shoppers from Amazon because Amazon simply doesn't offer a lot of the "value priced" product lines that Walmart does and they've basically been competitive with Amazon for shipping times for quite awhile now.
My family has started using Walmart's grocery pickup service. You select your groceries online, then schedule a pick-up time. You drive up at the agreed upon time, Walmart workers come out and load your car trunk with groceries. You never leave the car.
Walmart's not sitting still.
It is for orders above 35 dollar and only available on certain items?
How is this a shot back?
Does Amazon have a money printing side business that allows them to subsidize/ keep prices near 0?
Until then, this is the equivalent of pissing in the wind.
If I was an investor, this looks like WMT opex just increased big time.
It's good to see some viable competition to Amazon, but it's regretful that it comes from, and probably can only come from, another mega-corporation with an extremely poor track record around worker treatment.
I wonder how viable some sort of supply-chain co-op would be. Basically, get all of the medium players together to share resources to try to match these gargantuan companies on the delivery and returns front. It just doesn't seem possible for them to match these companies on their own, and a third-party would basically just be UPS.
In a sense some of the food delivery companies are doing exactly this. Perhaps if one of them branched out...
Target needs to get on this too.
Dataset of one, but I've been more and more impressed with Target's online offerings lately. I've gotten a little sick of the fakes/third party nonsense on Amazon so I tried both Walmart and Target. As long as you're ordering over $35, Target does free two-day shipping, and they've been pretty seamless for me.
Target has been doing this for a while now, via their acquisition of Shipt.
Target started by adapting their supply chain to leverage underperforming brick & mortar stores as distribution centers, which is great. But they really need to up their e-commerce game. The website itself makes product discovery much harder than it should be, and their selection is still far inferior to Amazon & Walmart.
Target seems to really promote store pick-up.
Too little too late!
WalMart.com lost me at limiting my password to 12 characters.