Everyone knows that the United State Postal Service (USPS) has been in financial trouble since the 21st century began. That is not surprising given that most financial transactions now take place on the Internet. I can’t remember when I last mailed a bill payment through them or much of anything else for that matter. This post is about what may just be the future of the USPS and that is as a FDD.Read more
I’m sure that if you checkout the richest people in about any community you will find that many own car dealerships. But I kinda think that is about to change and change drastically.
Car sales are about to be Amazonized.Read more
I know one of the ranting points of many folks is how the “mom & pop” business have almost disappeared from America. But according to an article I recently read they are mounting a very striking comeback. Thanks to Amazon!
Several of the items I have purchased recently are obviously from small and medium sized business. Amazon encourages small businesses to engage with them. They are not like brick and mortar stores who have only so much shelf space. Customers don’t have to roam down isle after isle to try to find what they are looking for. Amazon is an ideal place for small businesses.
Of course I realize that Amazon wants their share of the profits for their small business sales but really they are not much different from most brick and mortar business in that regard. According to USA Today, Amazon has helped 1.9 million U.S. based small and medium sized business (SMB) to generate more than $160 billion in sales in 2018. The number of SMBs with more than $1 million in sales grew by 20% last year.
Amazon is indeed good for many small businesses. But that isn’t just some making your stuff, it also include authors who self-published books. They made about $260 million for their prose. Publishing a book used to be an expensive proposition but now with e-books, even I am contemplating becoming a “published author”.
And that is still not all that Amazon offers small business. They are now encouraging entrepreneurs to build, with Amazon’s help, their own package delivery services.
I remember when Jeff Bezos first started Amazon, he impressed me by stating up front that Amazon would not be issuing any dividends. Instead he would be plowing all profits back into the company. He definitely had a LONG term view of what he wants his business to be. His view of the company made me buy some Amazon stock. I wish I had bought much more than I did!
Being a database guy myself, I can appreciate how he built efficiency into his business model. Thanks to his unique database algorithms he managed to do what no one else even envisioned. A big part of his recent profits are providing that structure to other businesses.
I’m pretty sure that an Amazon type business model that will dominate 21st century sales of goods and services. Just like so many other jobs today, you don’t have to be physically located and any particular part of the country to be a successful business anymore.
I have made it pretty clear here that I am an Amazon Prime member and have been for more years than I can remember. I was smart enough to add some Amazon stock to my IRA about ten years ago, but I was not smart enough to buy much more. My stock has gone up about 400% so far!
I know the argument about buying from local retailers, but since Walmart has already eaten up most of them before Amazon was even a dream, that ship has sailed. If I want anything that Walmart doesn’t sell I must make an hour round-trip to the next town of any size. Besides wasting my time it costs about $10 in gas and wear and tear of my vehicle. But that is not what this post is really about.
I buy a lot of stuff from Amazon, but one thing I have learned is to pay attention to where it is coming from. Not all items are delivered in 2 days or less to us Prime Members. A lot of what Amazon sells is made and shipped directly from Chinese companies. When you buy those items it generally takes two weeks or so to get them. That is almost the same delivery schedule as most of Amazon’s competitors! 🙂
I am spoiled now. I am just too used to ordering something Sunday night and having it delivered Tuesday afternoon. I don’t have the patience to wait two weeks anymore.
I saw an article in the New York Times recently about how a new orthopedic clinic contacted Amazon to find out who bought knee-braces in their area. After paying a fee Amazon sent that info along with names and addresses of the customers. The new clinic then sent mail to just that select group instead of flooding the area with their advertisements. I guess some would consider that an invasion of privacy but I kind of see it as smart advertising and saving a forest of trees.
What do you think? Is Amazon abusing their customers?
I’m a car guy, or at least I enjoy watching TV shows about cars. One of my favorite new shows is “Full Custom Garage”. It is about a very creative guy who doesn’t have all the fancy tools of so many other shows but manages to make beautify creations with very basic tools. The satellite channel he is on used to be called “Velocity” but just recently it was re-named “Motor Trend”.
I think the owner of the channel got a new CEO recently and he had to justify his million dollar contract by renaming the channel. The trouble with this is that on my satellite listing it is tagged MTHD. Is it just me but when I see those initials I think “Meth Head”? I will keep watching it but I will never describe myself as a meth head! 🙂
In_Depth Report Coming Soon…
For the last couple of weeks, I have been working on an In-Depth report on the subject of Autism. I was hoping it would be ready for tomorrow but it just needs more work so I will put it off at least another week. The title is The Positive Side of Autism. It is about my study of autism concentrating primarily on adults and in particular Asperger’s part of the spectrum. I suspect the title is upsetting to some, especially those who have children with the most severe forms of autism, but there is a positive side for this condition that needs to be explained. The vast majority of work in autism is with children. Since what is now defined as autism has been around for centuries or more we need to know about it at the adult level. That is where perhaps, 98% of the total autism population exists.
I will be putting out my 3500th post here at RJsCorner this week! If you don’t believe me, just click on the Archive Calendar on the right side of this and every post. 🙂 I didn’t know I had it in me. This is my 10th year on the corner, but it seems like yesterday!!
Help me celebrate and I hope you keep coming back for more.
I know the title of this post is a worn out cliche but it does kinda make sense for this post about WalMart taking on Amazon in the online market. Another worn out cliche that fits this scenario is “Better late than never”.
It is still kind of hard to think of Walmart as “old-school”. I can remember when there were none of them around. I think of McDonald’s in the same vein. Both are trying to hold on to the dominance they once had in their markets while others are quickly eating their dinner so to speak. McDonald’s, at least in my area, are going through a pretty severe facelift. The golden arches are for the most part gone except for a small one on the side of the new plain grey facade. But in both cases, I kind of think its too little too late but I am getting ahead of myself here.
Walmart is trying to bring up a strong online presence but from my personal experiences, it is a pretty meager effort. Their “new” website is well (yawn) boring. It just lacks the pizzazz and speed of response of Amazon. But I have recently given them a chance. I was in need of a new twin mattress for my microRV and found that Walmart has the one I want for about the same price as Amazon, so I ordered it. They promised a 3 day delivery to my local store. When I went to pick it up I found a pretty much untrained staff to handle the transaction. I wish them luck but…
I have never been a person who patiently waits in a line. It has always seemed like a total waste to me. I will most often do anything to keep from having to stand behind other people. Now that I have taken the “One day at a time” approach to life, I want to live what I have left of life as fully as I can. Waiting in line is just not in that scenario. And as Will said in the quote above many things just aren’t worth the wait.
Most of my grocery shopping occurs during the early hours when the store is almost empty. I can order just about anything from Amazon now and have it on my doorstep within two days. Why drive an hour round trip to search through aisle after aisle trying to find what I am looking for and then wait to pay for it?
At an even higher level, I have come to more fully understand what the mantra “Simplify” means. I try to always stop and ask myself “do I really need this?” Many times the answer is “No”.
Of course, there are times when waiting in line has to be tolerated. One of those times for me was when I wanted to get something off my bucket list. That something was a week at Disney World. Even though I visited the park during the off-season the lines were still pretty gnarly. I loved my time there but will never do it again. 🙂
I will say upfront that I am a regular customer at Amazon. I shop there more than everywhere else combined, except for food and medicine that is. I am an Amazon guy.
When Jeff Bezos came upon the scene in the late 1990s with the simple idea of selling books online I thought he was a guy for the 21st century. He was taking the long view when most CEO’s were anguishing over the next quarter’s profit. Amazon has grown even beyond my expectations. Their two-day delivery is beyond belief in the corporate world.
I saw the other day the following quote from him it is “Day 1” which allows Amazon to continually move forward. According to him Day 2 is stasis followed by irrelevance, followed by death. So, to Jeff, it will always be Day 1.
Another important distinction between Mr. Bezos and the typical current day CEO is that he practices the theory of the three-legged stool. That is that all corporations are made of up a mix of owners/stockholder, customers, and employees, and that attention should be given to all three legs to keep the corporation balanced. That used to be the norm but during the Reagan years and the hyped MBA programs, the total attention was given to the owners. Some people call this “shareholder capitalism” vs “stakeholder capitalism.”
When Amazon went public, Bezos wrote a shareholder letter that basically said he wasn’t going to worry about them (the shareholders). Instead, his total attention would be customer satisfaction. Everything he does is skewed towards customer satisfaction.
Fast forward to today and Amazon is the fastest growing corporation and has the most loyal customers and highest customer satisfaction. Yes, there is harping about how much he demands from this employees. He wants them to be as focused as he is on customer satisfaction and some simple can’t do that. Some complain that they are losing their jobs to automation/robots but that is normal for today and is a step forward to me.
Amazon is always looking for ways to do things more efficiently and as a result sometimes jobs change in the process. Amazon is about embracing change and that is what a 21st-century corporation should be about, at least in my twisted mind. 🙂