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Old 17-10-2020, 11:29   #16
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Re: Why is Amazon so successful?

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Somebody at some point in the supply chain is carrying inventory. Be it the retailer, the distributor, the manufacturer, or some other ad-hoc point.


Allan.
Not really, not the way inventory was done in the past anyway... Industry is switching to 'just in time manufacturing' where a lot of stuff, especially all the stuff shipped direct to your house from china, is not really inventoried. Though Amazon does provide a warehouse service to their retailers, I believe the qty of materials stored are much lower than traditional brick n mortar stores where every location had inventory
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Old 17-10-2020, 11:43   #17
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Re: Why is Amazon so successful?

Amazon is successful because:
-It's dead simple to order there. One clik most of the time.
-Other retailers had old school CEO's who didn't know how to "change with the world". There is no reason Kmart, Sears etc couldn't have embraced on line much earlier, but they were stuck in their ways.
-They continued the "Shopping Mall" presence, and that is a dead game. Even going dead for holidays now. Who wants to go down to the mall and walk a couple miles just to buy something? They tried to keep you captive. If they had turned the stores around having the entrances on the OUTSIDE, they may have survived longer.
-But really, you can buy on line, compare price and find what you need fast!
-Wal Mart etc has come onboard to on line a bit, but it's just not one clik, and slow web sites compared with Amazon.
-Then there's the free shipping in one or two days thing.....
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Old 17-10-2020, 11:54   #18
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Re: Why is Amazon so successful?

Hmm.. a few thoughts...

First, Amazon is both a market and a merchant. If I go to a particular merchant, they might not have what I'm looking for in stock, but if I go to a market, chances are greater that one of the merchants in that market will have it. This also gives Amazon an advantage, as they can also offer a house brand for common items. (There's also an anti-trust element that I suspect may have been stretched more than a little.)

Second, Amazon does AI. That's like the casino model; the edge may be small, but becomes significant over large numbers of transactions. This allows optimizing inventory (how much, and where), delivery, etc. Over time, that tiny edge will slowly crowd out those who aren't able to do similar; think of it as natural selection.

Does this mean Amazon takes over entirely? Probably not. AI requires big data, and if you're in a niche market you can still win. I also don't think Amazon does something incredibly amazing with customer service, rather they've optimized things such that the most customer service issues can be eliminated or written off. (Perhaps that counts as amazing these days?)
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Old 17-10-2020, 12:11   #19
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Re: Why is Amazon so successful?

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Yet I can go to Amazon, place an order, even a small one, and have zero problems. The freight forwarder is in Miami, and itís a US credit card. .

Hi, this is interesting, how does the freight forwarder work, can you share more information, maybe even a few leads on how to connect to one? I wasn't aware this was an option for international cruisers.
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Old 17-10-2020, 12:56   #20
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Re: Why is Amazon so successful?

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Not really, not the way inventory was done in the past anyway... Industry is switching to 'just in time manufacturing' where a lot of stuff, especially all the stuff shipped direct to your house from china, is not really inventoried. Though Amazon does provide a warehouse service to their retailers, I believe the qty of materials stored are much lower than traditional brick n mortar stores where every location had inventory
Which is why the USA had no PPE for the pandemic.

JIT isnít the best model in a lot of ways.
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Old 17-10-2020, 13:22   #21
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Re: Why is Amazon so successful?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
Amazon is successful because:
-It's dead simple to order there. One clik most of the time.
-Other retailers had old school CEO's who didn't know how to "change with the world". There is no reason Kmart, Sears etc couldn't have embraced on line much earlier, but they were stuck in their ways.
-They continued the "Shopping Mall" presence, and that is a dead game. Even going dead for holidays now. Who wants to go down to the mall and walk a couple miles just to buy something? They tried to keep you captive. If they had turned the stores around having the entrances on the OUTSIDE, they may have survived longer.
-But really, you can buy on line, compare price and find what you need fast!
-Wal Mart etc has come onboard to on line a bit, but it's just not one clik, and slow web sites compared with Amazon.
-Then there's the free shipping in one or two days thing.....

The next day is not unusual.

What's going to displace the big box reality? Maybe an old supermarket with fresh food and a butcher? i wish.
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Old 17-10-2020, 14:03   #22
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Re: Why is Amazon so successful?

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I also don't think Amazon does something incredibly amazing with customer service, rather they've optimized things such that the most customer service issues can be eliminated or written off. (Perhaps that counts as amazing these days?)
Incredibly amazing? No. But head and shoulders above the competition. They respond right away when you contact them, and genuinely try to make it right. Knowing I have a recourse if something goes wrong gives me the confidence to buy on-line.

The other huge benefit is knowing what's in stock. I don't always need one- or two-day delivery (although it's nice) but I do need to know when (and if) it will arrive. My current saga trying to find someone to acknowledge whether or not they can send me a very specific part is driving me crazy. If Amazon had it, I'd know right away.
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Old 17-10-2020, 14:30   #23
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Re: Why is Amazon so successful?

Amazon is successful because I buy a lot from them and they deliver on the goods.
went to Harbor freight, they were advertising 20 ton jacks, not a special sale. Get there and out of stock, check other stores, all out of stock. Check warehouses, nothing in the entire country, they have no idea when if ever they will get more. So I bought 50 ton jacks from Amazon. Delivered to house in about 5 days.

Amazon tells you x number left, or in stock, no guessing games.
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Old 17-10-2020, 14:38   #24
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Re: Why is Amazon so successful?

What's sad is that the big successful department store chains were the "Amazons" of their pre-internet day. They had a national catalog and you could order from it, or expect to find something from the catalog at the nearest store.

I don't know why they were unable to make the transition to successful e-commerce companies. With their catalog, purchasing power and warehousing, they were halfway there...
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Old 17-10-2020, 17:25   #25
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Re: Why is Amazon so successful?

My original intent was not to write a "isnít Amazon wonderful" post. Iím a little aghast at how big and pervasive theyíve gotten. There are good reasons to support local stores, where someone knows something about the products and can offer more than just handing you the item and collecting your money.

The point I was trying to make was that Harbor Freight, with whom Iíve had nothing but good experiences previously, went to some trouble to keep trying to get me to buy something from them. When I finally tried to, the order was just rejected.

This isnít uncommon. Even our well-respected Maine Sail had this problem. Last January, I needed more of his butyl tape. While I was browsing, I ran across a couple of more things on my shopping list. Ordered them all, several hundred dollars. Order rejected with a message about a credit card problem. Three cards? Fortunately I managed to find a way to send him an email. He answered on a Sunday and we straightened it out. He said it was how his e-store service did things, but he was working to fix it.

I had several run-arounds with Defender. I was ordering things both for myself and for the yacht club. Same name, two different credit cards, one US and one Panamanian. It took about half a dozen orders over almost two years before I could just place an order with some certainty of getting it done without a weeks worth of emails. But they made the effort.

Several companies, Ham Radio Outlet comes to mind, just said, "We wonít ship to freight forwarders."

One well-known and respected company in the marine electrical/electronics business sent me a form-email that the order had been rejected because "1. The address for the credit card was a mailing service. 2. The shipping address was a freight forwarder. 3. I logged on through an anonymous VPN."

I had enough time to write a less-than-completely temperate email explaining that I was cruising my boat in Panama. So I had a mail service to provide a US address. Because I was in Panama, it was easier to use a Miami freight forwarder. Because I used a public wifi connection, I always used a VPN. Problem resolved, according to him,
because the email address was Sailmail.

So here are examples of companies working hard to get you to buy things from them, then making it difficult or impossible to actually do it. Iíll see what Harbor Freight has to say on Monday.

And yet Amazon, overwhelmingly big, certainly in a position to be difficult to deal with, and itís just easy. Never had a problem with freight forwarders, or with Panamanian credit cards. The one time I had a problem, it took one email and it was solved.

One Amazon vendor story. I ordered a 24Ē vernier caliper. Clicked "confirm." Then realized that the shipping address was wrong. I took a while to figure out how to contact the seller directly. Finally figured it out and sent an email "Could they change the shipping address?" Almost immediately got the form email "You order has shipped." Oh, nuts. About 15 minutes later, I got another email, "I went down an caught the shipment before it was picked up by FedEx. I changed the address on the package, but canít figure out of to tell Amazonís system. So if you use Amazon to trace, donít believe the shipping address." Needless to say, I bookmarked that vendor.

So some people can do it well. But itís disappointing to see the number who canít.

Up thread, someone asked about freight forwarders. The local post office doesnít do deliveries. Period. So unless youíre one of the fortunate ones whose grandfather got one of the few Post Office boxes, everything arrives to the equivalent of General Delivery. If itís other than a letter, you have to negotiate the duty owed. The sender has to figure out how to use international mail. A real PITA for all concerned.

So there are dozens of local companies that work with dozens of other companies in the Miami area. Ship the package to Miami. They collect it all and send it in batches to Panama. The local people get it through customs and you go pick it up. Widely varying pricing and service, but Iíve found one that works well most of the time.
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Old 17-10-2020, 18:04   #26
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Re: Why is Amazon so successful?

Sadly, I just watched a TV show (I think on CBC Marketplace) exposing how much Amazon product gets returned to Amazon who does not/cannot do anything with it. It goes to LANDFILL or a industrial Shredding company a very very small amount of it goes to Liquidators. None of it goes back to Amazon shelfs... What I saw was unbelievable and the vast majority of returned stuff was not broken products but perfectly good and often unopened products.
I am not talking about a bit of product here and there, its millions of pounds per year, Semi truck after Semi truck every single day in every province and State ... [U]I like to buy Sailing books from Amazon cause they have them and its easy to buy right from my living room./U] however I do not buy product just to see if I like it with a perhaps I will keep it attitude!
They also got so popular because of their no nonsense return policy which I believe has been exploited to the max by P//s poor consumerism.
Great place to get items but C-Mon We need to decide if we even want/need it first.
Its stupidly wasting resources when it gets destroyed.
Did I say I like and use Amazon, I do but I do not send items back. I would if it came broken although from what I saw that is a very very teeny amount of these returns.
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Old 17-10-2020, 18:32   #27
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Re: Why is Amazon so successful?

Do you remember when Sears used to have "Satisfaction guaranteed or your money back" on every page of the catalog? They quit when too many people abused the system.

Amazon obviously knows how much stuff gets returned and figures it into the prices. Why does it get thrown away? Because itís not cost effective to pay someone $15-20/hour plus benefits to try to do something useful with it. Reselling clothes runs afoul of "health" standards. Will I try to refurbish electronics only to have support problems down the road? Itís why recycling has almost never been economically practical except in a very few cases, despite all the whining from the environmentalists and the billions of dollars invested in it.
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Old 17-10-2020, 19:32   #28
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Re: Why is Amazon so successful?

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...The point I was trying to make was that Harbor Freight, with whom I’ve had nothing but good experiences previously, went to some trouble to keep trying to get me to buy something from them. When I finally tried to, the order was just rejected....

I had several run-arounds with Defender. I was ordering things both for myself and for the yacht club. Same name, two different credit cards, one US and one Panamanian. It took about half a dozen orders over almost two years before I could just place an order with some certainty of getting it done without a weeks worth of emails. But they made the effort.

Several companies, Ham Radio Outlet comes to mind, just said, "We won’t ship to freight forwarders."

One well-known and respected company in the marine electrical/electronics business sent me a form-email that the order had been rejected because "1. The address for the credit card was a mailing service. 2. The shipping address was a freight forwarder. 3. I logged on through an anonymous VPN."
...
So here are examples of companies working hard to get you to buy things from them, then making it difficult or impossible to actually do it....

And yet Amazon, overwhelmingly big, certainly in a position to be difficult to deal with, and it’s just easy. Never had a problem with freight forwarders, or with Panamanian credit cards.
... because they're Amazon. They're big enough to have a real fraud detection department, they have serious clout with the charge card companies, and they can eat the loss of an occasional scam when it happens.

Smaller companies can't. Things like orders to 3rd world countries, freight forwarders, Panamanian charge cards... these are red flags. The company can invest the time to check this all out, or take the risk, or refuse the order. When there's been a scam or a charge dispute, even a mid-sized sales company will end up eating it. The charge card company seldom does. Hence the caution from these non-Amazon-sized companies.
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Old 18-10-2020, 05:41   #29
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Re: Why is Amazon so successful?

Credit card and online order fraud is a big deal, I agree. But a lot of sellers are handling the problem poorly.

If I walk into a US restaurant, hotel or retail store and present a non-US credit card, itís not going to be a problem. So why is it a problem when I order online, when theyíve got plenty of time to validate the card? Some of the reasons Iíve been given: "We canít validate the billing address." Thatís because they donít have mail delivery in Latin America, hence no street addresses. "You donít have a ZIP code." See previous item. "The telephone number is invalid." No, itís that Panama cell phones have an 8-digit number.

In all of those cases, itís not worries about fraud, itís because they have a sloppy system that doesnít handle those rare(?) cases when people donít fit in the normal box. Then, when the system doesnít work, they just throw up their hands and tell you to go away.

Even if one accepts the "fraud" explanation, Iím not a new customer trying to fraudulently do HF out of $85 of sanding disks, saw blades, and some tool accessories. Iíve had an account with them, with a small but consistent record of purchases for 15 years.

I have no problem with a vendor being over-cautious. Several years ago, I responded to an email ad for a set of cordless tools from an outfit that now has an abysmal record for lousy customer service. Iíd placed several small orders over several years, but this order was about $700. It raised their red flags. Did they bcancel the order? No. "Call us and letís talk."

Their first idea, and their normal policy, was "We will send a notice to your billing address with a code. Come back to the web site, enter the code, and we will ship it." So the code letter would have to go to my US address, then be shipped to my freight forwarder, then to Panama.. But the code was only good for two weeks. Wonít work. Hmm.

The service rep asked me told hold for a while. He eventually came back with some questions. "Do you recognize any of these addresses?" Yes, one of them was from when I lived in Denver in 1967. Heíd obviously pulled my credit report. After a few more similar questions, they OK'd the shipment.

Thus my complaint is not that sellers are careful to avoid fraud. Thatís good news for everyone. But when itís too much trouble to deal with a potential customer who has a "problem" ordering, why would I believe that they care about after-sales support if I had a problem?

If they can afford to turn away customers because theyíre "too much work," then theyíre not worth my time and effort either.
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Old 18-10-2020, 07:59   #30
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Re: Why is Amazon so successful?

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Thus my complaint is not that sellers are careful to avoid fraud. That’s good news for everyone. But when it’s too much trouble to deal with a potential customer who has a "problem" ordering, why would I believe that they care about after-sales support if I had a problem?

If they can afford to turn away customers because they’re "too much work," then they’re not worth my time and effort either.
You'd have to look at the numbers. If a company had to add 5 or 10 staff positions to handle 1% of their business... it might not be worth it. Whereas an Amazon is big enough to win on both sides - volume, and providing good service out to the edges.

You could also solve the problem by having a US friend receive and forward stuff.
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