But my gf at the time thought it was brilliant. What I learned was that a lot of women's shoes are purchased based on anything except comfort. The quality can be shoddy, the wear can cause excruciating pain, yet some top brands sell for hundreds and even thousands a pair. Swing by the Nordstrom's women's shoe dept sometime and take a look at the quality of build. Eavesdrop a bit and take inventory of the questions the clients ask about. (Zappos is started by a bunch of ex-Nordy folks).
To this day I've only purchased 1 pair of shoes on Zappos, and that's after I had bought it previously at the dept store (New Balance 993, imo best shoes for walking/running in case you're wondering).
It's interesting how two different markets have developed (men's shoes and women's shoes) that have such different parameters. Men's shoes have outstanding build quality --- to the point where a good pair of quality shoes gets resoled multiple times. Do women ever resole shoes?
We only need comfort testing, but I think the flip-side would be that womens shoes would cost upward of $200-$300 equivalent. I don't know if there's a market for that.
This doesn't apply just to shoes, btw. There is a broad luxury market for almost anything. Don't believe me? Visit a western wear store sometime.
A fashioner designer once told me he made the men's clothing first, then crafted the women's clothing out of its leftovers + some embellishments.
Men's fashions change much more slowly, and within much narrower parameters. It actually makes sense to spend a few grand on a suit that you're going to wear to work every week for a couple years, and it has to be pretty well made to last that long.
The hipster doofus stuff is as shoddy as women's wear and for the same reasons.
Womens shoes exclusively seem capable on only lasting 6 months of regular wear. Everything from straps, buckles, soles and innersoles seem to fall apart.
The ultimate insult in all this is that they always cost more than the equivalent male version. The only exceptions to this are where the two items are equivalent (ie mens/womens levis, mens/womens running shoes).
I don't like buying clothes unless they're made from natural fibres/materials. It's cotton, wool + leather for me. For a woman, it's virtually impossible to stick to a rule like this.
I guess it's all about the fashion and style, and they aren't expected to last due to the built-in obsolescence of womens fashion.
Women's clothing is also cheaper at the lower end, and much more expensive at the higher end for the same reason.
.. so women tell me anyway, I can (surprise surprise) male.
Most girls I know don't have that criteria. The first and foremost criteria for them is they must fashionable, good looking, must match with their dress etc. Given this use case, there is only so much you can do for things like durability and ruggedness. Because you need to make them colorful, with some deigns etc.
Ultimately you get what you ask for.
Similarly, there are plenty of high quality women's shoes.
I'd probably agree that more men buy high quality shoes. In my experience men on average tend to put less emphasis on style over function, and so that does inevitably lead to functional (well made) shoes.
We both like taking walks or bicycle rides together. I ask her for advice about shoes for both purposes.
P.S. When I lived in Seattle in the very early 1990s, I was told that Nordstrom's was known as "Rent-a-Shoe," because the generous return policy at that department store meant that a woman could buy a pair of shoes to attend a fashionable party, wear the shoes just once, and then return them without hassle to the store. I don't know what current policies are at Nordstrom's, but it does seem that fashionable shoes for occasional use have long been a mainstay of the store's business.
To each is his own, but the runner in me can't help but think "Those poor feet..." :(
When buying a new model of shoe, I order at least 2, sometimes up to 4 different sizes. Try them all on, then sent back the ones that didn't fit. This has a few downsides: slight hassle of printing shipping labels and dropping off at UPS, as well as the capital outlay of paying for all those shoes. But to me, this is so vastly preferable to dragging myself to a mall or a department store that it's not even a contest.
I wouldn't recommend this for higher end shoes however, anything above $150. Both because then the capital requirements start getting onerous, and because fitting (at least for men's shoes) becomes such a crucial component you may go through more pairs before you decide than a single credit card can likely afford on Zappos :>
I bought four pairs of shoes in what seemed like the best size and width for me (there is good information about brand size trends on their site), got them the next day and tried them on, decided on the Izumis and sent the others back with the UPS shipping tag they gave me.
I understand things are different now, but that was an excellent buying experience. I've never bought running shoes from a local store since.
I've never found Zappos to have particularly good selection of the shoes I buy (men's dress shoes, boots of various kinds, etc). They're particularly bad for boots. Their main focus seems low to mid range female shoes.
I wouldn't be surprised if there are certain types or models of footwear that are completely off-limits due to their business model.
I still have to try them on so in order to judge all that.
As far as Amazon's same-day delivery is concerned, i guess it is as much warehouse / picking speed and efficiency as it is to have the right transportation partner. In germany they are aoing with DHL, now a post susidiery. And the german postal service always had over-night next day delivery for letters within germany.
But if they can really pull it off, it would be amazing!
There are plenty of areas in which brick-and-mortar shops will take a hit from online competitors, but I suspect the impact in Europe will be considerably smaller than in the land of strip malls and Wal-Marts, where commercial efficiency has already trumped the "user experience", and Amazon is simply a better option with few disadvantages.
But also, same day delivery is logistically near impossible and quite expensive in exactly those cities for exactly the same reasons. The density doesn't make them car friendly, and certainly not delivery van friendly.
You'd go in the store and look at the merchandise, all of it in glass cases. You'd use a little golf pencil to mark the order sheet they gave you at the door for what you wanted.
When you were done shopping, you'd give your form to the guy at the register. They'd ring you up and someone in the back of the store would collect all the stuff you just bought from the warehouse racks and bring it out for you.
I was amazed something like that existed in the 90s. I have a hard time envisioning that we'd see something like that again. I mean that's how grocery stores worked once, but the market changed with self-service.
I'll occasionally "window shop" at stores, but I only do that if I know the prices are really different. If it's a $10 difference and I'm already in the store, why wait for someone to ship it to me, even if it arrives later that day?
In the UK there is a big chain called Argos which still does this, right down to the employees fetching the goods. This might be related to the fact that big-box retail space in the UK is much harder to come by.
Oh yes. When I lived in a small town we had a Sears catalog store. You went in and ordered your stuff there and then picked it up at the same place (this is pre-UPS). There weren't enough people living in our tiny burg for anybody to operate a full-blown department store, but the catalog store only had a couple employees and allowed us to pick up and handle a reasonable selection of the things we could then order through the catalog. I think the staff would help you measure yourself so you'd get the right size when you ordered clothing.
It left the store shelves looking a lot less cluttered than they would have otherwise been, and I suspect also protected against shoplifting.
Always liked that store, actually. They sold all sorts of stuff.
Similar to Dell's failed entrance into Asia, Americans are uniquely content with purchasing plenty of merchandise without ever physically examining the product.
Watch out of Amazon Marketplace though. I bought a copy of The Wire through there that ended up being pirated (and terrible quality), and Amazon would neither refund the purchase nor shut down the vendor, even after we got a letter from HBO confirming that it was a pirated copy.
I bought a couple of years ago an LCD monitors from today's Romanian Amazon wanna-be and they assured me that if the monitor has any broken pixels I can have it replaced. The next day after the delivery, I discovered I had 1 broken pixel. I called them back only to find out that they can replace it only if it has 3 or 4 broken pixels as specified by some ISO standard. After this, I regretted that I didn't buy the one that I saw in a regular store and worked fine.
To make sure the pages will not start falling out before you're done reading it ? I had that happen to me several times with cheap paperbacks litterally falling apart before I was even through the first quarter of the book
I can't complain about selection, though. Particularly if you live in an area without boutique stores, Amazon US is likely to have every product you can buy locally.
For many things, I care more about the information - does it work, does it fit, what do the reviews say? - than I do about touching the object. Even small retailers are starting to do this - if you look at http://www.marinelayer.com/ - they offer approximations of sizing based on your height and weight.
This is such an over blown argument. Sure, Amazon is ~7% (where I live) cheaper than traditional stores due to sales tax. But that $1000 Wal-Mart laptop has a $900 sticker price on Amazon, and most non electronic items are 20-40% cheaper than in stores.
If laws change and I have to start paying sales tax on Amazon, it won't change a thing about my buying habits.
Edit: They also have an inventory many times larger than any brick and mortar store. Whenever I go shopping, I have to choose between the least crappy option Wal-Mart decides to stock. On Amazon, I get exactly the one I want.
The lack of sales tax hurts local tax entities far worse than it hurts Amazon's competitors.
on Amazon you just search, compare, read reviews and click buy.
with brick and mortar stores, you have to drive to the store, park, then roam the store to find what you are looking for, then hope that they have it in stock before you buy, then drive back home. Even a small purchase ends up costing you an hour of your time.
and for large purchases almost always you have to wait 20-30 for the store associate to bring out what you want to buy...and you have to deal with a sales pitch for an extended warranty
I think I've had one positive result from buying clothes online.
What's your main problem? Finding out how it would look on you? How it feels/quality? What are the suggestions and opinions you look for?
Huge problem is fit. Especially pants. So many things can go wrong. Too tight in the thighs, pants run short, pants are tighter than usual in the hips, weird fit in the butt, etc. . .
Feel/quality is a big one for me personally because I have some hangups with textures. If something has a certain feel it makes my skin crawl.
As for suggestions and opinions, I'm usually looking for advice, make sure I'm not committing any faux pas with my choices. For example, when buying some leather shoes I may want something that can be worn with jeans or with slacks if needed. If the sales associate is knowledgeable I will probably go with something I initially was tentative about or didn't consider.
Hope that helps.
The first pair that came were too short, and a bit big at the waist; the company agreed to swap them for a shorter pair (but I had to pay to ship the old pair back to them). I couldn't tell if going to a two-inch-smaller waist would mean an uncomfortably tight waist, so I didn't ask them to send me a pair with a smaller waist. The fit is now at best acceptable.
I could have been more stubborn about it and done more exchanges until I was happier with the fit, but that would have meant more inconvenience - and the expense of shipping them back again. Had I been buying at a shop I could have tried on a whole bunch of pairs of jeans, and I think I'd be happier with the overall fit.
For comparison, I have successfully brought sneakers, t-shirts and sweaters online so I'm no stranger to shopping for clothes online.
Except that proposals to collect online sales tax would hurt local retailers even worse if they followed the law.
The only outlier I see in retail is Apple, generating huge amounts of revenue from their physical stores.
However, there's more. Retail isn't solely defined by low margin businesses like buying canned food and imported low-grade durable consumer goods (e.g. the walmart/target scenario). In many parts of the country there is a trend toward high-end "boutique" shops of various sorts. In my town, Seattle, there has been an explosion of neighborhood butchers offering organic, grass-fed beef et al. But the same sort of principles apply to lots of different businesses.
If your core business is about getting interchangeable mass produced goods into people's hands you are going to lose out to the big boxes and to the amazons. If your core business involves a lot of customer interaction or requires special skillsets or can be decommoditized in some way then perhaps you'll do ok, both online and off.
Trying to compete on amazon's playing field is a non-starter, so the trick is playing on a different field.
I think we forget how many people are employed in retail jobs across the US. In 2010, 14 million people were involved in the retail industry. As retail efficiency improves via WalMart/Amazon/Target, this employment will drop. And as a society, we aren't very good at forecasting where jobs will migrate.
Competition/efficiency helps consumers by lowering prices, but the job loss should be troubling.
Amazon: Oxo Coasters $9.99 for 8
Walmart: Comparable set, Silicon Coasters $30 for 6
Amazon: DVD Rack $29.99
Walmart: Comparable model from same company, $39.00
Amazon: American Crew Pomade, $21.49 for 2
Walmart: $16.98 for 1
Amazon: 13 Watt CFL, $15.98 for 8
Walmart: Same model, $16.88 for 4
Those were the first 4 items I tried to compare.
Walmart used to be about "made in the USA", then it was "always low prices", now it's about "live better". It's Walmart's ubiquity, convenience, and momentum that keeps them dominant (and their ability to loss-leader competitors out of business).
Zombies. That's the real mistake we're making with shifting all our purchases to Amazon and their just-in-time delivery. There will be nothing to loot when the zombie outbreak happens.
For people like me who hate the process of shopping, and don't want to be cornered by salespeople in brick-and-mortar stores, it sounds like heaven.
With this and Japanese-style vending machines all over the place, I can get away with almost 0 human interaction with strangers. :P
When you talk about conditions at Amazon warehouses, I assume you're referring to this article (or similar): http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/02/mac-mcclelland-f...
You should know that Amazon bought Kiva Systems earlier this year, so they'll be replacing human picking with efficient robot picking over the next couple of years.
Your job becomes to stand there on a foam mat and move whichever item the laser points at from the cart to the box. This job will almost certainly be automated in the next decade as well, with something like FlexPicker.
Kiva Systems: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvQKGev56qU
Personally, I've seen all of these - and then some - simply by visiting shops in my daily life and knowing people who've worked in those places, and I'm reasonably sure that most people have as well.
"You seem to be saying that as a defense of Amazon's treatment of warehouse workers. It's not. Read the Mother Jones article linked above [...] the unseen and unregulated treatment of the hidden workers who make our amazing lives possible is a huge, unsolved problem in the world."
But I'm getting down-voted. Do people seriously think that supporting mass mistreatment of workers is o.k.? I'm sorry, but automating factory floors is not inexpensive enough to happen on a mass scale yet, which means that consumer pressure for faster shipping = inhumane working conditions for the people who pack the boxes. This is a legitimate dilemma and I meant only to point out that out.
Yes, it's better than the alternative for the people working, since they're working there after all. But that doesn't make it o.k.
Pick one of the higher priced used book options? How do I know they aren't using the same distribution warehouse and just pocketing the difference.
Without a "doesn't treat workers like crap" seal of approval, I don't see what I could have done. I'd love to subscribe to a white-list/black-list of sellers on Amazon for various ethical measures but it isn't there.
The distribution is generally done by courier companies. It's usually a guy on a bicycle with a bunch of packages that ends up either picking up the package or delivering it on the end. I've seen just about every means of transportation imaginable used to transport packages.
Of course, there are still people losing out and there are still distribution centers in the middle. Plus, there are the people working on the factory floors that are making the products in the first place.
Ordering online is incredibly convenient and it gives access to such a wide range of products that I can't imagine it going away any time soon. I think that in any system someone is going to end up losing out, but hopefully in the future the losses can at least be minimized through robotics and other technology.
I say this as someone who hates shopping in retail stores and can't wait to buy everything on Amazon. But the unseen and unregulated treatment of the hidden workers who make our amazing lives possible is a huge, unsolved problem in the world.
Part of what I'm responding to here is, your argument seems to boil down to: "it's OK for me to benefit from these people's suffering, because they aren't being physically forced to do it, so I must be doing them a favor." That's letting yourself off far too lightly. Our standards for which businesses we encourage should be higher than "do they have to physically compel their workers to show up" -- unless that really is the best we can ask for.
They struck a deal to erase the 270M owed, as long as Amazon starts collecting sales tax starting 7/1, create 2000 jobs and invest 200M in Texas. They were likely already planning more infrastructure in Texas, but threatened to reverse course and pull out of the state entirely.
The way I see it, Amazon bluffed the state of Texas to the tune of 270 million dollars and all I might get out of it is next day delivery?
I'll take what I can get, I guess.
Distribution center operated in Irving, TX from 2005 through 2011.
Woot, in Carrollton, TX was acquired in 2010.
Woot was probably just one of the things they were threatening to close down and move out of state if Texas didn't give them a break. And I'm sure they had an argument ready as to why Woot wasn't a tax nexus for Amazon as a whole; there's a lot of really arcane rules that go into determining nexus.
The real losers at the end of all this are going to be the tax-free states, who ended up getting a lot of Amazon (and other mail-order retail) business because putting a warehouse there wouldn't risk triggering taxation. But if the tax loopholes are closed, there's not a lot of reason to set up shop there. They are going to be the losers in the end, I think.
A while ago I sold a few bumper stickers online and ended up using cafepress. I could have made a better profit by printing the stickers in bulk and mailing them to people, but I'd have to spend $100+ on paperwork just for the privilege of paying sales tax just in case I sell any to New Yorkers.
If small internet businesses had to pay taxes to the 40+ states that have sales tax plus to all the other jurisdictions (cites, counties, who knows what) in the U.S. it would be almost impossible to sell stuff and comply with the the law.
For AMZN the overhead is nothing.
Where I usually live in the US, there are at least 6-7 tax jurisdictions within 20 min. by car. For businesses in Wenatchee that may deliver within an hour's radius, there are a very large number of tax jurisdictions. Most brick-and-mortar businesses ignore the rule and figure if they don't tell the state they are delivering things, they won't get looked at too closely, but it means they are in violation of the law.
I have to pay Amazon sales tax because they have a distribution center near me. I remember a few years ago I noticed that they were charging me tax when they didn't used to, but it never figured into my buying.
The truth is Amazon's prices are generally better anyway, so they still hold an advantage. Shipping was always a bigger problem for me. I would keep lists of things to get and then when I decided I wanted really wanted something I'd order enough to qualify for the $50 or $100 order free shipping.
Now I've had Amazon Prime for a few years, and it's fantastic. I don't have to pay extra for two day shipping, and overnight is just $5 or so. Two day is almost always fast enough. Since Amazon has made everything so easy (and I don't have to worry about shipping or waiting too long) I buy more than enough for Prime to pay for its self.
Whatever. But billion dollar retail industries are not built on great folks like you. They are built on probably what you'd consider the "Great Un-washed." :)
B-school 101 stuff. If we understand how the world really is, we can make more successful businesses because we will understand the market how customers think. We can't let our personal perfection cloud our judgement about the world as it is. :)
 using the kinect to virtually measure clothes on your TV.
 using a variable robot to show you how a specific garment would look on your specific measurements.
That could easily change.
Another part of retail is that different kinds of stores support each other. Anyone "making a shopping run" usually visits a number of stores, especially in the suburbs/exurbs where they are a distance away. The few stores people have to visit, the fewer "runs" they make and the more pressure they have to make do with stuff online. Just as much, when some of the stores in a retail complex go out of business, the complex suffers. The total number of complexes has to shrink and by the time that happens, some portion of the remainder is further disrupted.
Retail is in trouble. I'm in a major metropolitan area and it is very visible.
And knockoffs are everywhere on amazon's site. I've wanted one of these cool suck.uk bottle opener keychains that looks like an old school key for a while  but their shipping charges to the US are too expensive. So I found it on amazon . If you read the reviews, it's full of complaints about knockoffs or the steel snapping. And I've seen it sold for as little as $2.99 with shipping while amazon sells it for $9. Adding to the skeeviness, the cheapest vendor of that item changes all the time, and for quite a while amazon didn't sell it directly. I finally bought it from amazon proper and I'm hoping they got the actual item and not some knockoff themselves, but who knows. Shit like this makes it hard to be willing to buy food on amazon.
I wish there were a way to set a flag in your account to ONLY show Amazon.com LLC products.
Manufacturer is OXO, but it says "In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available." below the price. That means it's sold directly by Amazon.
You can also go to "more buying choices" where it is even more transparent.
The whole "Marketplace" concept might have seemed cool back when everybody was trying to be an eBay competitor, but I'd be happy if they just ditched it, or moved it over to some subsite-ghetto where I don't ever have to see it. When I go to Amazon.com, I want to purchase products from Amazon, not from some random guy in a basement somewhere, using them for payment processing.
That said, they make it pretty easy to tell who you're buying from, at least when you get to the point of checking out. Sometimes if you're moving quickly, you might not realize it until then, and I have definitely abandoned would-be sales when I've realized an item is coming from a Marketplace seller rather than Amazon itself.
Item 1 spent 13 hours on a UPS truck driving around my city and was delivered about 7pm in the evening 2 days after ordering.
Item 2 was delivered 14 hours after purchasing by Amazon Fresh at 9am.
For the same price of shipping, which service would you rather have?
EDIT To Add: The delivery guy for the 14 hour item works for Amazon - the whole experience was produced by Amazon without needing a third party. UPS is another company that will be in trouble if Amazon can make this scale.
That was my experience with some housewares stuff, about three weeks ago. I decided to take the item down to the Post Office to ship it back rather than using Amazon's label, because it was cheaper that way. (If I'd used the label, they would have deducted $8 or something out of the amount they were going to refund me eventually; USPS was something like $4-5.)
[Edit: To clarify, the showroom and warehouse would be in the same complex but separated. Shoppers + heavy merchandise + fast moving robots is a recipe for disaster.]
Then they can satisfy both the "I want to see it before I buy it" crowd as well as the "I know what I want - just give me the best price" crowd.
Mark my words. Amazon has the Costco's, Walmart's and Best Buy's of the world squarely in their crosshairs.
*Of course there will of course always be specialty categories that are too niche to fit in this model, thus many specialized retailers will still exist.
Big warehouses are highly automated (especially Amazon's), essentially unsafe for untrained people (forklifts, robots), and potentially at risk for theft. Not the kind of place you'd want customers milling around. Amazon is more likely to promote their existing easy return policy -- buy 3 pairs of shoes and send back the two you don't like -- vs. letting people into their warehouses.
Small, Apple-store style showrooms, or partnerships with someplace like Starbucks, would make a lot more sense. The lifetime value of a Kindle user far exceeds the cost of a Kindle (I probably have 200 x $10 books on mine at least), and it's the kind of product where try before you buy could be important. I'd rather have a bunch of Kindles and Kindle Fires in a cafe setting where you could check one out for a few hours, buy or get free drinks, and comfortably use the devices in an ideal environment, though. This could work for all the Amazon first-party products.
Maybe there are third-party products which would benefit from this, so Apple store sized showrooms with rotating third party stock (and fixed first party stock) could work, but they are really unlikely to be the existing warehouses.
I don't believe the robot technology is quite yet up to this. But in 5-10 years it should be.
This setup would feature primarily first party products but it would also be possible for third party products to be on display in the showroom (to be delivered later from a different location).
I agree that Apple-sized showrooms with mid to high-end first party items would be the logical first step.
Also, many people feel "bad" about buying and returning. The "buy 3 pair of shoes, return 2" where you know you'll only keep 1 from the start feels dishonest in a way, although I'm more than happy to return something which isn't as described or is otherwise unpredictably unsatisfying.
I actually do a mental calculation before buying something which I might return, trying to figure out if Amazon is better off by me buying it (given my odds of returning it, and the costs/residual resale value if returned), and if the return is due to a bad description (Amazon's fault, and thus ok to return if the product turns out to match the wrong part of the description, like when it is internally inconsistent with the photo or whatever).
"Which of these two should I buy" is sometimes addressed by buying both, but buying 10 items and returning 9 is probably going to get your Amazon account flagged at some point.
The future: high inflation in food, energy, fuel, and consumables, hyper-deflation in everything else except to the extent that it depends on or consumes the former.
The reply below your reply that says "The act of predicting the future alters the future" indeed expresses a truth about economics. But as a person who once predicted the future, by writing down my predictions and putting them (with classmates' predictions) in a time capsule that was opened thirty-one years later, I'd like to explore this process of predicting the future a bit more.
What exactly do you mean by "high inflation in food, energy, fuel, and consumables." Do you mean that in the developed world it will take more units of time at typical paid work to buy a meal or light up a room in 2050 than it does in 2012? That suggests a bet, a bet on which I would be willing to take the side contrary to your side. (I think so, as soon as I figure out if that is really what you are predicting.) What is included in the category "consumables," and what is not?
What is your definition of "hyperdeflation"? Does that basically mean that you or I or anyone else in the developed world will be able to obtain more and more of that "everything else" (WHAT everything else?) for fewer and fewer units of time spent in paid work? What kinds of goods or services do you have in mind here?
Things like housing, equity, and bond prices will deflate while commodity prices will continue to inflate.
Or is this just a case of the more efficient company (Amazon) beating out less efficient companies (Best Buy, Barnes and Nobles, etc...)?
Absolutely it is. Real estate, depreciation, maintenance, utilities, not even to mention salaries, insurance... there's a lot to go into that.
Instead of physically shopping inside of a store where you will have fewer selection, you shop online with a lot more selection, a powerful search based interface, recommendations, reviews, etc...; then have the items efficiently sent to you same-day.
Amazon is very successfully grounding the "internet" in the real world - and they are eating quite a few lunches.
Simple rule while you do anything it to ponder the 'next steps'. You just can't keep waiting and expect your competition to do nothing in return.
Therein lies the problem. At some point there will have to be revenues to justify the company's valuation. I suppose their goal is to initially obliterate all competition in entirety and then have everyone purchase from Amazon. I'm doubtful this will work. Of late, there has been a trend towards experience stores - with manufacturers creating their own stores instead of distributing to retailers. Many luxury brands do this and even some non-luxe ones, such as Samsonite, have been getting into the game. There's some value added here, and it's something Amazon won't be able to directly compete with.
On top of that, local stores are annoying: it takes time to go there, you need to deal with traffic, weather condition, sometimes shop employees being too intrusive and wanting to see you additional services (or recommending you bad products), waiting in line just to pay. etc... It's just not worth anymore.
Amazon delivers at my door usually 2 days after I order something. In case of defect they even come at my door to pick the malfunctioning product.
They are clearly doing what's BEST for customers. I don't even understand why local shops who have stores a few kms away from me don't even offer delivery services. They don't even think about improving anything, and they well deserve to disappear. No regrets.
Now most shopping isn't fun. Toilet paper? click But if I decide I want to take up drawing? I'm going to drive to a store, look around, and have fun.
But I certainly agree with your last point. As I see it, the advantage of Amazon Prime is that I never have to go to Target.
Stores as large as mighty Wal-mart itself are hardly staffed anymore.
When I want to ask where something is I find myself increasingly having to bother an already busy person at the cash register...
Maybe this will put a small dent more in the profits, I don't know, but I don't think it's going to be revolution or anything.
But in practice, outside of clothing and furniture, very few stores are set up to allow this almost at all. So screw them.
Returning stuff adds additional complexity for consumers (you have to repack it and drive to a drop-off point) and eats into profit margins, especially for non-clothing items that can no longer be sold as new.
That will even include your postal mail if the postal service ever wakes up. There's no need to physically deliver mail every day if people could see what mail they've received remotely and can pick it up or request deliver if they can't leave home.
I think with these test markets, Amazon has proven to themselves already that the idea works. I know that I'm very happy with the results so far!
I'll leave analysis up to somebody else, but I find this interesting.
Amazon is to shopping what McDonalds is to food. We all know what happens when you have McDonalds every day.
I rarely go to the movies because I can watch netflix on my couch (and save $20-$30). Movie attendance still grows because of economic growth, but in relative numbers it's falling (down 4% in the US/2011).