To Target's credit, their staff do have the authority to price-match their website/"outdoor" pricing. My wife saved nearly $200 on a Dyson vacuum that way last year, once the price-match and REDcard discounts were applied.
Hear, hear. My mother-in-law just had a bad reaction to a generic just this week. (different supplier, different factory) Profits are predictable for "pharma bros" but the risk is pushed to the patients...
Yet as it is described in the article, from a brand standpoint this is a "black box": give money and free product to Amazon and you *might* see increased volume, but whether you do or don't there is no transparency or audit trail. Anything I'd like to learn as a brand -- What kinds of consumers were targeted? In what browsing/search/buying situations were shoppers sampled? How many sample sessions led to conversion? -- none of that is going to be available. Shoppers may be delighted with Amazon to be sure, but at the expense of the brands.
I crave the ability to "save" product dimensions & fabric specifications when I find a pair of pants that fit just right -- then tell the store/website to only show me SKUs which match. Trial and error in the dressing room to get to that point is understandable, but once it's reached, I don't want to have to go through it again!
Of course it would force manufacturers to standardize their databases to give accurate, repeatable results. Then we could do away with the whole frustrating charade of sizes not matching across brands or even from one production lot to another for the same brand, same item!
I've been rather frustrated when trying to shop for men's dress shirts and sport coats on Amazon; the page layouts are nothing like what I'm used to on, well, virtually every clothing merchant! Where are the sizing selections, sleeve length, color option buttons? And this is for products that *could* be about as cookie-cutter as they get.
Distribution is a smart move to make L.L.Bean's quality goods accessible at reasonable cost to the small sporting goods merchants and outfitters that continue to serve the rural and northern parts of the country, where the real sporting, hunting, and fishing takes place. Canada Post's delivery chops are nowhere near what American commentators are used to with USPS, especially outside the urban cores, so L.L.Bean can't depend on just a website and mailings to get the job done with those customers who'll use their products most intensively -- they have to use a multichannel approach.
Right, this just looks like a plan to wipe out all the other parts of downtown small-town America: pull the farmers' market into the parking lot, put the community theater on the roof, run the 4th of July parade around the perimeter of the parking lot. Still means the Millennial shopper has to drive there.
Why not build affordable housing over the Supercenter? That would actually help build strong communities AND create "walkable suburbs" in one go!
When I managed an office-supply/teacher-supply store here in Minnesota back in the early 1990s, we had a lot of great merchandise with broad family appeal (stickers, workbooks, art supplies) but not a lot of family traffic despite our location in a strip mall with grocery, drug, hair, and auto services. I tried several experiments like "Saturday Morning Storytime" and educational game events -- and yes, I did see a small but measurable uptick in traffic and eventually repeat business, but oh brother! I already had the right kind of staff (a lot of retired teachers/teaching students) but yes, I needed someone dedicated to managing the kids and not being at the register or working the floor. And what we ultimately found after a couple months was that too many kids were being ditched in our store so the parents could shop for groceries down the mall -- I pulled the plug as we weren't insured for that, or being paid to be child care!
Couldn't the location tracking be just as easily done with an RFID tag pasted onto the cart, and using passive sensors already in (or soon to be installed in) the store/parking lot? Why would they even need to have a powered cart if that was a key benefit?
As far as mapping biometric data to individual shoppers, all they'd have to do is tie the cart location data to the CCTV camera network and run facial-recognition software against it. Bingo.
This Gen Xer would be very glad to pony up for a subscription to on-call/in-home tech support service for my in-laws. They don't need monitoring services, but they have everyday needs like OS updates for their phones and desktops, router hardware replacement, computer health/backup checkups, and TV settings. Whether it's Comcast/Xfinity or Best Buy, it needs to be someone I can trust and someone who can go to their house same-day or next-day, know the right questions to ask (and have a secure log of settings) and just get the job done (without Mom looking over my shoulder, making worried noises, and speculating on worst-case scenarios).
Sell it as peace of mind/monkey off my back for my generation!
San Francisco's Chinatown offers another great example of mini-markets covering the most frequent basics, receiving small deliveries frequently, with the freshest possible produce. No chain stores, just small business owners working regional and global supply chains - well worth a field trip for tasty insights!
Building on Matthew's point, there are thousands and thousands of products on Amazon with a four-star rating. And "best selling" products are going to look a lot like what is on the shelf at Target and Walmart -- the element of discovery isn't a factor for the same underwear and USB sticks and Cheerios that everyone else buys. So what else is going to determine what gets selected for display in this "buy box"?
Call me a cynic but I see this as a play for manufacturers' advertising funds and allowances; just another slotting fee to get into a featured space -- whether online or in brick-and-mortar. If you can pay to play, you'll get displayed and if you are a small manufacturer with well-rated products but not a big advertising budget, guess what?
Target likewise has completely nailed it with the Cartwheel app - the barcode scanner function ensures I'm always getting promotional pricing over and above the 5 percent discount, and the payment function is easily one to two minutes faster at checkout vs. swiping a credit card.