Amazon and shopping…

I don’t know how common this is but in my neighborhood Amazon branded trucks are making customer deliveries The trucks are rented(Ennterprise) and drivers wear brown of a lighter color than UPS. Delivery by USPS is also common.
Considering that it cost me $11 to send my last small UPS package and that Amazon prone delivers small items (my last being a single ball of jute twine for my tomato plants) they must get super low prices.
My ball of twine is an example of the power of AMZN. I probably could not get this jute twine at my grocer or drug store(only 4 blocks away) but could at the hardware store maybe 3 or 4 miles away. It is so much easier just to use Amazon. Another possibly cheaper alternative would be Wal Mart about the same distance as the hardware store. But I would have to walk a long distance in the parking lot and in the store then wait in line for the cashier.

What is broken about Wal Mart and other large stores?
The walk, the traffic, the wait in line for cashier. Lack of knowledge about what is in stock ad where to find it. And then there are the internal processes , lots of humans needed to stack stuff on shelves, put on price tags, rehang clothes and re shelf other items misplaced by customers, thefts and shoplifting, unorganized deliveries , etc.
And I know next to nothing about retail, anybody else with experience to tell us all the time wasting and/or expensive steps needed? Other than bar codes and cash registers that can be operated by the innumerate , what has changed in the last 30 or 40 years?………

some of these links sound clueless to me

in 2015 Amazon was only the number 10 retailer
Walmart was 6 times bigger and in only half the number of countries
A surprise to me Costco #2 and Kroger #3

so far I have been unable to find a source tracking typical item from order by s store to delivery to customer. I am probably not Googling the right terms . How many steps could be eliminated or turned over to machines? How much of the accepted “it’s always been that way” processes are actually broken? I know that loge walk from my car in the Wal Mart parking lot to another long walk in the store to find “it” is broken Especially if” it “is out of stock

One other comment Eventually they will get the bugs out of Amazon Go, no more checkout lines, far fewer cashier salaries. They are using AI and machine vision for this. Maybe not too unlike AI based driving. The more I think about it the bigger I think AI will be but the less sure I am about Nvidia’s part. Now I am looking at machine vision itself as a sure beneficiary of ,AI ,cheap quality cameras, GPU development, , and software . Something to go with CGNX.


Mauser, Home Depot seems to get it. I recently needed a faucet cartridge for my bath. I pulled the old one out and went online to ID it. Boy there are a lot to chose from. After I chose the one I thought it was I went to Home Depot web site. My local store had it in stock and even showed me the SKU number and what isle and shelve it was on.
Asked an employee to help me and gave him the SKU#, isle and shelve. Out the door in about 10 minutes.
Now I did look on Amazon and they had it but I wanted to compare it to the old one. The price was the same.
I am a serial Amazon customer but sometimes brick and mortar wins out.
Own HD and Amazon.


Mauser…about your jute twine. If you can afford to wait two days, then shopping AMZN certainly beats having to drive to WalMart, find parking, find item and check out. Yes, this is when Amazon’s Prime comes to the rescue.

But, another even better and faster alternative is to use and same-day pickup from your nearest store. For instance, I found Darice 2-ply jute twine roll on sale for $1.38 at Then I simply checked a menu box to determine whether item was in stock at WalMart store nearest me, and it was. Then at check-out, pay through your on-line account and specify “same-day store pick-up,” which is free. In fact, on many items you can even get a further discount from list price for picking up items at the store. To me, this sure beats having to stand in line at Walmart check-out, or having to wait 2 days for AMZN to deliver.


Mauser, as to your other comments do you see Intel turning the ship to become a true competitor in the AI war?

Items with 2 day free shipping from Amazon Prime tend to be marked up in price frequently, often for the convenience and to cover the cost of shipping. I’ve seen dozens of items that are literally triple the price on Amazon compared to what they are at the local auto parts store or Wal-Mart. Examples range from ceramic spray paint, lubricants, caulk, etc.


I will have to try that Wal Mart pick up
But I would still have to drive to the store and back, a PITA. Wal Mart on line (and in the store)is indeed cheaper than Amazon at times, but delivery tends to be slower and despite advertising them sometimes they are not in stock. The internet store is disorganized. But I have hopes that Wal Mart can improve the buyer experience. Because I like Wal Mart. Andvreal competition will musket both Amazon and Wal Mart better.

I have tried online ordering with pickup at Best Buy, not a real time saver, there is usually a line at pick up. Or they never got around to getting the item and you wait while they get it. Or despite the clear label got the wrong thing. All of these have actually happened to me.

Yes Amazon sometimes jacks up the price of small items . But they are so convenient. If I needed to go to Wal Mart for several other things the twine would not be much extra trouble.
Assuming I could find it . Is it in office supplies, or garden, or crafts??
We will know retail has awakened when you can ask your iPhone “In Walmart #67 , where is jute twine?” Or better yet before you leave home so you know if it is in stock, and where.

Actually they want you to wander all over the store- maybe you will make an impulse purchase .Like putting the milk in back of the grocery, OK only as long as everybody else does it.

No I don’t think Intel will get very far with AI hardware. They are good at what they do, but not so good at anything new. Most of the money they spend on GPU would have to come out of the budget for CPU, their bread and butter. Many employees jobs depend on CPU so these people will resist. But it is possible.
I don’t see AI cutting into conventional computing much, it will be added in.


“We will know retail has awakened when you can ask your iPhone “In Walmart #67 , where is jute twine?” Or better yet before you leave home so you know if it is in stock, and where.”

It’s not quite here yet, but a company called YEXT is doing something like this for mobile voice search.
For instance if you ask where can you get cheese and broccoli soup SIRI or Google voice search should come up with Panara Bread Restaurants. Voice search come up with 1 answer instead of 10 links as would come up on a typed google search and YEXT is supposedly powering this. They gather data from company’s
corporate data including in this case Panara’s menu.


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<<We will know retail has awakened when you can ask your iPhone “In Walmart #67 , where is jute twine?” Or better yet before you leave home so you know if it is in stock, and where.>>

Mauser, what you wished for is actually “now upon us” as we speak. For instance, Dierberg’s grocery chain in St.Louis just intro-ed an app for iPhone and Android that tells you in which aisle to find a particular item upon typing its name. And it will then add it to your shopping list. Only first you’ll have to select from a menu the particular Dierberg’s location in which you’re shopping.

So, since Dierberg can do it, it won’t be long before every other grocer in the country follows, including the big guys. Advantage, brick and mortar stores!

Here’s the link to a brief youtube about the Dierberg’s app:

zuzu3 interesting
This small chain is thinking ahead of the biggies. Typing is too slow for many it will need speech recognition
Have you tried it? Satisfied?

The single biggest reason I shop at my Kroger as opposed to a Wal Mart and Publix both about a block away is that I know where most items are located.

. There are enough non price sensitive customers to keep the Publix going, people who like the wide isles and ambience.IOW there is a wide variance in customers, enough to support differing types and formats of retail.

B&M will continue to exist alongside internet. But with declining sales for years to come. A bet on Amazon vs B&M has paid off nicely in the past and I expect it to do so for years to come.

No matter how you figure it, having to get in your car ,fight traffic, find a parking spot, walk to store ,walk inside store, find item ,walk to cashier line, wait to be checked out, walk back to car, fight traffic to get back home are built in disadvantages that mostly won’t be going away… Internet ordering also has built in disadvantages, time delay ,no instant gratification , no touch before buying

No doubt some like to shop, but what percentage of shopping is fun and which is a bore?? What would B&M or internet need to do to take bigger market share?, Which is more able to take on wrenching changes, Amazon or Macy’s?

And very long term as the population ages and gets fatter, the physical part of “shopping” gets ever harder.


Mauser…no, I haven’t tried the Dierberg app for locating items. It is very new and I don’t have an iPhone. I know someone who works at one, so will follow progress and customer satisfaction through their reports.

I know what you mean about hassle of going shopping in stores. Certainly, autonomous driving will eventually help with getting to and from stores. And, already there are transportation services in metro areas that take oldsters shopping, almost always to WalMart.

Amazon has long taken advantage of its membership subscription services like Prime and Cloud storage to subsidize its on-line retail sales. But, this is strictly a ploy to win market share, and cannot continue to be sustained over long haul because of high cost of “free” shipping. Sooner or later investors in AMZN expect them to make a profit and pay a dividend, like WMT has done for years.

As another poster has recently stated here, and as comparison shoppers also know, AMZN’s prices are not as low as WMT, and offers same prices as in its stores. But, also will have to confront and control “free” shipping costs to permit its on-line business to carry its own weight. Which is why they’re so strongly promoting customer pick-up as preferred method of delivery. And, customer pick-up is probably the real reason that AMZN just bought Whole Foods.

However, there aren’t enough Whole Foods locations for Amazon yet to be able to offer a comprehensive, nation-wide customer pickup option. So, I expect that Amazon may soon grab another struggling retail chain to gain even more locations for customer pickups. How well Amazon and WalMart manage customer pickup by making it quick and easy will be a very important success factor. Walmart already has managed to build a well-run pharmacy pickup at drive-in windows outside the store, and this may well become its model for customers driving by to pick up on-line orders as well.



So, I expect that Amazon may soon grab another struggling retail chain to gain even more locations for customer pickups.



Good point about automated driving making retail shopping easier. And one can hope merchants fix more of their outdated processes.

I too think location was the key to the WF purchase but am less sure what Amazon intends. Bezos tends to experiment with different ideas and then pick the winning ones. Clearly they want to be closer to more affluent customers.

Pharmacy drive in at Walgreens has been so slow for me that I switched to pick it up at the counter in Kroger… My other pickups at Best Buy have been even more unsatisfactory. No doubt Amazon has some ideas to improve this, maybe a pick it out of bin yourself and a more rapid way to pay for it. Maybe cloning Apple Go. Because I won’t go with the “pick it up” model unless it is improved. A lot.

I like BIDU on the basis that they can let Bezos figure out things then clone it. I broke my “no China” rule when I bought some recently.

How about waiting more than a week, even as a Prime customer. The last few orders from Amazon it seems like it takes 5 days just for the order to get shipped. Then I still have to wait for the shipping time. This is generally okay, but it seems like Amazon used to ship items out the door within a day or two - lately it is taking much longer.


Mauser, here’s a new article from Seeking Alpha about WMT v. AMZN and why WMT may be leading when it comes to “last mile” delivery options. Article introduces WMT’s latest strategy to capitalize on its 5000-plus locations by building pick-up kiosks in store parking lots, and by offering pick-up discounts on over 1-million popular items. In other words, WMT appears to recognize that you, me and many other potential customers prefer NOT to shop IN their stores even if we do wish to shop AT Walmart.…


not having to go into the stores would are a big help. Especially if it is drive through, though I always seem to get stuck behind somebody who wants to write a check but can’t find their checkbook or somebody with 3 bad credit cards.

But WMT continues to be disorganized on it’s on line sales. Just yesterday I tried to buy a surge protector extension cord from them., order online pick up at store same day. 2 of the 3 offered were out of stock.

I wound up ordering from Amazon. Prices similar, more user reviews , no shipping costs.

Wal Mart certainly has the resources to do better. So I assume their lackluster showing is due to Innovators Dilemma problems.


and by offering pick-up discounts on over 1-million popular items

Last night, I just ordered $150 of stuff from last night (primarily heavy food related items that amazon doesn’t generally sell with prime and probably costs walmart as much to ship as their margins are on those items) and do you want to know what the pick up discount they offered me was?

…25 cents on the whole order

Yeah, I’ll take the free shipping for friday delivery, thanks



Walmart is trying everything to combat AMZN. They are offering to pay their workers who are willing to make deliveries on their way home from work. This is getting interesting. Seems like a win win, quicker deliveries at a cost I assume to be less than paying a delivery service and their workers make a few extra bucks.


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Just chiming in to say how much I like WalMart. My situation is that I’m about 3 miles from a WalMart and we get a large portion of our groceries there. I make WalMart runs 2-3 times a week. For a long time I was using Aldi, but the lack of certain name brand items that my family enjoys pushed us towards the WalMart. We also like their fresh bread.

My local WalMart has very good service, and I notice that it is consistently very busy.

To me, Amazon and WalMart customers are different segments of the market. More affluent, techy people enjoy Amazon, and the less affluent go to WalMart. Both segments of the market can do fine. I think that Amazon and Walmart will eat at smaller retailers and grocery stores more and more, from both ends. Target is interesting. I think Amazon might eat at Target more in the long run because it is the same kind of customer.

No position in WalMart but I think WalMart will be around a long time and they can match up against Amazon.

long AMZN