Wednesday, October 18, 2017

online wars


ONLINE WARS

About October 12th, Market Ticker dotcom did a nice article on how Wal-Mart was going to easily win the online shopping war, over Amazon.  Now, I love Market Ticker Dude as he is just the Goldilocks blend of logical and Blow His Top Rant Bloviator, but I only agree with him about half the time.  This is not one of those times.  MT Dudes main argument was that Wally sells cheaper, offers free shipping without a membership and you get secure shipping.  All true to a degree, but deceptive.

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First, yes, there are a few things that I prefer to get at Wally rather than Amazon.  Just as there are a VERY few things I’ll buy at Wally rather than Kroger for my retail grocery shopping.  For instance, if you are forced to buy bucketed wheat ( rather than make your own from a feed store ), Wally makes much more sense ( see my After Every Article blurb for the link ).  If I want almost anything OTC drug, Wally is cheaper, as is their make your own soap ingredients.  But ALL food is safer and cheaper from Kroger.  Toilet paper is cheaper at Family Dollar-125 square feet per buck ( 2 ply ) verses 400 sq ft for $5 at Wally ( both sandpaper on ones rectum ).

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( note: Family Dollar has a good history of reinventing themselves and-mostly-stopping self defeating behavior.  They used to be 90% clothing and got out of that game before it bankrupted them like it did JC Penny and Sears, amongst dozens of others.  They were dropping quality to remain cheap, like Wally, and stopped that after they bough Dollar Tree-now they offer better quality than Tree but at barely-over-their-prices.  It kind of turned into a $1.25 or a $2 store, verses a dollar store which are having difficulty offering anything worth even just a buck.  They have their nemesis Dollar General beat by a country mile on price and selection and management ).

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But as far as beating Amazon overall as an online seller?  I have my serious doubts.  Remember me complaining tirelessly how Home Despot is offering complete crap quality?  Guaranteed lower prices as advertised, sure.  As long as you are buying worthless crap, you can get it cheap.  I’m sorry, but back on my planet we like it when you buy a box of screws and they actual don’t just strip the head out, every single damn piece.  And it is swell when nails actually hammer in.  Oh, and those 2x4’s you just raised the price on 50%?  Could any of those actually be straight?  Wal-Mart is, if anything, far, far, exponentially WORSE than Home Despot.

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I won’t repeat my claims here, other than to say everything brand name is substandard quality from Wally, verses the same brand name elsewhere.  What you are buying from your no longer Guaranteed Low Price Leader is worthless crap.  If you buy ANYTHING from Wal-Mart, I guaran-damn-tee you that it is poor quality.  That is why my monthly shopping went from 100% at Wally for a decade to, roughly, about 5%.  I cherry pick a few things there and avoid them otherwise.  Hump them, hump them very much!  Now, what makes you think that what you buy from them online is any better?

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Amazon has issues.  I don’t think anyone will deny that.  Even compared to a few years ago, or even last year, they are obviously in trouble and getting desperate.  The owner is a bit of a dingus politically.  Their search engine has been budgeted for wage cuts, obviously.  Twenty years on and you guys are still operating without a profit?  You have WAY over expanded and your stock valuation is stupid.  You won’t last long without drastic changes.  Well, neither will Wal-Mart.  Duh.  And at least Amazon TRIES to be customer friendly, which they mostly achieve.  Wally tries and succeeds screwing all its customers over.

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I remember when Stephen King came out with his book on the town in a bubble ( meh!  Not his best work ).  Wal-Mart at the time thought they were going to enter a price war with Amazon.  I’m pretty sure I got it below cost.  They didn’t try that again!  This “lower price online than Amazon” is just the latest example of that.  And you WILL get worse quality than Amazon on almost every item.  So what are you saving on?  Shipping?  Just order over a certain amount on Amazon to get the same.  Now, about that Secure Shipping.

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It is true that UPS and ilk make it easy for your packages to get swiped.  It is a HUGE pain in my ass to worry about when a package is delivered to my cluster post box.  If it doesn’t fit the bottom keyed bigger box I have to worry about getting to the Post Office in time before they ship it back.  But, really, no bigger a pain than going to Wal-Mart to pick up a package ( since I don‘t shop there ).  While I worked for the Food Bank, I had to pick up donations from Wally twice a week.  I usually timed my urination breaks to certain stores ( drink a half gallon of water at work and see how long you can hold it ), Wally being one.  The pick-up counter for online ordering was across from the back men’s room.  I saw it manned ONCE, over several years.

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Wally does actually still win in that regard, though.  The three day limit isn’t a factor.  I haven’t ever ordered through anyone to deliver to my house in a very long time, so the theft issue isn’t a factor.  Before I worked at the food bank and had boxes delivered there, I spent the necessary amount renting a spot at a private mailing company to get secure delivery.  Or was close enough to the post office.  Door drop off has ALWAYS been a security risk. 

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So, to recap.  The lower price is due to lower quality.  Their lower price won’t last long.  They are in too much trouble financially.  It is just a short lived War To Steal Business, like the lost book war.  They’ll return to higher prices.  While Amazon’s search engine is starting to REALLY blow, as well as its click times, they are still much better than Wally.  You can’t find much of anything with Wally’s search-you have to match exactly how they name it and still wade through completely unrelated crap.  The only thing they win on is delivery price.  So, if you want turds delivered cheaper, they are your boys.

END ( today's related link http://amzn.to/2xChJlL )
 
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20 comments:

  1. "The lower price is due to lower quality. Their lower price won’t last long. They are in too much trouble financially."
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    Isn't this pretty much the case with everywhere these days?
    Seems like everyone is slowly ambling toward the exit doors and picking up loose dollars laying around along the way.

    Your mention the other day about scaling back on purchasing is the key. I know, I know, it's hard - what with all the 24/7 advertising going on all the time, but it's really the only way. Stop the effin buying.

    Decent deals are still to be found everywhere and I haven't shut any stores out, but you do have to pay attention and keep that wallet in check at all times. Buy what you have to and buy more than you need but buy only after comparing prices and quality....always.

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    1. To an extent, yes, everyone is stripping the wires from the wall to sell for scrap to meet the house payment. Some cannibalize far more than others. Wally is the king, at least in its size class. And yes, cherry picking is a valid tactic. THEY forced us into that-it isn't disloyalty.

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    2. My company is having trouble with the quality from a German supplier formerly known as being top quality (no seriously, top of the range quality).

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    3. I'm not sure how any board can convincingly sell the lie that reducing quality is their fiduciary responsibility, when the quality reputation IS the source of profit. Course, Germany was also supposed to be above that BS. I'd say it is a splendid example of collapse. Once the Krauts give in to a one off profit expedient...

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  2. One thing that I have noticed about Wally world is that the manufactures are figuring out how to get even on their cheapest buyer. I buy Mia Casa burrito tortillas and the ones from Wally are without exception smaller and misshapen, they may be from the start of a run. They are $1 cheaper from our other store but you have a hard time keeping the thing together when eating. In that case it is worth the $1 to get better product. I also agree with you on wallie's suckey search function, I just keep trying different words until I hit the right combo but that sucks!

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    1. Wally's search engine: well, do you want to sell me a product, or not? It doesn't seem like it. You can raise ALL associates minimum pay ( even as you stop paying bennies ) but you can't pay anyone to produce a decent web site? It seems they DON'T want you to buy as that takes extra time, effort and money, the store drop off perhaps being a money loser?

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    2. When you're so specialized as Wal-Mart, you tend to specialize on your customers.

      Those few customers who plan using the website and compare with other supermarkets are not Wal-Mart's target. They want to appeal on people who see the goods physically by being there.

      It's very probable those customers Wal-Mart specializes on are primarily impulse-buying and lack the means, in time or education, to do better.

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    3. Rural King is the worst I have ever seen. No matter what you are looking for they are going to show you the entire inventory, in random order, and there's nothing to be done about it.

      I wonder if this has anything to do with the fact that most people use their phones rather than desktops so maybe something is lost in the conversion. I need to ask my son about this as it's what he does everyday - convert websites so they are better viewable on tiny phone screens. If you look at Denningers site with your phone you'll see what I mean.

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    4. I've heard Wally is hugely into FoodStamp customers. Yet, would they not want to shop around? Almost sounds like an excuse. The cheaper your groceries, and Wally AIN'T cheap, the more soda you can buy as currency for booze and cigs. Built in motivation.
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      Never shopped on a phone/tablet. Blech! If you do, I'd imagine you are stuck on your Soma, bad. Or, I suppose, just another generation we can't comprehend.

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    5. >> Yet, would they not want to shop around?

      They would LIKE to but they can't (hence the food stamps). Seems a no-nonsense approach for me, no money no honey.

      I can't even discount the possibility that the rest of the stuff is there to attract the Food Stamp crowd who want to do some "window shopping" there, since there are no shops with windows left in town and the weekly drive to Wal-Mart is actually every week's only event for the family.

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    6. I've never lived anywhere that Wally is the only grocery store. Course, I never live anywhere you need a car to survive, so that might be it.

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    7. you really need a car to survive here.
      the bus goes to the grocery stores but to get on and off with bags at every store in order to bargain shop is difficult. therefore people get what they can in one place, which is generally walmart.

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    8. Okay-you make a good point. The only time I was ever forced to take a bus was when I was stationed in Hawaii ( I know, tough assignment. They made up for it by then sending me to Korea and the flaming butthole 2nd ID ), and I didn't REALLY need to go into the city. In Florida when I tried the bus-once-I went right back to bicycling. I could tie a weeks worth of groceries to the handle bars. I couldn't steer well, but why be in a hurry pedaling in the humidity, right? When I get too old, I'll just transition to a three wheeler. If my heart, and western civilization, last that long.

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  3. I just have to link to this funny site : http://www.peopleofwalmart.com/

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  4. Perhaps you're being a little too harsh on the Home Depot screws. If you just buy the cheapest screws, then yes, they'll snap the heads just like drywall screws. You have to go to the structural screw section, and you can get a 3-1/8" structural wood screw that is only slightly larger than a deck screw (not obnoxiously big), but it has a 1016 pound shear rating. In other words you won't be able to break it, but you have to pay more for it.
    Peace out

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    1. No problem paying more, if they work. So, are they in the same section, but are labeled "structural"? I just got whatever said "wood" and the right size, I didn't realize you had a choice.

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    2. GRK Uber-Grade, also in other sizes like 2 and 2-1/2".
      Peace out

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  5. You have to give credit to Walmart pharmacy. They were the first chain to advertise cheap generic drugs. They forced the others to lower their prices.

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    1. I used to LOVE Wally. Which is why I'm as a lover scorned. They did a lot of good. But for some time now, they do nothing but evil. I wish I could order an entire semi load of wheat buckets from them, just to really cost them some serious bank. They have profited mightily off me as I transitioned away from them ( learning their quality issues first hand ).

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