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Messages - WayOutWest

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from NY Post
Hallmark sues distributor for selling ‘unauthorized’ cards

Hallmark is suing a Long Island distributor for allegedly selling 8 million “unauthorized” Hallmark cards on the cheap.

The 73 truckloads of cards were supposed to be destroyed, not resold. . .
(continue reading)
Amazon, you're broken, again.  Guess I'll have to try later to view.  Got the following error message when trying to follow the link:
They talk as though Amazon Fresh was innovative, but it's really no different than phoning up your local grocer and having the delivery boy bring it, something that people in the bigger cities have been able to do for decades, though the availability of that service has declined.

IMHO, the big hurdle with Amazon Fresh has been the inability for the customer to screen out bad produce or produce that wasn't ripened to your liking/needs. With the traditional delivery service, you can ask for them to pick according to your needs (e.g. slightly under ripe bananas or fully ripe bananas).  If the delivery person brings produce you don't care for, you can reject it at point of delivery. Though I've never used Amazon Fresh, I would imagine that it's not as easy to say to the delivery person things like, "I don't like these 3 bananas, so I'm only taking these 2".
^ Truly!

We're all more than qualified for that job. Yet another instance where my having crappy AT&T DSL really sucks!  :(   Heck, right now even a google search results page is taking nearly 2 mins to load  :(
Makes me feel even better about the fact that (thanks to late deliveries) I haven't had to pay for my Prime for 2 yrs now, ha! 
The increasing problems appear to be systemic rather than isolated to the customer support team in India.  Warehouse workers doing a poor job of packing (if they even put it in a box, it's becoming increasingly common for them to simply slap a shipping label on the item itself), more and more items shipped by Amazon are showing longer than two days for arrival, seller support seems to be getting increasingly worse, and to top it off their prices seem to be getting higher and higher. 

Used to, items sold by Amazon were fairly competitively priced. Even when they were higher than locally, the price difference was small enough that the convenience of having it delivered to your door more than made up for it.  Now, though, it seems that their prices are getting higher and higher. 

They also seem to be carrying lesser quality goods.  Some manufacturers will make different grades, so to speak, of their products for different markets (TJ Maxx is one such market).  For example, I ordered some jeans from Amazon and they were way thinner than what is sold locally. 

To top it off, they're adding sales tax to more and more states, even when they don't have a physical presence in that state. (Yeah, the consumer is supposed to remit those taxes voluntarily, but. . . )  The sales tax doesnt get added to items sold by 3P sellers, even when it's FBA (unless the seller opts for tax to be collected), so there's that.
So in other words we can expect to see even more brands restricted from 3P sellers, as they like to use the counterfeit claim for legitimate goods, simply because they were bought outside official channels (e.g. bought at retail stores), and more false counterfeit claims.
They may have lost money on "their books" from the purchase, but how much more did they gain from limiting competition?

To me, Amazon is an antitrust case just waiting to happen. If only someone in government had the guts to do it. I'm remembering Standard Oil and the AT&T Bell network.
Yeah. Agreed.  Heck, when started up, Amazon sold diapers below cost in order to drive them under, when that didn't work, but did succeed in driving the value down significantly, they bought 'em.
* Amazon Central / Re: Amazon lowered its free shipping minimum to $35
« on: March 01, 2017, 10:26:36 AM »
I really dread having to pay $99 for Prime (I still have yet to pay it thanks to all the free months due to late delivery that Ive gotten  :h0035)

For some walmart items, the price difference is big enough that people are using walmart to dropship to their AZ customers. Of course the customer might not be too happy when they see walmart as the return address. . .   I bought an item not too long ago that was that way. I ran the numbers (after seeing it was dropshipped) and it would have been $5 or $6 cheaper for me to have bought it direct from walmart (paid $30 on AZ.AZ was out of stock but 3P seller had it at similar price to what AZ normally sells it for).

As for everyday purchases that are FBA Vs. walmart, I'd rather go with AZ even if a tiny bit higher. Why? Because walmart takrs forever and a day to deliver on an unspecified day, whereas with Prime I know I'll have it in 2 days (or will get a free extra month of Prime).
* Amazon Central / Re: Amazon lowered its free shipping minimum to $35
« on: February 26, 2017, 08:46:15 AM »
Call me dense but I just dont get the whole walmart buying jet thing. I guess that's because I dont care for jet.  One thing I dont like is their whole 'the more you buy the more you save' model. Why cant I get that same savings if I buy 1 or 2? Also many items on jet arent any cheaper than other places and I find their website to be clunky. If walmart wanted a better ecommerce site, they could have easily revamped their crappy site.

Amazon lowering their free shipping minimum causes me to think their plan of converting people to Prime wasnt as big of a success as they had hoped.   Which, there are people that dont care for the streaming stuff Prime gets you and that dont shop Amazon enough to justify the $99 fee (or who simply cant afford the $99 fee). My mom is one of those ppl. Thanks to my sharing my Prime she does get the 2 day shipping benefit. If I wasnt sharing it, she simply would buy even less on Amazon than she does rather than paying the prime fee or the shipping upcharges.
* Amazon Central / Re: Amazon will build its own $1.5 billion air cargo hub
« on: February 14, 2017, 04:30:21 PM »
From the first article, "an Amazon subsidiary based in Beijing is now operating as a freight forwarding provider, arranging cargo shipments to the US for Amazon merchants based in China", which explains how so many sellers in China are readily finding their way to Amazon.

Interesting, but not surprising, to learn that Amazon is building this hub.  It wouldn't surprise me in the least to learn that their long game is to be the next UPS and overtake the shipping industry.
* Amazon Central / Re: Amazon collecting sales tax in 11 additional states
« on: February 14, 2017, 04:12:16 PM »
Excellent point.  I sometimes end up spending nearly an hour with a customer. Usually it's just 20-30 mins, but still, that translates into lots of lost productivity. Not to mention all the times I spend 10-20mins with a customer, only to have them not buy anything.

At the Kansas State Fair, we're in the bldg at the end of the row, furthest away from the main action on the fairgrounds.  Used to, I could work it by myself and still have plenty of time to polish all of the jewelry, restock inventory, and even make earrings and necklaces.  Now, because of more foot traffic to our bldg., it takes two to run it.  It's not that sales have increased, it's just that we have more foot traffic. 

My point is, there's a high number of customers that a B&M gets that simply don't buy anything, but they do require attention.  In the case of the Kansas Fair, our labor could be cut by half if one eliminated the non-buyers (which would be about the same with online Vs. a relatively busy B&M).  Add to that the time that's required to assist the customers that do buy stuff (time spent describing the product, letting them examine it, showing them pieces that match their wants/needs, helping them find an item they like that's in their price point, helping them find coordinating pieces, etc.), and that's a huge amount of labor expense that a B&M has Vs. what an online shop has.
* Amazon Central / Re: Amazon entering auto parts marketplace
« on: February 10, 2017, 02:43:37 AM »
It wouldn't be the first time Amazon has had a company drop ship for them. I've gotten an item or two in the past that were listed as sold by/ shipped by Amazon, but ended up being shipped by someone else.
* Amazon Central / Re: Amazon collecting sales tax in 11 additional states
« on: February 10, 2017, 02:40:09 AM »
You're absolutely right. The online retailers will find ways to cut prices even more if need be. Some will merely force the manufacturers to sell at lower prices, others will find other ways to cut their prices -- negotiate lower credit card rates, negotiate lower shipping costs with FedEx & UPS, trim staff, etc.
* Beyond eBay & Amazon / Re: For anyone who can get to Lancaster, Ohio
« on: February 09, 2017, 01:52:08 PM »
Just read this. One of the pallets even had some Sig Sauer pistols  :o wow! All those pallets make me wish I lived closer
* Amazon Central / Amazon collecting sales tax in 11 additional states
« on: February 09, 2017, 03:21:06 AM »
On Wednesday, Amazon began collecting sales tax for sales to customers in Mississippi, Missouri, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Vermont. It started last month in Louisiana, Iowa, Nebraska and Utah, and begins in Oklahoma and Wyoming on March 1.

Traditionally, Amazon has fought the collection of sales tax in states that it doesn't have nexus. However, it came to an agreement with the state government of Oklahoma to voluntarily collect sales tax, despite not having nexus. I have not researched the other states listed above, so I don't know the reason(s) for the collection of taxes in those states. Oklahoma's governor is prancing around in the media like a peacock in mating season over this win, but that's because the state current has nearly a billion dollar budget deficit this year and she's been getting some harsh criticism over it.

In addition to the above, lawmakers in Arkansas are advancing a plan to require out-of-state companies with no physical presence in the state to collect the tax if they sell more than $100,000 worth of products or make at least 200 transactions. While the intent is to force large companies to collect sales tax, that 200 transactions limit is an awfully low bar that will adversely affect small mom & pop companies.

Hopefully this will help the 3P sellers as people discover that many items on that aren't sold by Amazon are still without sales tax.

There are many B&Ms that are rejoicing over the so-called leveling of the playing field, but there are some that remain skeptical. I like a consumer comment that I heard on the radio today. He said that he was tired of hearing about the leveling of the playing field and that until the B&Ms start delivering to his door, they're not in competition with Amazon.  :laugh
The article compares it to FBA, but it's actually more of a competitor to Amazon's Multi-Channel Fulfillment program. Interesting to hear that Fedex is doing it.  Depending on the fees, might be a great option for many smaller vendors and ones that sell on Amazon but are FBM.

Fedex supply chain webpage (for U.S.)
Fedex Fulfillment webpage (for U.S.)

Also interesting to read (on Fedex site) that it's in Memphis (which makes sense) AND it's a fully temperature controlled facility (unlike Amazon).  They also have a similar program in Europe.

It looks to me like the fees are variable, and are negotiated based on volume & needs.  There's no fee chart at Fedex site, only a Contact Us button.
* Amazon Central / Re: Amazon entering auto parts marketplace
« on: February 08, 2017, 02:47:37 PM »
Yeah, they've carried quite a bit in the way of auto parts for some time now.  :017 Apparently this is an expansion of the parts they carry.   :?  The second article makes me think they've entered into a dropship agreement with some of the big parts warehouse companies.
* Amazon Central / Amazon entering auto parts marketplace
« on: February 07, 2017, 08:13:12 PM »
In the past, the auto parts industry was built on the local shop having a very large inventory of products on hand. More recently, the shops have been turning to centralized warehouses with a day or two delay for the customer to get the parts they need.

Amazon is looking to turn the parts industry on its head, by becoming the go to place for automotive parts, with same day delivery available in many markets.

The unknown factor is how the high return rate for auto parts that are mislabeled, or simply don't properly fit, is going to work out.  Many a time I've purchased a part that was supposed to fit, only to find it didn't. Sometimes this was because the part was wrong, other times it was because either the reference book book was wrong or the car was a one-off with a manufacturing deviation. 

On one of those occasions, my car was broken down in the auto parts parking lot, so finding the correct fit became a top concern of the sales people, who ended up coming out and taking measurements, so that they could find a part that did fit (since the part the book said would fit, didn't).  That's certainly the type of service you won't be able to get from Amazon.

Two interesting articles about it:
Yahoo Finance article: A double whammy from Trump and Amazon has short sellers piling into AutoZone

Art of Gears: Amazon Auto Parts A Brilliant Disaster
* Amazon Central / Re: Condition Box Going Away for New Items
« on: February 06, 2017, 09:10:43 PM »
About friggin time. What part of new needs condition notes? Either it matches the listing or it doesnt and it's either new or it's not. Not a difficult concept.
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