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Amazon Isn’t Killing Brick-and-Mortar Retail. It’s Showing Other Retailers How to Do It

If you ask most people operating in the real estate market, they tell you that retail is at risk. The latest data shows commercial real estate retail deals are slumping, because Amazon is fundamentally changing the retail industry and pushing people online.

The facts, however, are decidedly different, as Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Super Sunday, and now Cyber Monday reveal.

Over the weekend, Adobe released its findings on U.S. retail spending over the past few days. It showed a clear consumer desire for online shopping (Black Friday online sales reached a record $7.4 billion, for instance). The study also found that mobile purchases accounted for 39 percent of all e-commerce sales–a 21 percent jump compared with last year.

At first blush, that might seem like brick-and-mortar retailers suffered. In truth, they benefited from an increasingly important phenomenon in which people buy online but pick up their orders in stores.

According to Adobe’s data, so-called BOPIS (Buy Online, Pickup In Store) purchases were up a whopping 43.2 percent year over year. It was a clear “sign that retailers are successfully bridging online and offline retail operations,” Adobe said.

In other words, brick-and-mortar retailers have found a way to bolster their offline businesses. Target and Best Buy have been among the most successful at it. During its fiscal third quarter ended November 2, for instance, Best Buy reported revenue of $9.8 billion, beating Wall Street’s expectations. Its growth came from a mix of online and offline sales.

But perhaps nowhere is the evidence of Amazon not killing brick-and-mortar stronger than in a quick evaluation of Amazon itself.

While the company still generates the lion’s share of its retail business online, it’s increasingly focusing its efforts in brick-and-mortar.

In 2017, Amazon announced plans to buy Whole Foods for $13.4 billion. Now, two years later, Amazon is only expanding its investment in the company and ramping up its delivery options to make it a more attractive option for shoppers.

Meanwhile, ​the company’s cashierless stores, Amazon Go,are growing in number and size. Amazon is placing more of them across the U.S., with plans to dramatically expand their footprint over the next few years. The company is also planning to open bigger Amazon Go stores that could be the size of supermarkets.

Perhaps most important to competing retailers, Amazon has also signaled a willingness to license its cashierless technology to competitors.

All of that should be making retailers ask themselves a very important question: If Amazon is the company that’s destroying brick-and-mortar retail, why is it also the company moving so aggressively toward it?

The fact is, brick-and-mortar retail still offers plenty of value to consumers, especially in food products, grocery stores, and convenience and service locations that can’t be easily replaced by Amazon. Even in areas where Amazon could replace the retailer (think electronics), companies like Best Buy and Walmart, among others, are doing well.

There’s no debating the future of shopping will still be dominated by e-commerce, but predicting the demise of offline shopping is ludicrous. And judging by its latest moves, no one knows that better than Amazon.

By Don ReisingerTechnology and business writer

Source: Amazon Isn’t Killing Brick-and-Mortar Retail. It’s Showing Other Retailers How to Do It

1.27M subscribers
Every year, Amazon and other retailers end up with billions of pounds of excess, unsold inventory that they’re sending straight to landfills, or incinerating. Returns in the U.S. create more than 5 billion pounds of waste in landfills each year, and more than 15 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. The problem is only growing as Amazon leads the way in bringing more shoppers online, where the rate of returns is 25%, compared to just 9% for in-store purchases. Now, the e-commerce giant and other tech companies and retailers are increasing donation efforts and using data and A.I. to cut back on the wasted inventory clogging our landfills and our planet. » Subscribe to CNBC: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBC » Subscribe to CNBC TV: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBCtelevision » Subscribe to CNBC Classic: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBCclassic About CNBC: From ‘Wall Street’ to ‘Main Street’ to award winning original documentaries and Reality TV series, CNBC has you covered. Experience special sneak peeks of your favorite shows, exclusive video and more. Connect with CNBC News Online Get the latest news: https://www.cnbc.com/ Follow CNBC on LinkedIn: https://cnb.cx/LinkedInCNBC Follow CNBC News on Facebook: https://cnb.cx/LikeCNBC Follow CNBC News on Twitter: https://cnb.cx/FollowCNBC Follow CNBC News on Instagram: https://cnb.cx/InstagramCNBC #CNBC What Retailers Like Amazon Do With Unsold Inventory

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Amazon Almost Killed Target. Then, Target Did the Impossible

In 2017, everyone was laughing at Target.

Sales had continued to slide. Stores were in disrepair. And company leaders were struggling to adapt to the changing behavior of consumers–many of whom were shopping more and more with online retailers like Amazon.

As fellow retailers Macy’s, J.C. Penney, and Gap collectively shuttered hundreds of stores because of similar struggles, analysts said Target should do the same.

But Target executives, led by CEO Brian Cornell, had a different idea. The key to revitalizing Target, they said, was to go on the offensive.

So, in March 2017, Target made a huge announcement: It planned to invest over $7 billion in a turnaround strategy that would include:

  • remodeling existing stores (and opening smaller ones in urban areas);
  • introducing new, private label brands; and,
  • enhancing its digital shopping experience.

Wall Street thought the plan was a disaster. On the day of the announcement, Target suffered its largest stock plunge in almost a decade.

But fast-forward to today, and Target is thriving. First-quarter results for 2019 beat analysts’ expectations. The store’s private-label lines are exploding. And as comparable store sales continue to rise, the stock price is trading at an all-time high.

How did Target do it?

A close look at the company’s brilliant turnaround strategy reveals some major lessons for businesses of any size.

Here are some highlights:

Think long term.

When Target announced its turnaround plan, Cornell expected backlash. He knew investors would hate the idea of stuttering profits for the foreseeable future.

But he held fast to his plan. “We’re investing in our business with a long-term view of years and decades, not months and quarters,” Cornell said at the time.

Cornell knew this reset was necessary because so many Target stores had fallen into disrepair over the years. And while the company was making efforts in e-commerce, it simply didn’t have the infrastructure to deliver.

Contrast that with today. Target has remodeled hundreds of stores, and it has built a hundred “mini-stores” in urban areas like New York and on college campuses (with plans to open dozens more of these every year for the foreseeable future). The company also invested heavily in its e-commerce operations to great benefit. (More on this in a minute.)

By focusing on the long-term health of the company instead of short-term financial performance, Cornell took a page out of Jeff Bezos’s playbook–and it clearly worked.

Leverage your strengths.

Target’s e-commerce infrastructure needed a complete revamp. But could the company really compete with Amazon and Walmart, which were years ahead of the curve?

It could–by doing things a little differently.

Target execs knew that as popular as e-commerce has become, the majority of retail shopping still takes place in physical stores–especially when it comes to clothing.

So Target chose to focus on a model that would maximize its strengths. Known as “ship-to-store,” Target’s e-commerce platform turns physical stores into mini warehouses for online customers. That makes it possible for customers to order a product online, and then pick it up in a store on the same day.

Ship-to-store reduces Target’s shipping and handling costs, and takes advantage of already existing space in physical stores. And if a customer decides to do some shopping while already there at Target, the benefit is two-fold.

Fill a gap.

Consumers had once affectionately referred to Target as “Tarzhay,” an ode to products and style that were affordable yet a step above those offered by competitors like Walmart. Over time, though, Target had created too many labels that were clear misses.

“Tarzhay” had lost its cachet.

But nobody had stepped up to fill that gap of stylish, exclusive clothing for lower prices. So, in an effort to rebuild its reputation, Target doubled down on its exclusive brands. The company has launched 20 private-label lines over the past three years, including brands for modern furniture, kids’ clothes, electronics, and home goods.

The investment paid off: Six of Target’s private-labels each do more than a billion dollars in annual sales. These labels, together with other brands sold exclusively at Target,  contribute nearly a third of the company’s overall revenue (and an even greater percentage of profits).

In addition, Target has worked hard to fill gaps left by unsuccessful competitors. For example, when stores like Toys “R” Us and the Sports Authority went bankrupt, Target saw this as opportunity: market share begging to be gobbled up.

Yes, Target has definitely gotten its groove back. It did so by bucking analysts’ advice, and instead returning to basics:

Thinking long-term. Leveraging strengths. Filling gaps.

I guess Target got the last laugh after all.

By: Justin Bariso Author, EQ Applied

Source: Amazon Almost Killed Target. Then, Target Did the Impossible

1.48K subscribers
Target is one of the biggest retailers in America, but nowadays even the biggest retailers like Sears and Toys R Us have gone bankrupt with the rise of Amazon. This video describes how Target not only survived Amazon, but beat Amazon in the online e-commerce space. Sources: https://bit.ly/2Itw7EE https://bit.ly/2QVZ9k4 https://cnb.cx/31eIAoj Music: Song: SKANDR – Blue Lemonade (Vlog No Copyright Music) Music promoted by Vlog No Copyright Music. Video Link: https://youtu.be/iV1ca6K9VBM Song: KSMK – Forget All (Vlog No Copyright Music) Music provided by Vlog No Copyright Music. Video Link: https://youtu.be/7rkO5DyLoTE Song: KSMK – Just my imagination (Vlog No Copyright Music) Music provided by Vlog No Copyright Music. Video Link: https://youtu.be/5v_zQANhToo Song: KSMK – You (Vlog No Copyright Music) Music promoted by Vlog No Copyright Music. Video Link: https://youtu.be/974y9fyIaG4 Song: Dizaro – Sunset Beach (Vlog No Copyright Music) Music provided by Vlog No Copyright Music. Video Link: https://youtu.be/H–bOQgYsz0

Amazon Employees Ask Bezos To Stop Selling Facial Recognition To Cops – Thomas Fox-Brewster

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Amazon employees have written a letter to CEO Jeff Bezos in which they ask the company to stop selling its facial recognition tool to American law enforcement.

The tech giant’s sales to U.S. cops were revealed by an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) investigation earlier this month, as it emerged Amazon Web Services’ Rekognition tool was shipped to police in Florida and Oregon. The cost of the tool was also revealed to be remarkably low, as evidenced by a Forbes test of the product, in which a facial recognition project was set up for free across the publication’s Jersey City and London offices.

In a letter posted to an internal forum, first revealed by The Hill and published in full by Gizmodo, some employees expressed the same concerns as the ACLU about the power of Amazon’s Recognition being abused by American officers. The letter also called on Amazon to cease providing computing infrastructure to Palantir, the Peter Thiel-backed surveillance company, over concerns about the company’s work with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) department that’s been caught up in the furor over the forced separation of children from their parents at the border.

“Our company should not be in the surveillance business; we should not be in the policing business; we should not be in the business of supporting those who monitor and oppress marginalized populations,” the letter, signed off by “Amazonians,” read.

“We refuse to build the platform that powers ICE, and we refuse to contribute to tools that violate human rights.

“As ethically concerned Amazonians, we demand a choice in what we build, and a say in how it is used.”

 Employee activism is alive

It comes after a recent spate of protests across workforces in Silicon Valley about tech giants’ work with the U.S. government. As uncovered by Gizmodo’s Kate Conger, Google employees were up in arms about the company’s work with the Pentagon on an artificial-intelligence-powered drone footage analysis initiative known as Maven. Google subsequently decided to stop working on the project.

Microsoft staff this week called on the company to cease working with ICE. While CEO Satya Nadella slammed the practice of separating children and parents, he said the company was not providing any tech aiding in ICE’s work on separating families.

Palantir, which The Intercept last year revealed provides a $20 million Investigative Case Management service for ICE, has not responded to Forbes’ request for comment on its work for the immigration department. Recent contracts show Palantir received $250,000 from ICE this month and $12.2 million in May 2017, among many other orders.

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