Sunday, November 20, 2011

Cutthroat Competition: The Consumer's Best Friend

NY Times -- "As retailers battle to draw customers into their stores on Black Friday, online merchants are plotting a cunning ambush — offering an arsenal of mobile-only deals intended to pick off shoppers as they wait in line.

Not only can online merchants now offer a relatively annoyance-free alternative to shoppers stuck in crowded stores, but they can also even exploit the faster download speeds on free wireless networks promoted by retailers like Nordstrom and Macy’s. And most are throwing in free shipping. 

Last year, the online giants stole some of the Black Friday riches by offering early Web specials on Thanksgiving Day. But the move to mobile-only discounts — the specials will not be available on Web sites, in most cases — can lead to “a massive amount of share-stealing,” said Joel Bines, a managing director in the retail practice at the consultancy AlixPartners, “if I get just a small percentage to make a purchase standing in the store.”

And there is not much retailers can do to stop customers from checking out competitors, he said."


At 11/20/2011 3:11 PM, Blogger Benjamin Cole said...

For Buddy


During World War II the 40 percent 4F rate of young men drafted into the army owing to problems associated with malnutrition was a stark testimony to the ravages of the Great Depression, but it was also an alarm that set in motion decades of nutrition programs (beginning in 1946 with school lunch) that arose out of national security concerns but contributed to the eventual appreciation of basic nutrition as a fundamental human right.

At 11/20/2011 3:15 PM, Blogger Benjamin Cole said...

As I recall, the average uniform size was 36 for WWII, and 40 for Vietnam.

Some of you younger people may not remember, but many fellas in their 50 and 60s know they are taller than their fathers.

I am taller than my father by four inches. He grew up in the Great Depression. Many decades after the Depression, even when he made money, he always bought the cheapest item on the menu, or the cheapest apples in the store. He never bought clothes, except as needed.

I do the same thing, so deeply was that behavior ingrained in me. Never underestimate what recessions and depressions do to middle- and lower-class people.

At 11/20/2011 4:09 PM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

"...the specials will not be available on Web sites, in most cases."

I will likely ignore mobile snagging by retailers, but there is a huge number of people by whom this will get attention. Retailing is brutally competitive. After Thanksgiving dinner I will be on the web.

At 11/20/2011 5:18 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Competition is the customers friend only so long as quality is not sacrificed in the battle.

At 11/20/2011 9:10 PM, Blogger Richard Rider said...

Hydra, lower quality should be a consumer CHOICE, and that's what competition offers -- choice.

It's not just about price. It's also about what quality of goods one desires -- a Yugo vs. a Mercedes Benz -- with thousands of choices (considering options) in between.

At 11/21/2011 12:07 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...

Hydra, lower quality should be a consumer CHOICE, and that's what competition offers -- choice.

The problem is that it is not a consumer choice. It is a manufacturer decision for the mass market. For a given amount of money for a given product/good, the quality of a product will decline as others enter to make the same product.


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