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jerryking : locked_in   6

Amazon’s Next Big Move: Take Over the Mall
November 14, 2016 | Technology Review | by Nicholas Carr .

What’s Amazon doing with Amazon Books?...Wall Street analysts and tech writers have filled the void with conjecture. The stores are all about selling gadgets, goes one popular idea, with the books there just to lure customers. The stores are data-gathering machines, goes another, enabling Amazon to extend its tracking of customers into the physical world. Or maybe the company’s secret plan is to use the stores to promote its cloud computing operation, Amazon Web Services, to other retailers....The theories are intriguing, and they may contain bits of truth. But the real impetus behind the stores is probably much simpler: Amazon wants to sell more books....Not long ago, the common wisdom held that Amazon would remake the book business in its own image. Its Web store would kill off bookstores, and its Kindle would render physical books obsolete. ...
“Pure-play Web retailing is not sustainable.”Bezos underestimated the allure of bricks and paper. With his bookstore chain, he now seems to be admitting that if Amazon is to expand its share of the book market, it will need to invest in bricks as well as bits....Having come up short in its plan to supplant books and bookstores with digital alternatives, the company is taking its revenge by attacking traditional bookshops on their own turf. Unlike the mom-and-pop independents, or even the struggling Barnes & Noble chain, Amazon has the scale and the cash required to wage a war of attrition. It can sustain losses on its stores for a long time.....Amazon Books may be just the vanguard of a much broader push into brick-and-mortar retailing by the company. In October, the Wall Street Journal revealed that Amazon is planning to open a chain of convenience stores, mainly for groceries, along with drive-in depots where consumers will be able to pick up merchandise ordered online. It has also begun rolling out small “pop-up” stores to hawk its electronic devices. It already has more than two dozen such kiosks in malls around the country, and dozens more are said to be in the works.

Even after 20 years of rapid growth, e-commerce still accounts for less than 10 percent of total retail sales. And now the rise of mobile computing places new constraints on Web stores.At the same time, the smartphone, with its apps, its messaging platforms, and its constant connectivity, gives retailers more ways to communicate with and influence customers, even when they’re shopping in stores. This is why the big trend in retailing today is toward “omnichannel” strategies, which blend physical stores, Web stores, and mobile apps in a way that makes the most of the convenience of smartphones and overcomes their limitations.....Beyond its expertise in Web sales, Amazon brings distinctive strengths to an omnichannel operation. Its vast, efficient network of warehouses and distribution centers can supply outlets and process returns. It has, thanks to the largesse and patience of its investors, a reservoir of cheap capital that it can draw on to fund a building spree. And it has a much-admired brand. What Amazon lacks is experience in the touchy-feely world of traditional retailing (e.g. merchandising??). The company’s proficiency in software and data crunching is unquestioned. Its people skills are another matter..... another of the store’s goals: to promote the Prime program, which is central to Amazon’s strategy of locking in customers....I feel let down. I had convinced myself that I was going to witness something fresh and unexpected at Amazon Books. What I found was an annex to a website—a store that, despite the bricks and paper, retains the coldness of the virtual.
e-commerce  shopping_malls  Amazon  Amazon_Prime  books  sterile  soulless  Nicholas_Carr  Amazon_Books  bricks-and-mortar  Jeff_Bezos  pure-plays  bookstores  omnichannel  strengths  smartphones  mobile_applications  loyalty_management  impersonal  people_skills  Achilles’_heel  weaknesses  convenience_stores  pop-ups  kiosks  voids  merchandising  AWS  physical_world  mom-and-pop  coldness  touchy-feely  cyberphysical  emotional_connections  empathy_vacuum  Amazon_Go  cashierless  locked_in  distribution_centres 
february 2017 by jerryking
The Self-Destruction of the 1 Percent -
October 13, 2012 | NYTimes.com | By CHRYSTIA FREELAND.

IN the early 14th century, Venice was one of the richest cities in Europe. At the heart of its economy was the colleganza, a basic form of joint-stock company created to finance a single trade expedition. The brilliance of the colleganza was that it opened the economy to new entrants, allowing risk-taking entrepreneurs to share in the financial upside with the established businessmen who financed their merchant voyages.

Venice’s elites were the chief beneficiaries. Like all open economies, theirs was turbulent. Today, we think of social mobility as a good thing. But if you are on top, mobility also means competition. In 1315, when the Venetian city-state was at the height of its economic powers, the upper class acted to lock in its privileges, putting a formal stop to social mobility with the publication of the Libro d’Oro, or Book of Gold, an official register of the nobility. If you weren’t on it, you couldn’t join the ruling oligarchy.

The political shift, which had begun nearly two decades earlier, was so striking a change that the Venetians gave it a name: La Serrata, or the closure. It wasn’t long before the political Serrata became an economic one, too. Under the control of the oligarchs, Venice gradually cut off commercial opportunities for new entrants. Eventually, the colleganza was banned. The reigning elites were acting in their immediate self-interest, but in the longer term, La Serrata was the beginning of the end for them, and for Venetian prosperity more generally. By 1500, Venice’s population was smaller than it had been in 1330. In the 17th and 18th centuries, as the rest of Europe grew, the city continued to shrink....several recent studies have shown that in America today it is harder to escape the social class of your birth than it is in Europe. The Canadian economist Miles Corak has found that as income inequality increases, social mobility falls...Businessmen like to style themselves as the defenders of the free market economy, but as Luigi Zingales, an economist at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, argued, “Most lobbying is pro-business, in the sense that it promotes the interests of existing businesses, not pro-market in the sense of fostering truly free and open competition.”
business_interests  capitalism  Chrystia_Freeland  city-states  cronyism  crony_capitalism  depopulation  elitism  entrenched_interests  history  income_distribution  income_inequality  lobbying  locked_in  moguls  new_entrants  oligarchs  pro-business  pro-market  Renaissance  self-destructive  self-interest  social_classes  social_mobility  The_One_Percent  Venice  winner-take-all 
september 2013 by jerryking
Divide and Conquer: Competing with Free Technology under Network Effects - Academic Article - Harvard Business School
Summer 2008 | HBR |by Deishin Lee and Haim Mendelson

Abstract

We study how a commercial firm competes with a free open source product. The market consists of two customer segments with different preferences and is characterized by positive network effects. The commercial firm makes product and pricing decisions to maximize its profit. The open source developers make product decisions to maximize the weighted sum of the segments' consumer surplus, in addition to their intrinsic motivation. The more importance open source developers attach to consumer surplus, the more effort they put into developing software features. Even if consumers do not end up adopting the open source product, it can act as a credible threat to the commercial firm, forcing the firm to lower its prices. If the open source developers' intrinsic motivation is high enough, they will develop software regardless of eventual market dynamics. If the open source product is available first, all participants are better off when the commercial and open source products are compatible. However, if the commercial firm can enter the market first, it can increase its profits and gain market share by being incompatible with its open source competitor, even if customers can later switch at zero cost. This first-mover advantage does not arise because users are locked in, but because the commercial firm deploys a divide and conquer strategy to attract early adopters and exploit late adopters. To capitalize on its first-mover advantage, the commercial firm must increase its development investment to improve its product features.
early_adopters  late_adopters  networks  network_effects  free  competitive_advantage  product_launches  open_source  competitive_strategy  customer_adoption  first_movers  locked_in 
january 2013 by jerryking
Degree Of Challenge
May 1, 2003 | American Demographics |Byline: SANDRA YIN

Despite modest individual earnings, college students as a whole represent a multibillion dollar market. The allure for marketers is the opportunity to lock in relationships with the future's more affluent consumers while they are still in school, when they are open to experimenting with products and sharing their opinions with their peers. The first step is to understand college students' attitudes and purchasing behavior. Today, among the most cost-effective media for reaching students on campus is the old college newspaper. At least 72% of college students report having read one of the past five issues. In addition to traditional media, guerrilla marketing, or viral marketing, has proven effective in spurring word of mouth. College students are trendsetters and early adopters who may be a first step to reaching broader market segments. Though marketers may encounter challenges as they build relationships with these young adults before they begin their financial ascent, the trouble may well be worth it.
Colleges_&_Universities  students  challenges  mass_media  guerrilla_marketing  millennials  buying_power  purchase_decisions  locked_in 
july 2012 by jerryking
The Spirit of Enterprise - NYTimes.com
By DAVID BROOKS
December 1, 2011

Nations like Germany and the U.S. are rich primarily because of shared habits, values and social capital....People who work hard and play by the rules should have a fair shot at prosperity. Money should go to people on the basis of merit and enterprise. Self-control should be rewarded while laziness and self-indulgence should not. Community institutions should nurture responsibility and fairness.

This ethos is not an immutable genetic property, which can blithely be taken for granted. It’s a precious social construct, which can be undermined and degraded.

Right now, this ethos is being undermined from all directions. People see lobbyists diverting money on the basis of connections; they see traders making millions off of short-term manipulations; they see governments stealing money from future generations to reward current voters.

The result is a crisis of legitimacy. The game is rigged. Social trust shrivels. Effort is no longer worth it. The prosperity machine winds down....The real lesson from financial crises is that, at the pit of the crisis, you do what you have to do. You bail out the banks. You bail out the weak European governments. But, at the same time, you lock in policies that reinforce the fundamental link between effort and reward. And, as soon as the crisis passes, you move to repair the legitimacy of the system.

That didn’t happen after the American financial crisis of 2008.
bailouts  covenants  David_Brooks  Europe  locked_in  moral_hazards  euro_zone  European_Union  financial_crises  gaming_the_system  laziness  legitimacy  self-control  self-discipline  self-indulgence  self-regulation  social_capital  social_cohesion  social_contract  social_fabric  social_trust  undermining_of_trust  values 
december 2011 by jerryking

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