The Amazon Effect, The Retail Tsunami Has Finally Arrived

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Huntn, Apr 19, 2017.

  1. Huntn macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #1
    A retail bubble over the last three decades in combination with growing online sales, many malls are now on the skids. Interesting challenge for the government of any developed country dealing with large scale job loss.

    The Silent Crisis of Retail Employment

    Brick-and-mortar retail is having a meltdown, and economists are starting to see the effects in the job market.

    Overall retail employment has fallen every month this year. Department stores, including Macy’s and JC Penney, have shed nearly 100,000 jobs since October—more than the total number of coal miners or steel workers currently employed in the U.S. Even America’s richest areas are getting hit: Employment in New York City clothing stores has fallen three years in a row, the longest period of decline on record, going back to the early 1990s
    .
     
  2. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #2
    Bound to happen. It's another example of automation's effect on employment.

    Next step, robot "pickers."
     
  3. statik13 macrumors regular

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    #3
    Hardly a surprise.

    We're just on the cusp of robotics and AIs replacing people's jobs across nearly every service industry. Combine that with people's acceptance of self-service models and I'm willing to bet that by 2030 you'll see a third of the careers we have today become obsolete.
     
  4. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

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    #4
    The problem is if we kill off all the jobs through robots then the companies using the robots will go bankrupt because there is nobody that can afford their set.
     
  5. SusanK macrumors 68000

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    #5
    Devil's advocate here. There may be other reason people shop online as opposed to the local mall.

    The mall closest to my home is mainly high end upscale retailers. I seldom visit. A few years ago they could have sent my mail there. Now I prefer not to waste my time.

    The only reason I stop there now is for the occasional Godiva purchase. I was there a few days before Valentine Day. Formerly I went to a branch bank there to renew retirement CD's. It was torture. The staff was not particularly helpful. The wait was endless. I was the only customer in the house. Eventually some crackpot agreed to help me. She had me at her desk for over an hour trying to force me to make an appointment with the get-rich-guy who sell investments out of the trunk of his car. The woman was batsheet. I was so relieved to finally get out.

    Needed to renew one of the CDs last week. I went to a freestanding branch. The teller was professional. I was out the door in less than 15 minutes including the wait for my turn.

    I have a Louie bag that needs a zipper replaced. I'll drop that off on my next Godiva run.

    I used the Dillards there for a treatment product until May of 2016. There is never anyone at that counter. You wait in an almost ghost town cosmetics department for someone to finally stop doing nothing and come over to you. The greeting is "I don't work at this counter". I bite my tongue to saying avoid you don't work period.

    The person does not know where the products are. I walk around the counter and locate it. Employee insists that is not the product I have been using for the last 20+ years. Eventually, in most cases the product is bagged and sale rung up. I am finally free to go.

    Last spring that was not the case. I was told to place an order for the product clearly visible from the customer side of the counter. I provided my name and phone number for the "manager" to call me on the next day she was in. Clerk insisted that I also provide on this blank sheet of white paper my cc info and home address. I refused.

    Manager never call me. A few days later I called, spoke to manager and placed the order. Product arrived 2 weeks later. Same item I was looking at when I was in Dillards.

    June 2016 I saw an unauthorized charge on my cc account online. I phoned the issuer and the matter was referred to the fraud department. I got a call from Dillards manager's secretary. She claimed I placed the order and they filled it. Scolded me for contacting cc issuer. Eventually the package arrived at my door. I notified CC issuer. The tone changed at Discover. Suddenly I was the scammer! I returned the package to Dillards. Cosmetic counter manager yelled loudly at me as I walked to the customer service area for the return. She insisted that I ordered the stuff.

    Discover in the sock drawer. Dillard's history. Disco was worse than the hustling cosmetic counter manager IMHO. I did advise the fraud department at Disco that if I had actually placed an order I would not have used a 1% cash back card. I have others with higher rewards structures. That finally made sense to them. The legitimate order I placed a few months prior was during Disco's 5% quarter.

    Last fall/winter there were two carjacking at that mall. Two weeks ago a drug buy in the parking lot went wrong resulting in a non-fatal shooting. Nothing at that mall worth dying for. The store employees are not responsible for parking lot security of course.

    There is definitely something wrong when a customer presents and is treated as furniture while staffers help each other do nothing.

    Manager keeping a customers cc info to generate fraudulent at a later date orders to make the month. Not cool.

    Those are not the only poor customer service incidents but they were the last. I give up. I can buy any of those items online.

    Please hold your fire on the poor employees not paid enough to wait on customers. Showing up is more than enough. Balderdash!
     
  6. vrDrew macrumors 65816

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    #6
    A great article on this topic, courtesy of The Atlantic

    [​IMG]

    Above is a statistic I found truly amazing.

    For every American (man, woman, child) there are almost 24 square feet of retail space. In Britain - once known as a "nation of shopkeepers" there are about four and half. Germany has less than three.

    People in Britain, France, and Germany might buy slightly less stuff in local stores. But Germans and Brits don't eat a quarter the amount of food that Americans do. They don't wear a fifth as many clothes.

    The United States is blessed (or cursed) with an abundance of open spaces. We've filled a lot of it up with strip malls, big box stores, and parking lots. We've filled those stores with poorly paid, totally un-benefited jobs. People who provide shoppers with a level of convenience and customer service that they neither need nor deserve.

    Time indeed for a shakeout.
     
  7. Raid macrumors 68020

    Raid

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    #7
    @Huntn *Tsunami* ;)

    The traditional shopping market is evolving rapidly. Commerce has been done in physical locations probably since before the written word, and only in the last couple of decades has the 'shop from home/anywhere' really taken a big bite out of the traditional retail markets (I'm not ignoring the Sears catalog :) ) . Not only is it about customer convenience, it's also about reducing fixed cost of the retailers/wholesalers. Traditional bricks and mortar shops may remain in a few select areas, (I'm thinking grocery, specialty shops, and clothing to a lesser extent) as quality and fit may need physical interaction with the goods before making the purchase, but as for appliances, furniture, and other household goods it might be easier to trust reviews online and make the purchase that way.
     
  8. steve knight macrumors 68020

    steve knight

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    #8
    I don't mind buying locally but sometimes they just don't have what I need as I buy odd things. or it is a pain to carry the things on the bus. I bought two toilets on amazon and they were dropped right in front of my door. getting them home from home depot would be a real pain.
     
  9. samcraig macrumors P6

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    Jun 22, 2009
    #9
    I wonder how much the decline in shopping in physical stores is tied to poorer customer service in brick and mortar and if that's creating an endless cycle of decline for both.

    Also - people have moved into full on instant gratification mode. Which you think would lead to more sales in stores. But because of the above - easier to search/click than to engage.
     
  10. cardfan macrumors 65816

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    #10
    To keep it Apple related, most of their stores are in malls. I hardly visit malls anymore. I'm sure there's a conclusion there somewhere..lol
     
  11. kobalap macrumors 6502

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    #11
    Good thing we elected a president with traditional values. One who understands that real Americans work in those brick and mortar stores. One who is willing to bring back traditional jobs such as coal mining, low tech manufacturing and brick and mortar retailing. Clearly this is the fault of career politicians who, for too long, have done nothing the protect the traditional brick and mortar retailers from the new age, progressive, technology driven online retailers.

    Let's make America great again.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 19, 2017 ---
    The problem is, eventually, we need to realize that buggy whips are no longer in demand. Crying about the loss of jobs for making buggy whips will not make buggy whips more important in people's lives. Especially since, you know, none of use horse drawn carriages anymore.

    We need to train ourselves for the jobs of today and tomorrow, not the jobs of yesterday.
     
  12. bradl, Apr 19, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2017

    bradl macrumors 68040

    bradl

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    #12
    It was either Marketplace Weekend or Freakonomics Radio just this past weekend that did a story on this, and described in detail this very exact thing. There were more parking spaces per person in the US currently (I want to say the ratio they used was 3:1 - 3 parking spaces per each person). That's a LOT of empty space, and that is including cities with limited space (read: NYC).

    In short, we have an overabundance (and that's putting it nicely; glut the size of an elephant's arse would be more like it) of parking spaces, let alone buildings for strip malls and shopping malls in this country. That overabundance leads to a willing to be a bit lazy and realizing that you'll have parking at a mall to buy what you need, so there is no sense of urgency. Add in the fact that one can be even lazier and have a company ship it to you for little to no cost, and we have the situation we are in.

    to contrast that to somewhere like Canada or Australia, where they have no-where near that amount of space available, let alone the space for parking, they aren't seeing as much of a decline. Granted, they also have other means than driving to get to those malls and shops, so they aren't as dependent on cars as we are, but the lack of abundance of (shopping, strip, outdoor) malls does help to create that sense of urgency that brings with it the sale, and keeps the jobs at those places steady.

    EDIT: Yep.. it was Freakonomics.

    http://freakonomics.com/podcast/parking-is-hell-a-new-freakonomics-radio-podcast/

    BL.
     
  13. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

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    #13
    But what job are replacing the lost retail jobs?
     
  14. Raid macrumors 68020

    Raid

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    #14
    I hear fox news is looking for a new talking head... :)
     
  15. juanm, Apr 19, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2017

    juanm macrumors 65816

    juanm

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    #15
    Yes.... but no. As soon as a country is developed enough to reach the point of not being profitable like you mention, large companies will move on to sell to others less developed countries. Companies don't care whether the money comes from the US, Europe, or Indonesia, and they can open new branches as they see fit. People cannot move like that.

    Capitalism in its current state –as a goal instead of a means of development– is a winner-takes-all game and we're starting to see its results. First world citizens are now beginning to realise what they were all along: disposable consumers.
     
  16. Mousse macrumors 68000

    Mousse

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    #16
    Kurt Vonnegut foresaw this half a century ago in his prophetic book, The Player Piano (the book that got me interested in his works). There will still be managers and engineers who run those factories who can afford stuff. The poor will be conscripted into the military to die overseas in WWIII.

     
  17. MadeTheSwitch macrumors 6502a

    MadeTheSwitch

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    #17
    I would never ever buy either appliances nor furniture online. I need to see what those things look like in person before I buy and put in my house. Just like I need to see the house itself in person too. Or a car. Or even clothing. Buying online works for certain things, but for a large number of items, it just doesn't for me and I much prefer to go to a brick and mortar retailer.

    They get impulse purchases out of me that way too. Many times I have walked buy and bought a graphic t or some other clothing item. I just don't impulse shop online at all. As in never ever. Online is shopping with a specific purpose for me.
     
  18. juanm macrumors 65816

    juanm

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    #18
    Hey, here's another idea: let's bring back steam engines!

    Some things are outdated: coal is the best example. To put it in the same sentence as "We need to train ourselves for the jobs of today and tomorrow, not the jobs of yesterday." tells me you're in denial or severely misinformed.
     
  19. smallcoffee macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    I think that quote was in reference to Belgium, not Britain.

    But yes, malls are incredibly inefficient and a poor use of resources - same with most retail stores.

    Ultimately we're going to see a lot of them replaced and I think that's a good thing for the economy. Imagine if all the people driving to and from, then walking around making a mess in Walmart (or pick your poison here) just had a mobile Walmart with all the goods they would want to buy come around and drop them off everyday? You replace hundreds of cars and wasted time/trips/fuel with just a few vehicles and people. It's a superior solution.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 19, 2017 ---
    This is a good thing. Consumerism is bad.
     
  20. Raid macrumors 68020

    Raid

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    #20
    I guess this is where retailers will have to decide a balance. Perhaps show-case stores will smaller retail space and foot prints so you can physically interact with the goods will happen soon. I didn't talk about houses or cars because yeah you got to check them out, but I think you'll agree that online searching certainly helps narrow down the field in both those markets too.
     
  21. oneMadRssn macrumors 68040

    oneMadRssn

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    #21
    Around where I live, I've noticed newer malls are being built with a different kind of anchor tenant, or old malls being renovated around a different kind of anchor tenant. In general, the makeup of malls around here is changing.

    It seems grocery stores are the new anchor tenants to have. Wegmans and Whole Foods are now being built where there used to be a Macy's or similar.

    In general, it seems grocery, restaurants, and health/beauty service companies are taking up the retail space left by retail shops.

    This makes sense to me. While you can buy dry or canned food online, you can't buy fresh produce, meat, or dairy online very well. Nor can you buy a good dining experience on Amazon. Nor can you buy a haircut, manicure, massage, physical therapy, chiropractor, spa, etc. on Amazon either.

    I'm ok with this overall.
     
  22. tshrimp macrumors 6502

    tshrimp

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    #22
    This is one of the reasons I shop online. Most retail shops treat the customer like garbage, and when shopping online we don't have to put up with that as much. And when I do find a retail shop that gives good customer service then I tend to shop there much more often. The Best Buy Lowes, and Microcenter in my area are great. Friendly with no hassle returns, so I do go to them when I can. Everything else...online.
     
  23. MadeTheSwitch macrumors 6502a

    MadeTheSwitch

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    #23
    Hey why not, after all our "armada" is "steaming" towards North Korea.....eventuallly. After it turns around. :D

    Oh absolutely. I bought my house pre internet and it was such a pain finding the right one. Took literally over a year. And ironically the right choice ended up being built on a plot of land right across the street from where I was already living at the time. Go figure.

    With cars I am a voracious researcher. The internet has helped that considerably. I used to use magazines. But that still hasn't elimated the problem of car companies never ever giving me exactly what I want. I hate being forced into "trims" that always involve some sort of tradeoff that I don't like.
     
  24. bradl macrumors 68040

    bradl

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    #24
    Seeing this over here in CA as well. In fact, on a busy day, there's an outdoor-type mall across the street from a traditional mall here in Sacramento, where Whole Foods is the anchor store. Other specialty shops and restaurants have actually built around it, and in looking at it, they appear busier (due to the less amount of space and parking space) than the big mall across the street from it (and funnily enough, the Apple store is is in that mall).

    Another mall here in town, which has seen better days (I have never stepped foot in it), loast both anchor stores, one of which was Macy's, and the Macy's furniture store. Another retailer (Gottschalk's, IIRC) was the other anchor. Gottschalk's went completely out of business, Macy's shut down, and the last original store in that mall (Hallmark) just closed after being there for 50 years. the big anchor, which just moved in the former Gottschalk's spot, is a major west-coast grocery store chain, and they are going head-to-head against Walmart, which is across the street.

    Let's face it, the make-up and attendance of the shopping mall has changed, and let's put it right to the point: it's all due to the fault of the mall operators putting an end to the video arcade. ;)

    BL.
     

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