Retail Tectonic Shifts and a few Yuks

Retail Tectonic Shifts? Is Mr. Cranky going to talk about what’s happening in Germany? No that’s Teutonic Shifts.  This is the kind of shirt that takes place when the earth’s floating tectonic plates mash together and shake the world. Shit is happening in retail. Some of it good. Most of it bad. In this post, true to form, Mr. Cranky briefly touches on the good but will hammer home the bad effects of retail tectonic shifts.

Amazon – Retail Tectonic Shifts

  • Amazon – The Good: Have a stupid idea in your head and search it on Amazon and there it is… with one click you can buy this stupid product and have it delivered to your home the next day, even delivered on a Sunday for free. By the way, if anyone wants to visit me in my new $25 thousand 20ft/40ft expandable container house With Solar Energy (pictured below), come by and say high to me tomorrow. I’m having it delivered on the corner of WTF and NFW in Downtown McLean VA.
  • Amazon – The Bad: Besides the fact that you can accidentally drunk-order a $25 thousand dollar home there are other issues. More seriously, The power of Amazon is scary. It is nearly impossible to get significant eCommerce retail traction if you don’t sell your product on the Amazon marketplace. Amazon will track your sales and if you are successful, Amazon will offer the same product (if you’re reselling) or a knock-off at a lower price and put you out of business (see this Forbes article). Retailers in effect, paying Amazon to do Amazon’s market research. Amazon is charging companies to teach Amazon how to be their competitor. Amazon is putting large and mom & pop brick and mortar retailers out business. They are forcing people to sell online and then using the sales data they collect from the online experience to put online sellers out of business.

Democratized Retail Tectonic Shifts

Thirty years ago if you had a great idea for a great product, you were dependent on buyers from the large retail stores to bless your product and feature it in their stores. Buyers for the big Retail Chains chose what products we saw in stores. With the internet, that oligopoly was broken. Now if someone has a great idea, they can offer the product directly to the public without requiring the blessing of the buyers from the big-name retailers. This is a boon to innovation and some of it is good. Other’s are just glorified connected liquid Pez dispensers (right Perrelli?).

  • Online Retail – The Good: Best online brands
    • Mattresses – Have you ever been to a mattress store? Mattress sales folks make used car salespeople look like saints. There are many mattresses available online. As an example, Nector is just one of many highly ranked online mattresses.
    • FilterFast – Proprietary filters are expensive, whether it’s for your HVAC, or the refrigerator water filter they cost too much. Online sites like FilterFast supply replacement filters at significant savings.
    • Third Love Bra – I’ve written about this product before and in that post I said:
      • “The Third Love Bra – Now I know you just think I’m angry because they only make overpriced brassieres for women and don’t make mansieres for bros like me. But no, I hate them because I can’t listen to the radio without hearing their advertisements and these ads are annoyingly silly. I’ve woman tested the ridiculous claims on the add (also I realize as I write this that I have no idea if they’re overpriced or not. I know my readers are going to find this difficult to believe but I’ve never purchased a bra).
        • They say, “The first thing a woman takes off is their bra.” Now I’m no rocket scientist but my logic says that 95% of all women take their shirts off before they take off their bras… but that’s just me.
        • I testest “The first thing a woman takes of is their bra” thing in an informal poll with women on the street. The results:
          • Five slapped me and walked away
          • One said, who the hell wears a bra
          • One said, she’d take off anything I want plus take me around the world for $300
          • Three said the first thing they take off is their shoes
          • They say “Shoes have 1/2 sizes why don’t bras?” I’ll tell you why!
            1. Shoes are for feet and feet are made up of  22 rigid bones and 33 joints. You won’t find one of those soft girly mammary glands in a foot! Feet, unlike breasts, are not malleable.
            2. The inhabitants of bras, you know boobs, but not the kind of boobs that make up the US House of Representatives but another type of boob… There are 545 boobs that make up the legislative branch called house representatives. But I’m talking about the kind of boobs that usually come in pairs and that can be found on the 84 female members of Congress which presumably would be somewhere in excess of 150 boobs but don’t quote me on that, my math may be off, because I went to the University of Maryland and not MIT.
            3. Shoes are not adjustable
            4. Bras are adjustable
            5. Most women don’t walk on their boobs. From my limited research, my theorem (which is a much snottier way than saying theory) is that the majority of people walk on their feet placing the entire weight of their bodies on those 22 bones and 33 joints that make up the foot. Shoes need to fit well. Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate boobs and I don’t begrudge a boob from being comfortable and it just may be that the damn Third Love Bra is the best invention since boobs, but I think we can all agree the bra is not the first thing that women take off when they get home and there can be no dispute that boobs are not feet”
      • I was wrong… and surprisingly isn’t the first time. Okay, just now doing research on the web, I see it’s a great bra. But that doesn’t justify the stupid pervasive commercials and the stupid name, why third love? A better name would be 1st love… because it’s 2 better than 3rd, or 2nd love because boobs usually come in pairs. I’m getting very close to the physical stature where I will require a bra… on that day, I’m buying the 1st Love Manzier and no 3rd place Brozier.
  • Online Retail – The Bad: The ideas that would justifiably be rejected by any reputable buyer of a legitimate retail outfit.
    • Carvana – The Automobile Juke Box Vending Machine – Car buying has improved… you can get a fixed price on the internet and go to the dealer to pick the car out… no BS, no dickering, just sign the paper and drive the car. CarMax is a great place to sell or buy a used car. No hassles. So WTF? Who needs to buy a car in a vending machine?
    • Away Suitcases – It’s just a suitcase, an overhyped suitcase with a laundry bag for dirty laundry and a battery for charging your phone and other devices. I prefer a separate battery than a battery that is tied to my suitcase. I’d rather buy the best battery and the best suitcase and not compromise to get the best battery suitcase. What does a battery have to do with a suitcase? If I made a suitcase it would have a built-in mobile phone, a battery, a set of china and silverware for two, a portable toilet, and a wine cooler. Away is a suitcase… just a suitcase with an incredible marketing budget and chintzy. sub-standard, wheels. Here are 11 better suitcases that are great suitcases but crappy phone chargers. I love my Travelpro’s they are light and sturdy.
    • LifeFuels – Jonathon Perrelli’s wannabe company doesn’t have a product… and that’s the best thing you can say about it. They should win best of NO-Show! LifeFuel’s only assets are a bag of wind, a waiting list of people too stupid to understand that when they drank 12 ounces of water they consumed 12 ounces of water. If LifeFuels had customers they are so dumb they need their phone to tell them the 12 ounces of water they just drank out of a 12-ounce bottle was 12 ounces of water. LifeFuels has jumped to the third most frequent cause of death for people under 30 years old. Those people died of dehydration while waiting 5 years for a magic water bottle that never came. If you’re keeping score, JP’s five-year-old goat rodeo has a waiting list, raised $5 million and has no customers, no revenue and no product and a huge team who seemingly do nothing but Yoga all day. They have marketing people marketing nothing that exists, and they have product managers and developers managing no product. Do you know the difference between kindergarten and Lifefuels? Kindergarten has adult supervision.
    • Vitacup – Coffee infused with vitamins… what, no built-in battery? Take a stupid idea like a LifeFuels water bottle and morph it into vitamin infused coffee because who has the time to take the exact vitamins they want and also deal with coffee? At least they have a product and revenue.
    • Kane Socks – The Third Love Bra of socks. They come in exact sizes instead of large, medium, and small. Why shouldn’t socks come in shoe sizes? Everyone I know complains about the sizing of their socks. Well not exactly everyone I know… everyone I know who drinks from a LifeFuels bottle wants socks that are sized just like shoes. I don’t know about you, but I tend to buy socks that are more pliable than my shoes and my bras. Medium is just fine with me (in socks, 38 B cups in bras). By the way, these socks don’t come with a built-in battery nor a built-in laundry bag, but that would be cool. I prefer Bombas… great socks, great service.
    • Trade Coffee – It’s like Tinder for coffee! They ship you coffee and you swipe right if you like it. You still pay for it if you don’t. Maybe it’s more like the Netflix of coffee without the streaming. Unless you count how the coffee exits the body. I’ve tried it… it’s just coffee… about 20% more expensive than other premium brands you can buy in a store. Go Peet’s!

Do you have any online products you love or choose to ridicule?