Tag Archives: distribution

Amazon Drones get U.S. Approval for Delivering Packages

Drones seem to be ready to take over the skies, but are they really ready for prime time? Can they deliver the goods? And how does this change delivery services around the globe? We may soon find out the answers to some of those questions.

Amazon is the latest company to receive FAA approval to operate a fleet of delivery drones. The approval gives Amazon Prime Air broad privileges to “safely and efficiently deliver packages to customers.” Amazon will test its drones with the goal of achieving 30-minute deliveries for packages of up to five pounds within a 15-mile radius of a warehouse. The company has been working on using drones for deliveries since 2013, continually innovating the drone models. The FAA approval gives Amazon permission to operate a fleet and is not tied to a specific model of drone.

Amazon isn’t the only game in town though. Last April, Wing (owned by Alphabet) received FAA approval for commercial deliveries. UPS also received approval to operate a fleet of drones as an airline last year. However, in all these cases, widespread use is likely still years in the future as the FAA needs to establish new, automated air-traffic systems as drone operations will exceed what human air controllers can handle.

Ready for your drone delivery?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Review key aspects of developing a product positioning map, including determining the axis labels for positioning.
  2. Show Amazon drone video: https://youtu.be/3HJtmx5f1Fc
  3. Optional: Here is an older version of the Amazon drone model: https://youtu.be/MR9PoBAssw0
  4. Show competing drone services:
  1. Discuss which industries and services will be most impacted by drones. Why these?
  2. Will drones benefit consumers? How?
  3. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a positioning map for drone delivery services. What will be most important to consumers?

Sources: Associated Press; CNBC; New York Times; Wall Street Journal; other news sources

 

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Walmart Launches Walmart+ Membership

Walmart has announced a new service called Walmart+, an annual membership service which will give shoppers free delivery of groceries and other products. Walmart+ will cost $98/year and offers free delivery of food and other items from nearby stores “as fast as same-day.” However, shipping is free only is orders are at least $35.

Walmart stores carry about 160,000 items which qualify for free shipping. And, when the online store is added, Walmart offers roughly 35 million products. Other Walmart+ perks are expected to expand to a gas discount at Walmart gas stations and the ability to skip checkout lines in stores by paying by mobile phones.

Will this be a significant rival to Amazon Prime? Amazon Prime has been around since 2005 and already has an estimated 150 million subscribers around the world. Prime is definitely an attraction for shoppers and Amazon offers not only free shipping, but free videos, original entertainment content, music, books, and more. It has certainly been a reason why Amazon has grown to a dominant ecommerce market position. Amazon carries more than 12 million products, and when that is expanded to its Amazon Marketplace sellers, reaches 350 million products.

Where will you shop?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: Who has Amazon Prime? Who shops online from Walmart?
  2. Show video: Video: https://youtu.be/U1p1RDxhvps
  3. Divide students into teams. Have each team compare the attributes of Amazon Prime and Walmart+. (Can include: price, services, products, shipping, and more.)
  4. Next, have each team build a chart comparing the strengths and weaknesses of each company.
  5. Optional: Include Target in the analysis, even though it does not (yet) have a membership service.
  6. Should Target also offer a membership service similar to Prime and Walmart+?

Source:  Associated Press; New York Times; Wall Street Journal; other news sources

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Meal Kits Rebound

Meal kits have been around for a number of years. When they first launched, the novelty and ease of use quickly drove the subscriptions up. But sales plateaued as competitors proliferated and differentiation between companies was missing. After all, how many meal subscriptions does a household need? The cost of the first sale was high, and competitors all seemed to be trying to reach the same target market. Growth stalled.

But, the coronavirus pandemic is changing the dynamics of the market once again. With more people staying at home, restaurants closed, and fear of the virus in crowded places such as supermarkets, meal kits are primed for a resurgence. According to Nielsen Research, consumer spending on meal kits in April of this year is nearly double the level from the same period a year ago.

Restaurants also are getting in on the action with Panera Break readying a launch of its own make-your-own salad and sandwich kits. It is being joined by other dining chains such as Denny’s, Chick-fil-A, Shake Shack, and others. Doing an Internet search for “meal subscription boxes” brings up dozens of options for meal and snack subscriptions!

Environmental conditions have a big impact.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the importance of environmental scanning in marketing.
  2. What are the environmental factors that are impacting the meal kit industry?
  3. How can meal kit companies use this information to retain and grow their customer base?
  4. Divide students into team. Have each team research one of the following meal kit companies, or another of their choosing:

Hello Fresh: https://www.hellofresh.com/

Home Chef: https://www.homechef.com/

Sun Basket: https://sunbasket.com/

Blue Apron: https://www.blueapron.com/

Freshly: https://www.freshly.com/

  1. How are these companies different? How are they similar? What is the value offered by each company?
  2. Have students build a SWOT analysis chart for the company.

Source: Wall Street Journal; other news sources

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