Tag Archives: shopping

A Retail Chain for Covid-19 Essential Products

Covid-19 has drastically impacted virtually every part of our lives from school to shopping. It has had a devastating impact on businesses, particularly retailers. The coronavirus outbreak caused the majority of retail businesses across the nation (and world) to temporarily close for several months. It has also caused the bankruptcy filings of 27 retailers so far in 2020, including big brands such as Lord & Taylor, Brooks Brothers, Lucky Brand, GNC, J. Crew, and J.C. Penney. Thousands of retail stores have already shut down, with many more to come later in 2020.

But for one new retail chain, the coronavirus caused them to open a new business – selling Covid-19 essential products in malls and downtowns. The store is actually called “Covid-19 Essentials” so there is no doubt as to its business focus and clientele. The chain has several locations in Denver, Miami, New York, New Jersey, Nevada, and Pennsylvania, and has plans to open in smoke-thick California.

The stores sell face shields, personalized masks, portable UV lights, air purifiers, cellphone sterilizers, thermal facial recognition devices, and even a hygienic toilet seat. To enter the store, customers check their temperature with a digital forehead scanner. A sink near the entrance allows customers to wash their hands before handling products.

Now this sounds like a safe place to shop.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the impacts of Covid-19 on retail.
  2. Have students list all the businesses that have had to adapt in some way and businesses that closed.
  3. How have retail stores adjusted to Covid-19 in their midst?
  4. Show video of Covid-19 Essentials store: https://youtu.be/5idLkCNaB6o
  5. Show the web site for the New York store: https://www.cv19essential.com/
  6. Divide students into groups. Have each group review the website, products, and prices.
  7. Discuss the long-term viability of this store.

Source:  New York Times; Retail Dive

 

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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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Smart Shopping Cart – Amazon’s Dash Cart

Raise your hand if you get irritated by long lines at the supermarket checkout. Go ahead – don’t be shy! It would be very rare indeed if all shopping experiences were trouble-free. A major annoyance of shoppers is the checkout process. It should be simple and fast.

In a move intended to shake up the grocery industry, Amazon’s new Dash Carts calculate and pay the bill – meaning no need to stand in any kind of check-out line. The Dash Carts have embedded cameras, sensors, a built-in scale, and a smart display that will automatically tally the items. The smart carts will be available later this year at a planned Amazon grocery store in Los Angeles. The technology is similar to that used at Amazon Go stores with their “Just Walk Out” cashier-less technology.

The carts are easy to use and require little change in shopper behavior. Shoppers use their Amazon account information and smart phone. After entering the store, the shopper scans a QR code in the Amazon app that signs them into the cart and even loads up stored shopping lists from Alexa. The technology speeds up shopping, eliminates checkout and aims to improve the overall shopping experience.

Shop. Exit. Simple.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. This product vividly reminds us of the famous IDEO shopping cart redesign. That video can be found at: https://youtu.be/izjhx17NuSE
  2. The original design was from 1999. Why do students think it never caught on?
  3. Show video of Amazon’s new Dash Cart: https://youtu.be/rQO9u6-KOJk
  4. What are the features similar to the IDEO redesign? Why is this design possible for today’s consumers?
  5. Discuss the purchasing process and the problems with having consumers use new innovation.
  6. Poll students: Is the Dash cart continuous innovation, dynamic innovation, or discontinuous innovation. Why?

Source:  CNET: CNN; Forbes; IMPO; TechCrunch; other news sources

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