Tag Archives: shopping

Uber ~ It’s Not Just for People Anymore

In case you haven’t noticed, Uber isn’t just for people ride-sharing anymore. It has expanded its service to include delivering and returning packages for shipment. Uber’s new “Return a Package” feature adds on to “Uber Connect” by picking up online returns and delivering them to predetermined shipping points (e.g., UPS, USPS, FedEx) for a fixed fee.

It can be a pain to return something. And we bet you have something in your house that you bought online and want to return, but just haven’t gotten around to it. (No shame.) After the box is packed, we have to get in the car (perhaps calling an Uber for a ride?) or on a bus and travel to a return spot such as the U.S. Post Office, FedEx, or UPS. (And doesn’t it always seem as if the line gets longer just before you enter…)

Returning packages bought online is a growing practice in the U.S. According to the National Retail Federation, online customers last year returned 16.5%, more than $212 billion worth of purchases! Many of those purchases will be rejected by consumers and need to be returned for a credit.

So, Uber is now making it easier to return those online purchases. Using the Uber app, you can schedule a pick-up and delivery for a flat $5.00 fee. A courier will pick up your prepaid, packaged item and drop it off at a predetermined destination. The service is available in more than 4,950 cities in the U.S.

Uber isn’t the only company trying to cash in on a growing practice. DoorDash began a similar service in January, and Walmart offers at-home return pickups for subscribers in its Walmart+ membership program.

What are you going to return?

 Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: Who has used Uber’s ride services?
  2. Poll students: What are the issues involved when they need to return a purchase via shipping? Does anyone have something that they haven’t gotten around to returning yet?
  3. Show a video about the new service: https://youtu.be/sp_2GR2j7i4?si=Ou_6TVKONN9SCdQ6
  4. Show the news release from Uber: https://www.uber.com/newsroom/uber-package-returns/
  5. Poll students: Who would use this service? Why or why not?
  6. Divide students into team. Have each team work on a possible SWOT analysis that led Uber to its decision to launch the new service.
    1. Strengths: what is company good at?
    1. Weaknesses: what needs work?
    1. Opportunities: what is going on in marketplace?
    1. Threats: what should company be wary of?
  7. Based on the analysis, what are the issues and risks that might occur?

Source: Durbin, Dee-Ann. (10 October, 2023). Uber adding package return to services in 5,000 cities. Associated Press.; Lukpat, A. (4 October 2023). Uber introduces package return service. Wall Street Journal.

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“Mom” to the rescue!

What do college students do when they are far from home and need some help – or even just a hug and a home-cooked meal?  Well, if your own mother can’t be there, the next best thing just might be a remote “concierge” mom-for-hire. Yes, there are now concierge services developed specifically to help college students.

Priced at $450 a year, plus delivery fees, concierge moms perform some of the duties a local mom might help with performing. Some of the tasks could be transportation, company at doctor’s visits, grocery shopping, legal help, apartment hunting, and even giving gifts.

Another Mom concierge service based in Boston charges a lot more – up to $10,000 for an academic year and caps the number of students at 30. The service began largely to help foreign students at boarding schools in Boston, but now has expanded to helping college students. Each student has access to as many as five “second moms” who can help with classes, tutoring, and more.

Another type of service is Daisy Bug Delivery in Tampa which accepts deliveries for students, and then hand delivers packages to the right place. Students ship everything from bedding, to minifridges, to laundry carts, furniture, and more. Since June, the service has worked with more than 250 students on shipments and deliveries.

Who will you call?

 Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: Has anyone had experiences with concierge services?
  2. Who wished they had this service?
  3. View website for Concierge Services: https://www.bostoncss.com/
  4. View website for Campus Concierge: https://campusconciergeservice.com/
  5. Divide students into teams.
  6. Have each team brainstorm a concierge-type of services.
  7. Define the target market, services, prices, and promotion for the service.

Source: Weiss, T. (19 September 2023). A mother’s love – a bargain at $450 per year, plus applicable fees. Wall Street Journal.

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H&M Adds Home and Beauty Products and Stores   

Once a high-flyer in the area of fast fashion, H&M has come under increasing pressure from China’s Shein and other retailers. Swedish company H&M sales growth has stalled in recent years, forcing the company to examine its strategy and product mix. The company’s revenue in 2022 is relatively unchanged from revenue six years ago. Not good news.  

To counter this revenue decline, the global retailer is now expanding beyond its core fashion business and into new areas of home and beauty products. Although H&M has had to close some of its fashion stores, it is now adding new, stand-alone stores focused on beauty and home products.  

There are now 32 H&M Home-branded stores that sell products from sofas to linens to kitchen products. The company has also added homeware sections to 399 of its regular stores as well as on the its website.  

The company has also opened two flagship H&M Beauty-branded stores in Norway, selling products such as nail polish, body wash, makeup, and razors. Some of the products are also sold in regular H&M stores and online.  

And, in yet another move, H&M has also added other brands to its stores and now offers more than 70 other brands. In addition, H&M has grown its own private-label brands, which have sold at double the rate of the overall company.   Why the changes? According to H&M, “we see that customers spend more time with us if we offer a broader range of products.”   Shall we check it out?      

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the four primary marketing strategies: Market penetration, market development, product development, and diversification.
  2. Poll students: Who has shopped at H&M? What have they purchased?
  3. Which strategy is H&M employing for the new stores? For the new product lines?
  4. Divide students into teams. Have each team select one of the four primary strategies for H&M and develop a marketing mix for it.
  5. View H&M website: https://www2.hm.com/en_us/index.html
  6. View H&M home products website: https://www2.hm.com/en_gb/home.html
  7. And H&M beauty products website: https://www2.hm.com/en_us/beauty.html

Source: Moss, T. (15 July 2023). H&M now wants to sell you makeup, sofas, and crocs. Wall Street Journal.

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