The Apple Just Doesn’t Taste As Good As It Used To

Month of May

This new week brings us earnings reports from several European and US retailers, as well as further evidence of the challenges that come with our ever-greater reliance on e-commerce, including the possible presence of counterfeit goods on Amazon—no small worry for consumers when deciding to make a purchase—and cyber security challenges for online businesses, whether related to personal or financial data.
Particularly noteworthy was the fact that people have started complaining about customer service in Apple stores, once the spearhead of its traditional retail strategy. That’s just how human beings are: once you have a taste for something, you never want it to change.


Web Smith’s recent experience with his local Apple store in the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio, has been an exercise in frustration. Some time back, he visited the location at Easton Town Center to buy a computer, and spent nearly 20 minutes trying to get an employee to accept his credit card. In January, Smith was buying a monitor and asked them to sell it to him, but the employees could not because they were Apple “geniuses” who handled technical support and not sales.


Beginning this week, creators can tag a product and their fans can purchase it directly from the publication, further strengthening the influencer economy and so-called social e-commerce as the next big trend in online retail commerce.


Amazon’s rapid and aggressive expansion has a downside that can have a direct impact on children. A study by Red Points, the technological solution to online brand protection, reveals that while 90% of parents trust that Amazon is a reliable provider, more than 60% of them have little or no confidence in their own ability to judge whether an online product listed is fake or real.


In Spain, Primark fights the challenge of reduced purchasing better than its competitors, Inditex and H&M. Primark, founded 50 years ago in Dublin, saw its profits shoot up in Spain by 57.6%, to 96.3 million euros in the last exercise, which ended in August, 2018.


Swedish furniture and decor company Ikea will invest around 400 million euros in France over the next three years, coinciding with its strategy to strengthen its physical presence and grow in the downtown areas of cities. “We believe in the French market and continue investing in order to become the leader in the multichannel furniture market”, said the director of Ikea in France, Walter Kadnar.


The appearance of e-commerce has meant a radical change in how people acquire their products. This is a business model that has boosted online shopping because of its ease, but has been unable to get customers to decrease their visits to physical stores.


A report from January of 2018, addressed to the president and the United States Senate Finance Committee, warns that many of Amazon’s products are fakes. The report, published by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), revealed that around 50% of the products acquired through the five largest e-commerce companies are fakes.


China has gone from being the lost link of the large multinationals in the luxury market, to becoming its life-saver. What would become of the industry’s companies without the millions of Chinese millionaires? What would they be without the Chinese purchasing capacity and, especially, without their ability to “convulsively fall in love” and purchase online?


While terms like “unicorns”, “dragons” and “disruption” appear to imply that success in the world of startups is rare and requires uniqueness and perhaps sheer luck of the draw, there are patterns and common characteristics that can be identified. What are they?


It is a headline you may have read a few times: robots will take your jobs away in the future. It is now happening at the online sales giant, Amazon, although not how you might think. The technology news site The Verge discovered that automatization is being used to monitor and fire Amazon employees at its workplaces.


Online shopping is constantly growing, something that can be seen in the physical store sector, which has seen their sales volumes drop. The second “Observatory of eCommerce Habits” prepared by Trusted Shops, the leading seal of quality for online shops in Europe, in collaboration with Webtools, says the same thing.


The president of Inditex, Pablo Isla, has held institutional talks with the mayor of Beijing, Jining Chen, in which the recent culmination of the plan for ecoefficient stores in China was analyzed; China has become the first country in the world to complete this program, which achieves reduced emissions as well as energy savings of up to 30% compared to a traditional store.


Office Depot announced that its total sales recorded for the first quarter fell by 2% year to year, to 2.8 billion dollars, “the result of fewer sales by their CompuCom and Retail divisions”. The retail division’s operating earnings fell to $67 million from $72 million a year ago, because store sales dropped by 4%.


Experiential retail commerce leverages millennials’ preference for attractive experiences as a key element in their shopping, whether in store or online, rather than just shopping for products. However, these experiential elements depend on IoT and other technologies that use open wireless networks, a big security problem.


Amazon brought its Amazon Go store concept to the city of New York on Tuesday, with a twist: this Go store accepts cash. It is the 12th Amazon Go store in the USA, the first in New York, and the first to accept cash. And Amazon plans to begin accepting cash at all other Go stores, as well.


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