Amazon has radically transformed small businesses in both the U.S. and Chinasemafor.com
ChuckMcM 11 days ago [-]
Interesting that this "transformation" is pretty close to what Sun and other dot com infrastructure sellers were promising in 1998. They phrased it as "take your small town business and give it a world wide footprint" but it is the same. They missed the "we'll take 1/3 of your price too" part :-).

That, in itself, is just curious. But the interesting lesson here is that the real thing has not been "web presence" or world wide visibility, it was Amazon has built a pretty impressive logistics setup for moving stuff from vendors to users. It rivals what Sears & Roebuck did in the 60's and 70's. THAT seems to be the missing piece which one might call "logistics as a service."

It makes me wonder why Aliexpress doesn't have more warehouses in the US. Clearly there are a number of Amazon vendors who buy from factories advertising on AE and then drop ship to Amazon, and sell at a markup that covers Amazon's take and gives them a profit. So basically Amazon is taking a big piece of the "value chain" from factory to customer. If you can run a distributed logistics operation at 20% or even 15% of the market value of the goods your distributing, you can under cut Amazon.

Given that Walmart already has relationships with freight forwarders from China and a bunch of brick and mortar stores that could double as warehouses, I wonder if they have considered this as a "side hustle."

Considering that this hinges on the cost of operations for the logistics service the interest in logistic based robotics is quite understandable.

wombat_trouble 11 days ago [-]
> It makes me wonder why Aliexpress doesn't have more warehouses in the US

My guess would be liability. A lot of what's sold on Aliexpress is... questionable. Fakes, products that are patently unsafe or don't meet US regulations, fraudulent specs, etc.

What's happening right now is basically a bit of a laundering operation where small "front" businesses in the US, often registered to residential addresses, import small chunks of the inventory, collect markup, and resell it domestically on Amazon, eBay, Etsy, walmart.com marketplace, or whatnot.

And if their USB chargers keep catching fire or a big brand gets uppity about trademark infringement, the retailer disappears, and a new one pops up. Amazon gets some flak in the media every now and then, but they are several steps removed from the phenomenon.

If you had a Chinese megacorp with a large US footprint, they would likely soon find themselves in hot water with all kinds of regulatory agencies. Partly because there would be a single party with gobs of money to go after, and partly because of anti-China sentiments.

wkat4242 11 days ago [-]
Yes my neighbor is one of those resellers. He's had several shipments from Alibaba vendors intercepted by customs for non-compliance.

If Aliexpress would do this, they themselves would be liable. Here in Spain that do have stores but they have a highly curated inventory.

saurik 9 days ago [-]
> My guess would be liability. A lot of what's sold on Aliexpress is... questionable. Fakes, products that are patently unsafe or don't meet US regulations, fraudulent specs, etc.

I wonder how much further Amazon can go in this direction before it runs into the same problem?

ge96 11 days ago [-]
Here's a 60TB external usb hard drive for $60!
lazyeye 11 days ago [-]
And the obvious side-effect which nobody really wants to talk about is the destruction of the manufacturing industry in the US and the off-shoring of jobs to China.

This is why it's so galling to see people in Silicon Valley moaning about the recent round of IT retrenchments. The f*king nerve of them.

rybosome 11 days ago [-]
Your bitterness is misplaced.

Tech companies didn’t cause offshoring of US manufacturing. That’s been a long running trend since the 70’s across business sectors.

Not to mention that generally it’s executives at the companies who made the decisions leading to offshoring, and executives aren’t the ones losing their jobs.

Tech workers are grossly overpaid, but even so at the end of the day they’re still working class.

tcmart14 11 days ago [-]
Its the people at the very top of the corporate ladder who makes the calls to offshore. Always good to keep in mind when these same companies bitch and moan about China but are also the same ones who chose to offshore to China. China is, from my understanding, upfront with what they want out of the deal, so there isn't any actual, "well we didn't know so don't blame us." Nah, China told them upfront what those offshoring deals meant.
kaushikc 10 days ago [-]
The government's you guys "democratically elected" cause pain to the working classes and did everything that the wealthy and asset owning classes dreamed of. What is the point of democracy if there is no democracy at the workplace itself ? Most workplaces are top down central command authoritarian structures and that is what we all have to face day to day, everyday.
inglor_cz 10 days ago [-]
"What is the point of democracy if there is no democracy at the workplace itself?"

Do you mean this seriously? Corporations come and go all the time, and if they make a catastrophic decision, usually the worst possible outcome is bankruptcy, not war.

Yes, there is a tiny amount of "too big to fail" corporations whose characteristics are closer to a state than to a private organization, but compared to the government, any single corporation has negligible influence on your life.

Modern governments have enormous powers.

tcmart14 10 days ago [-]
I would say it depends. Technology has actually pushed this quiet a bit. A small tech company whose tech you rely on today could make a decision that is catastrophic to you as much as the government. Think of like a password manager, a tech company that sells you an IOT device that you have in your home with poor security. Technology has made this a game change where even a sole proprietorship could do this. But this is more of a side effect of tech and how cheap and accessible tech has become. That isn't to say tech is bad, but it has trade offs like all things do. You can make a product that thousands of people use and become self employed by just developing a simple app that you sell in a playstore. It has never been possible for a single person to develop a product and it have the capability to be distributed and used by such a large group of people. Sure, it may not launch a war, but it could still lead to catastrophic outcomes to you as an individual. You don't need to be a behemoth anymore to cause serious impact. It may not cause a war, but it could lead to someone draining out your bank account.
Archipelagia 10 days ago [-]
I think there's a massive scale blindness here.

Like, obviously I'd be in a big trouble if my password manager suddenly put all of my data online and it could lead to massive financial damage.

At the same time, there are governments that literally have the power to kill their citizens (or citizens of nearby countries). At least LastPass can't declare a war upon me.

inglor_cz 9 days ago [-]
"it could still lead to catastrophic outcomes to you as an individual"

True, but an individual is vulnerable almost by definition. A schizophrenic neighbor may decide that you are an alien in human skin and kill you. (I have a friend who barely survived precisely such encounter, being shot no less than 9 times from a CZ75. I have seen the (healed) entry wounds, that guy was extremely lucky.)

Nevertheless it takes a government to ruin lives of an entire nation.

blacksmith_tb 10 days ago [-]
Hear, hear! Though it's probably reasonable to distinguish between representative democracy, which we're all familiar with, and direct democracy, which is satisfying but hard to scale beyond small groups. I would say that our autocratic workplaces were not designed to plunge workers into misery, that's just a side effect of making all that money. Worth shining some light on, since the basic underlying principles of capitalism are supposedly benefiting everyone (just not very equally...). Unfortunately it's hard to run any experiments with alternatives, though there are coops and workers' collectives.
11 days ago [-]
astrange 11 days ago [-]
US manufacturing output is up, though, just not jobs. That's generally good, just like it's good we aren't all subsistence farmers anymore. US unemployment is of course currently the lowest it's been in 50 years.

China got low-value-add final assembly work, and it's now starting to leave them as their wages have risen.

lazyeye 11 days ago [-]
Up relative to what?
astrange 11 days ago [-]
Itself in the past measured in real dollars.
georgeplusplus 11 days ago [-]
Looking at what time periods?
wardedVibe 11 days ago [-]
As long as there's Fred data, so 2005 [0].

[0]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manufacturing_in_the_United_St...

throwawayytr 11 days ago [-]
Exactly. These are the ones who gave us ads most of which are outright scams.
kneebonian 11 days ago [-]
To be honest maybe I am just old but it seems like every argument and quibble people have been having over Amazon is the exact same arguments I saw back in the early 2000's the only difference is the company was Wal-Mart instead of Amazon.
zaphod12 11 days ago [-]
There is one single really key difference. Walmart takes responsibility for the products they put in their store. That they are genuine and represented as they are. They squeezed sellers, encouraged moves to china and all of that, but they aren't a marketplace - they are a store. Amazon has abrogated all responsibility in that area and pretended they are the equivalent of the open field on which a flea market is set up.
phil21 11 days ago [-]
> Walmart takes responsibility for the products they put in their store.

Amazon also did this for it's physical stores. Walmart does not do this for it's web presence - it has a third party marketplace you need to actively avoid.

I have both Prime and Walmart+ due to credit card benefits, and honestly don't see a huge difference in either experiences. Amazon is more spammy but faster shipping, Walmart less selection and slower but more reliable shipping. Walmart is more curated, but you still need to ignore the third party crap.

rkagerer 11 days ago [-]
Walmart third-party is a dumpster fire. Every single thing I ordered through it here in Canada arrived late or not at all, replacement orders sometimes arrived eventually, products were often damaged (a jug of glasses cleaner was leaking right through a soaked outer shipping box), vendors take zero responsibility, and it took multiple calls/emails/delays to get refunds from Walmart.

I avoid it like the plague. I don't even use their website because it's hard to consistently filter that crap out. And their site wasn't great to start off with in any case. Good riddens.

rascul 11 days ago [-]
Doesn't setting the retailer to Walmart filter the third part stuff out? Or am I missing something?
rkagerer 11 days ago [-]
I think I have to repeat that after each search (at least back when I last used the site). And it usually took many searches to find the product I sought.
makestuff 11 days ago [-]
Walmart now operates a marketplace (https://marketplace.walmart.com/). However, I am unsure if they take those same validation steps as they do in their physical stores or not.
klyrs 11 days ago [-]
Came here to make that point. I know that newegg and bestbuy have done the same. And, much like amazon and ebay, I expect pretty much zero verification and Sisyphean dispute processes.
user3939382 11 days ago [-]
Yep. For the curious, go search Amazon for "1 TB USB" for a good laugh.
vel0city 11 days ago [-]
Sadly walmart.com is the same kind of trash. I searched 1TB USB and the top non-sponsored result was this:

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Jonephe-USB-Flash-Drive-1TB-Metal...

Which has some obviously fake reviews along with probably a real comment stating:

"Only problem is the transfer speed sucks and it causes errors in half the files I transfer to it."

Truly emblematic of how these scam USB drives work. And its the top organic result on walmart.com!

seanmcdirmid 11 days ago [-]
Ya, and if you report or comment on the scams, Amazon acts to protect the scams. They have to know what is going on and simply don’t care.
wardedVibe 11 days ago [-]
they have done a bad enough job that fakespot has a viable business model vetting their products.
rileyphone 11 days ago [-]
Another really key difference is that Walmart operates retail locations that compete with (more realistically, undercut) smaller local businesses and gut small town America. Let's not paint a rosier picture just because it happened a while ago.
Retric 11 days ago [-]
Amazon has killed plenty of small businesses that survived Walmart. Walmart didn’t go after the hobby shop style niche business the way Amazon’s million product warehouse could.

People worked out you can compete with Walmart by having a deeper selection as long as the population density supports it, but it’s not clear what small retail can do to survive Amazon.

mtnGoat 11 days ago [-]
On the flip side Amazon created hundreds of thousands of small business, it allowed them access to a global market. The ones that died could have done the same and remained competitive, they were asleep at the wheel instead. I see Walmart as more of a monopolist by going into small towns and selling at a loss. Whereas Amazon was an equalizer allowing anyone to compete in a global marketplace, those that opted not to, got their lunch stolen.
Retric 11 days ago [-]
Hardly, the vast majority of physical stores don’t manufacture anything they simply aggregate merchandise from wholesalers and operate a physical location. There is no way to transition that model to Amazon marketplace because they don’t have any way way to differentiate themselves. Attempting that transition would have simply lost them a great deal of money.

There are a mix of ways to profitability operate with Amazon both legitimately or via various kinds of fraud. However, suggesting that transition is often as reasonable as telling a barber to open a veterinary clinic, it’s just a completely different kind of business.

mtnGoat 11 days ago [-]
But that’s changing the measurement to fit your argument, most sellers on Amazon aren’t directly manufacturing their goods either, yet still have margin. We are talking about retailers switching how they offer their goods. Rely less on the store front and just ship more stuff, isn’t a major change to business model. Adding a shipping center isn’t hard.

But either way business is dog eat dog and you have evolve to survive. Don’t blame the competition for building a better mousetrap. This is free markets and capitalism operating as intended.

11 days ago [-]
Retric 11 days ago [-]
You’re the one suggesting these companies could have made the switch.

I have no problem with capitalism crushing companies, as long as it’s head to head in a free market rather than based on fraud or avoiding regulations. I am simply pointing out Amazon has been a huge net loss for small businesses, which it objectively has.

mtnGoat 11 days ago [-]
But that is no fault of Amazon is my point, it’s the business owners failure for failing to adapt to changing market conditions.

And my gripe is that they project their failure at Amazon rather than owning their own poor decisions.

Retric 11 days ago [-]
Amazon is at fault for the amount of fraud on their platform and the amount of damage it’s caused both businesses and customers.

It isn’t at fault for people preferring to buy stuff online or Amazon’s highly efficient supply chain etc.

mtnGoat 11 days ago [-]
Ok then it sounds like we agree on all points then. They could certainly do better at cleaning up the fraud.
hnbad 10 days ago [-]
The fraud is integral to their business model at this point, though.

They deliberately chose a way of storing products that makes them vulnerable to fraud. Fixing that would require storing them differently (which would be more expensive to them).

Likewise, cutting down on unsafe or white label products would increase the quality of the products they sell but adding a vetting process and stricter moderation would significantly increase labor costs per product and if companies at scale want to avoid one thing, it's dynamic labor costs.

They literally can't do better at cleaning up the fraud because there is no market incentive for them to do so and doing so would reduce profits and thus shareholder value. To borrow your line: it's just free markets and capitalism working as intended.

mtnGoat 10 days ago [-]
It’s also not in their best interest to let things get out of control. Free markets ebb and flow.

I don’t know of any other platform that has a markedly better vetting process, Walmart, eBay, AliExpress, Wish, etc all have much the same or worse issues with this. But they all seam to be very pro consumer when it comes to returns, none seem to ask any questions.

Maybe it’s not a conspiracy but rather an industry wide problem of playing wack-a-mole with scammers, that every platform is continually dealing with.

robertlagrant 10 days ago [-]
I don't think it's that simple. I've heard stories of Amazon doing data analysis on its own marketplace, coming out with competing products for ones it think it can make a profit on, and putting them above the 3rd parties in search results.
mtnGoat 10 days ago [-]
That wasn’t invented by Amazon, Many retailers do this. Grocery stores white label. REI is another great example, they run data analysis on what sold the most, what features were searched for most and built their own products.
robertlagrant 9 days ago [-]
I'm not saying it was invented by Amazon.
hnbad 10 days ago [-]
> Amazon created hundreds of thousands of small business

Based on my experience most of those small businesses are reselling uncertified whitelabel shovelware (especially electronics) from Ali Express. That's a bit like praising cancer for rejuvenating the body by reducing the mean age of all cells.

Of course you could also say it created a lot of businesses via "self-employed" last mile delivery drivers but I think we're all adult enough to acknowledge that the gig economy is a scam to skirt labor laws, not an actual net positive for those working within it.

Pretending small businesses could have kept up with Amazon by "doing the same" is absurd. Small businesses lack the infrastructure to offer one day (or even same day) deliveries and free returns with full refunds. We've reached a point where buyers take these things for granted to the point of balking at shipping costs for goods privately sold on eBay classifieds because they have no idea what delivery companies like UPS or DHL charge.

Even as a marketplace, Amazon cannibalizes its sellers via its "Amazon basics" brand which copies products if they get popular enough and often undercuts their pricing while also benefiting from the Amazon branding.

> Whereas Amazon was an equalizer allowing anyone to compete in a global marketplace, those that opted not to, got their lunch stolen.

Saying "allowed anyone" makes it sound like it was optional, yet that "those that opted not to" died off demonstrates that it wasn't. It's nearly impossible to start a small local retail shop but it's also nearly impossible to be a small retail seller on Amazon. There's a reason white label shovelware dropshipping is so ubiquituous: by creating your own brand to resell white label products you make it harder to compare you to your competitors selling the same garbage and you no longer have to directly compete on price. This is effectively the only kind of business on Amazon marketplace that doesn't directly suffer the race to the bottom.

> This is free markets and capitalism operating as intended.

Yes, that's the problem. Free markets accelerate monopolization by forcing local small businesses to compete globally with international megacorps on those megacorps' terms.

The benefits of small local businesses are externalities to capitalism so they get sanded off eventually. Free global markets just rapidly speed up that process.

mtnGoat 10 days ago [-]
Exactly, don’t hate the player, hate the game.

I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, nor fair, more pointing out that attacking them for using the levers and dials available To them to return value to shareholders, is short sighted. literally every other company is doing the same, just not as efficiently.

tcmart14 11 days ago [-]
I do agree with your point on Walmart, what is on the shelves at a physical location. However, Walmart's online store is just as bad, if not worst, than Amazon.
autoexec 11 days ago [-]
There are a few complaints that are unique to Amazon, but really it just speaks to how little has been done to fix the problems Walmart brought to our attention decades ago. Not dealing with those issues back then just opened the door for Amazon to come in and screw people over in similar ways. I hope people realize that their problems they have now aren't just about Amazon either and that unless things change it'll be some other company 10-20 years in the future doing the same things to the next generation.
scarface74 11 days ago [-]
So how do you propose those “problems” be “fixed” and not cause harm to customers who are getting cheaper goods?
autoexec 11 days ago [-]
I refuse to believe that customers getting "cheaper goods" is dependent on employees having to piss in bottles to keep their jobs, or employees suffering twice the number of severe injuries as other warehouse workers. Surely, selling counterfeit/fraudulent products and allowing scammers to have free run of their platform isn't a requirement for consumers getting inexpensive goods either. Amazon pockets billions every year. They can more than afford to treat their employees and their customers better without raising prices a single penny and still remain profitable. Less profitable perhaps, but profitable.

Amazon should be held accountable for their failures and for the harms they are causing to both customers and employees so that the next company to rise up knows that abusing workers and turning a blind eye to fraud won't be tolerated and that the laws and protections enacted to rein in amazon's exploitative practices will effect them as well.

scarface74 11 days ago [-]
I’m not referring to Amazon’s practices or counterfeit goods. I’m referring to passing laws that “prevent the harm done” by Walmart crushing mom and pop stores.

Walmart has never to the best of my knowledge been accused of the rampant selling of counterfeit goods in their physical stores nor do the people who deliver to stores have to “pee in bottles”.

autoexec 11 days ago [-]
Crushing mom and pop stores isn't the only issue Walmart and Amazon share. Both have mistreated employees and stole product designs to push their own versions of popular items undercutting the original. Walmart employees weren't peeing in bottles, but unsafe working conditions and union busting have been problems for both companies. Walmart.com is known for selling counterfeit goods, while the physical stores routinely sell dangerous items. It seems that filling your store shelves with the cheapest goods from the third world isn't always safe for your customers.

I do think that fixing a lot of the "quibbles" people have concerning Walmart and Amazon would help make things more competitive and help give smaller stores a better chance though.

hammock 11 days ago [-]
> "take your small town business and give it a world wide footprint" but it is the same. They missed the "we'll take 1/3 of your price too" part

For someone that doesn’t sell consumer goods that cut can sound like a lot.

But getting distributed in brick and mortar retail, the cut is far greater (at least 50%).

And the alternative is direct online sales, which only recently has become viable in a scalable way for most consumer brands (thinking of the DTC revolution here)

ChuckMcM 11 days ago [-]
I think this is a solid point. Different distribution methodologies change the numbers. If you sell to a distributor at 60% of list (giving them "40 points" in the lingo) and they then sell to a reseller at 80% of list, the brick and mortar store has the option of having a "10% to 15% off sale" and still making money.

Hence the "rule" that your cost of goods needs to be 1/3 of the MSRP if you want to go through two tiers of distribution.

At Freegate we shipped directly to retailers and gave them 30 points off MSRP, but that meant on a new order, they ordered from us, we shipped to them and they shipped to the customer so a fairly long lead time between order to arrival.

When I was at Google the PM for "consumer devices" was looking at what it would cost to get things on the shelf at Fry's and Bestbuy and the price negotiation was more about where on the shelf it sat rather than store profit it seemed. Something to factor in to the economics as well.

But the bottom line here is that there is a "market price" for something, and the "cost to get it to market" + "cost to make it" and if that market price is less than the sum of the other two, well you can't make it up on volume :-).

I think Amazon's LAAS business made that calculation simpler and thus there was less uncertainty about whether or not one could make any money selling them.

TylerE 11 days ago [-]
My understanding is that most stores (especially grocery stores) basically make no money on sales...purely break even +/- a percent or two... all the actual profit comes from selling premium shelf space.
a9h74j 11 days ago [-]
> make no money on sales

On the model of "make the profit on replacement parts," perhaps grocery chains should be buying hospitals chains to profit from all the unhealthy food they are selling.

mtnGoat 11 days ago [-]
My best friend growing up, his dad ran grocery stores. He said they had a 3-5% margin across their offerings.
lotsofpulp 11 days ago [-]
And if you look at Costco, Walmart, Kroger, Albertsons, Target, Best Buy, etc 10-K reports, you will find the same profit margins.
hammock 11 days ago [-]
The fact that a retail store buys their goods for half the retail price does not automatically mean they make a great profit
jerf 11 days ago [-]
"Interesting that this "transformation" is pretty close to what Sun and other dot com infrastructure sellers were promising in 1998."

Everything promised in the dot com boom has basically happened, right down to the much-maligned delivering pet food over the internet.

It just didn't happen fast enough to save them in the late 1990s, and the space was just overinvested even so.

time_to_smile 11 days ago [-]
Chewy hasn't solved the problem that Pets.com had, we've just had enough free cash flowing around for longer this time so it doesn't matter.

When Chewy starts to make more than they spend then it will be interesting, but as it stands now it just looks like we're in a bigger bubble rather than solving problems that couldn't be solved back then.

RhodesianHunter 11 days ago [-]
A lot of us order our pet food online from our local pet stores these days.
xwolfi 11 days ago [-]
Not enough for profits to generate
AussieWog93 10 days ago [-]
>It makes me wonder why Aliexpress doesn't have more warehouses in the US

I'd suspect they do. Here in Australia, it's really common to get AliExpress goods delivered in 2-3 business days, with an AusPost label on the box and a return address in Melbourne.

Even for goods not physically located in the country, they're clearly doing something clever in terms of consolidating packages, booking out large chunks of air cargo space and dispatching from a local warehouse. Same deal with the Australian return address, but 7-10 days instead of 2-3.

You can tell when they're coming via this route, as they'll have the shipping method "AliExpress Standard Shipping". CaiNiao is still your bog standard 4-6 weeks by boat.

This is a pretty new thing, and only came about after China lost access to subsidised global shipping (as in, subsidies from other developed countries, not the Chinese Government) in 2021. AliExpress sellers also lost access to subsidised shipping from the Chinese government in the last few years. Prior to this, for certain locally manufactured goods, they could send them overseas at a rate of something like 1 yuan per half-kilo (essentially US$0.02 or so for a USB cable), hence why you'd get all these $1 items with free shipping.

slim 11 days ago [-]

  It makes me wonder why Aliexpress doesn't have more warehouses in the US
because US is not a free market. Gatekeepers got to take their cut (if you don't get outright denied access to the market because nationalism). Amazon is as good as any other gatekeeper, so why change ?
ChuckMcM 11 days ago [-]
I see it differently, do you have a description of what a "free market" would be that the US doesn't have? You mention Gatekeepers but I'm not sure I understand that reference. As I see it there isn't anything stopping me from selling things directly from my web site to anyone in the world right? Where is the gate keeper in that scenario?
makeitdouble 11 days ago [-]
We're talking about a scenario where AliExpress builds warehouses and logistics inside the US to better deliver chinese imports, in direct competition with Amazon.

I see an obvious gatekeeper.

As a game, can you find any example of a foreign company successfuly setting up infra in the US to chalenge an US behemoth ?

beepboop753 11 days ago [-]
Define infra? Because many, many, many markets in the US have incredibly large amounts of foreign companies

Japanese/German car makers

A whole host (most?) of clothing retailers all across the price spectrum, (H&M, Zara, Uniqlo at the low end, most luxury brands are European - this market is dominated by foreign firms)

Gas/gas stations (Shell, BP)

I think it'd be harder to find industries without foreign companies operating in the US

makeitdouble 11 days ago [-]
> Japanese/German car makers

Restiction were set on import volume and makers comprnsated with US production as a politcal middle-ground. Those large amounts are partly (mainly ?) US cars.

> clothing

As you point out, luxury brands is where foreign companies have a presence. Feels like small potatoes to me.

> Shell, BP

Am not well versed in oil, but from a cursory look at Shell it has a US entity traded in the US market, partly producing US gas to US customers: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shell_USA

beepboop753 11 days ago [-]
> As you point out, luxury brands is where foreign companies have a presence. Feels like small potatoes to me.

H&M, Zara, and Uniqlo are luxury?

> Am not well versed in oil, but from a cursory look at Shell it has a US entity traded in the US market, partly producing US gas to US customers: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shell_USA

It's literally the US subsidiary of Shell? It's still owned and controlled by the foreign company. This is how international business works once companies reach a scale where they employee large numbers of workers in a foreign country. See Ford of Europe, ExxonMobil Europe, Apple Japan etc - these aren't European/Japanese companies, they're just branches of American ones

makeitdouble 10 days ago [-]
> H&M, Zara, and Uniqlo are luxury?

None of them are building infra to a level that rivals US behemoths. They are well known foreigns brands, but nether commands a high market share nor represent an existential threat to US brands.

Top 2 on the market should be Amazon and Wallmart, in whichever order: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/03/17/amazon-unseats-walmart-to-be...

To note even Gap is bigger than any of those 3 mentionned.

I was pointing at the luxury market because there’s probably more competion from the outside.

> Shell

You’re not answering on how it operates in the US. Toyota US is in the same situation: it’s a subsidiary of the Japanese entity, but still “builds” cars in the US. Customer perceive them as Japanese cars perhaps, but if they‘re not marked at imported cars, that perception is just misplaced.

Shell US refining its own oil in the US falls in the same bucket to me.

The discussion was wether there was examples of foreign companies building infra to directly import foreign goods into the US market. It seems to be diverging into “are there well know and successful foreign brands in the US”

ChuckMcM 11 days ago [-]
This may not be what you're thinking but I see many;

Nokia on phones vs the Bell companies, Toshiba on laptops, pretty much everyone on the PC vs IBM, the entire Steel industry, the railroad industry before them, Japanese cars eating Detroit's lunch, Zenith and RCA's TV market, GE's appliance market.

Where is the gatekeeper in the Amazon/Aliexpress scenario? I'm sorry but I don't see that one yet.

EDIT: You did say "infra" and the best example I know of are the foreign car companies that set up factories here to build cars in the US to get around import issues.

makeitdouble 11 days ago [-]
First part is focusing on individual consumer goods sold through US retailers.

Your second part and edit on car manufacturers is spot on: they were set a quota of "US made" cars and had to build factories in the US as a condition to continue chalenging US local makers.

I'd call that gatekeeping

ChuckMcM 11 days ago [-]
That's fair.

I see those actions as setting up barriers but they do prevent people who can't meet that barrier out. My thinking of gatekeeping is more absolute, as in "there is no way for you to enter here" and thus "breaking the gate" would have legal and/or diplomatic consequences.

So for me there are two concepts, trade barriers and gatekeeping. Tariffs come under the heading of trade barriers as well in my view.

makeitdouble 11 days ago [-]
I get your point.

In that sense, your view on gatekeeping would be more like what happened to Huawei and how they were straight banned from the US market.

It sometimes happens, but few things are so black and white in politics and market regulations IMO. Killing the viability of an import route by pushing the tarrifs outside of the reasonable range is often enough and helps to avoid "smoking gun" headlines.

ChuckMcM 11 days ago [-]
Agreed, I would say Huawei was "gatekeeped" (not a word I know but banned without recourse)
mtnGoat 11 days ago [-]
I could go either way in this. Considering all Chinese entities must comply with their government no matter where they operate, the US was gate keeping the Chinese government from operating here. Not just some random company. And I’m ok with this, US citizens can not free hold corporations in China, why should we allow the reverse?
kcb 11 days ago [-]
The US isn't nearly as protectionist as you're trying to imply.
makeitdouble 10 days ago [-]
Then how much protectionnist is it in your views ?

What's the best illustration of your point ?

xwolfi 11 days ago [-]
Hong Kong for instance is a freer market. Ofc it s easy: we dont build cars, we dont produce sugar, we dont design processors, all the stuff that's severely restricted in the US is due to an imbalance between the need of voters and the ideology of free markets.

As long as the US listens to or need the votes of their people, they cant be a free market.

slim 11 days ago [-]
In that scenario the main gatekeepers could be (depending on what you are selling) Google, Facebook and US Department of Commerce
up2isomorphism 11 days ago [-]
If you think “taking 1/3 of your price” is big, you might never sold anything to an end customer.

No these small business owners are way smarter than you on this, they won’t even consider Amazon if that’s not saving their cost.

eunos 11 days ago [-]
> It makes me wonder why Aliexpress doesn't have more warehouses in the US

Temu by Pinduoduo are trying their luck. Let's see in a few years.

skybrian 11 days ago [-]
Walmart does have an online presence and a lot of third-party sellers. I don't know how well they do, but it seems like they're trying?
dieselgate 11 days ago [-]
Heck, didn’t Sears n Roebuck used to sell kit homes from a catalog back in the day? I couldn’t imagine buying a whole house kit from Amazon
sp332 11 days ago [-]
Yeah, you can buy similar prefab homes on Amazon. Actually most of the ones linked from blog posts are now "currently unavailable", and most of the ones that show up in search results now are sheds or cabins with no bathrooms. But here's one with a bathroom and is ready to buy for $8,800. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B6V1G81D/
sp332 11 days ago [-]
Late edit: the one above is too small to be a real house. Anyway it looks like they don't sell houses anymore, but there used to be some on there.
dieselgate 11 days ago [-]
Yeah figured fair enough though, the pics had a bathroom so at least it's designed as guest house/ADU type thing.
11 days ago [-]
RC_ITR 11 days ago [-]
>They missed the "we'll take 1/3 of your price too" part :-).

Maybe revealing - the incentives provided by the 1/3 cut are maybe why Amazon succeeded and Sun did not.

thaumasiotes 11 days ago [-]
> But the interesting lesson here is that the real thing has not been "web presence" or world wide visibility, it was Amazon has built a pretty impressive logistics setup for moving stuff from vendors to users. It rivals what Sears & Roebuck did in the 60's and 70's. THAT seems to be the missing piece which one might call "logistics as a service."

I can't really agree with this. Amazon started out by using existing delivery services. And the quality of delivery from Amazon at that time was much higher. Now that they prefer using their own delivery services, their delivery sucks. They've built a logistics setup that is much worse than what we already had.

guardiangod 11 days ago [-]
Not sure about U.S. SMBs but Amazon's influence on China small business is a rounding number. Only a relatively small number of vendors sell items on Amazon. They made good money but the good days is almost over given recent quality/piracy crackdowns.

Taobao (under Alibaba) has 100 times more influence on how small business in China conduct business. I know small store owners whose business were wiped out by the rise of Taobao. Amazon? They've never heard of it.

Barrin92 11 days ago [-]
Yes. There's the concept of a "taobao village" in China where you have entire rural communities of online merchants supplying smaller towns/villages that otherwise wouldn't really use ecommerce.

And the funny thing is these even exist in Germany now. In Duisburg I met some Chinese taobao merchants years ago who'd settled as expats in the city because it has particularly strong ties to the country as there's a direct freight train route to Chongqing.

nebula8804 11 days ago [-]
There is a different 'class' of junk sold on Taobao vs Amazon but both stores still seem chock full of junk. Maybe they were affected in the same way just by different players.
hezralig 11 days ago [-]
I frequently find the same items on Alibaba and Taobao as I do on Amazon. I find myself ordering items next day on Amazon and returning them as soon as I receive the exact item for 1/10 to 1/100 the price elsewhere.

Returning an item because you have found a better price elsewhere is a pre-filled option for a return, so it is expressly allowed.

chongli 11 days ago [-]
Keep in mind that Amazon tracks people’s return histories and has been known to ban people who are deemed return abusers.
sharkweek 11 days ago [-]
Friend works at Costco and they have the same tracking system.

He says anytime anyone who has been abusing the return policy gets angry about being told no, he goes into his script about “Sir/ma’am it’s clear to me you haven’t been happy with the goods and services we sell here at Costco. How about I go ahead and cancel your membership and offer you a FULL refund of the annual fee.”

Gets people in-line REAL fast knowing they might end up blacklisted from Costco.

wmeredith 11 days ago [-]
I love this.

"Sir/ma’am it’s clear to me you haven’t been happy with the goods and services we sell here at Costco. How about I go ahead and cancel your membership"

"Returning an item because you have found a better price elsewhere is a pre-filled option for a return, so it is expressly allowed."

Are both excellent examples of malicious compliance.

hezralig 8 days ago [-]
Honestly, if my service was cancelled by Amazon for my returns, I wouldn't regret it. It HAS been sometime since I have been happy with the service.
recuter 11 days ago [-]
That is quite clever and rational in a dystopian sort of way.
TeMPOraL 11 days ago [-]
I'm sympathetic, though. There are plenty of consumers happy to abuse any and every loophole or concession they can find. The vendors need some wiggle room to deal with those cases.

For example: a clothing store accepts free returns for couple days after purchase in physical store, or doesn't try to obstruct in any way the EU-wide 14-day return policy for goods bought online? That store eventually gets flooded with returns, as some scoundrels figure they can attract their preferred kind of mates by buying expensive clothes before a party and hiding the tags (instead of removing them), and then return those clothes back to the store the very next day, to get full refund.

This is a real thing that was happening where I live, and led to clothes being much more annoying to unpack, as well as some silly rules on shoe returns, which occasionally cause pretty absurd situations (those running shoes were quickly labeled as "walking shoes, not suitable for running"; we can't accept the return because you admitted to running in them).

That use case, along with hedging your risk by buying 10 different items on-line, fully intending to return at least 8 of them, is common enough that there are businesses targeting people doing this directly (e.g. "clothing as a service" companies).

EDIT: FWIW, I do understand the desire and pleasure of figuring out a loophole in a set of rules and milking it for all its worth. But in shopping and e-commerce, following those rules to the letter selfishly almost always involves generating tremendous waste for the vendor, the society and the environment, and because of those externalities I don't think highly of such behavior.

vel0city 11 days ago [-]
The return rates that some people I know find acceptable are mind numbing to me. Some people I know return about 20% of the non-food things they buy, even after knowing that a significant fraction of the returned merchandise ends up in landfills.

So many people buy things without even thinking about it, use it once or twice, decide they don't need it, and then return it. It goes back, often without packaging, probably off to a landfill. All those resources and value just tossed into a pit, hidden in Amazon's bottom line. Its insane to me.

Forever easy returns just seem so incredibly damaging to me.

bsder 11 days ago [-]
> The return rates that some people I know find acceptable are mind numbing to me. Some people I know return about 20% of the non-food things they buy, even after knowing that a significant fraction of the returned merchandise ends up in landfills.

Clothing manufacturers, however, make this really annoying when they don't have to.

Clothing sizes don't mean anything. Consequently, you can order your "size" and still find things are completely out to lunch.

If you could get a real "specification" on clothing, then I would have far less of an issue with companies cracking down on returns.

Amazon, however, comes in for special approbation as I simply can't trust that whatever I'm receiving has any resemblance to what I expected from what I ordered.

11 days ago [-]
com2kid 11 days ago [-]
> The return rates that some people I know find acceptable are mind numbing to me. Some people I know return about 20% of the non-food things they buy, even after knowing that a significant fraction of the returned merchandise ends up in landfills.

Ever try buying Christmas lights on Amazon? The advisable way is to just buy a ton of things and return whatever is broken, which in 2021, out of 6 sets of lights I bought, I ended up returning 5.

Kids clothing is just random. Like, fuck it, 2 items, same manufacturer, same listed size, but completely different real world sizes, as in "item 1 is oversized and is large enough to wear next year, item 2 is too small by far, return both and try again".

vel0city 10 days ago [-]
> Ever try buying Christmas lights on Amazon? The advisable way is to just buy a ton of things and return whatever is broken, which in 2021, out of 6 sets of lights I bought, I ended up returning 5.

The solution is to not buy from places like Amazon. I bought my lights from somewhere else and other than a broken bulb that was fixed with the included extra lights I was 5 for 5 on working lights on bargain bin quality strands/nets.

Quit supporting the marketplaces that shovel trash on us.

com2kid 10 days ago [-]
> I bought my lights from somewhere else and other than a broken bulb that was fixed with the included extra lights I was 5 for 5 on working lights on bargain bin quality strands/nets.

Big box home improvement stores (Lowes, Home Depot) stop selling lights early December. They mostly sell generic knock offs, at insanely high prices. The $120 reindeer I bought from Home Depot was poor quality, and broke after one year.

Bargain bin lights tend to be incandescent[1], which, even though the colors are superior, I still want to avoid.

In 2021 Lowes actually was selling some high quality lights, but by early December they were sold out and not getting any more in stock.

Amazon actually has some innovative products, some of the drop shipped from China lights are quite nice (and some of them are really nice), I have 2 sets of cool solar powered ones outside right now. One set works amazing, the other set only 5/6 lights work, but for $20 that isn't half bad.

[1] Given current manufacturing trends, it is sad that Christmas incandescent lights will probably outlive LED lights. I have some incandescent strands from my childhood that still work just fine, I have no confidence cheap LEDs will last more than a couple years.

vel0city 10 days ago [-]
I do agree, the local stores get mostly picked over by early December and often won't get restocked once sold out by that point.

> Amazon actually has some innovative products

If innovation is 72% of the products being immediately trash at delivery, count me out. It seems to me their real innovation is getting people to accept that an 72% failure rate is a good and acceptable thing.

Imagine if 72% of the apples you bought at the store were rotten by the time you came home. Imagine if 72% of the cars manufactured were scrap in the first 10 miles.

72% of the things you bought here were trash at delivery, and its being hailed as a good thing.

I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.

Please, quit supporting marketplaces that shovel trash on us.

com2kid 10 days ago [-]
> Imagine if 72% of the apples you bought at the store were rotten by the time you came home. Imagine if 72% of the cars manufactured were scrap in the first 10 miles.

A large nationwide grocery store chain carries yogurt covered raisins of such low quality that every time I have tried them over many years I have gotten nauseous.

That same store sells their own branded frozen fruit that is often so tasteless that it is useless at being "fruit".

One of America's largest brands of coconut milk is devoid of any coconut flavor, I have no idea why it is on store shelves.

Clothing and cheap electronics are two areas that will always be problematic. LED bulbs from physical retailers are also a crap shoot and frequently fail. I have purchased 2 identically labeled pairs of Levi jeans from a store and had them fit dramatically different.

Baby clothing sizes from well known brands are still a crapshoot, the reason for buying and returning through Amazon is because they make it easy, buying directly from Gap has the same sizing problem, but returns are more difficult.

And this is assuming you can even buy some items at all, I was trying to buy baby winter gloves and local stores have almost 0 choices, stores have maybe 1 style available.

Want something that isn't made out of plastic? Buying online, or at a local speciality store (for insane $$$) is the only choice.

vel0city 10 days ago [-]
I practically refuse to buy clothes online, because I agree even within a single manufacturer there's too much variation in fit. Levi's are a prime example I can think of. An inch at their Vietnam factory isn't the same as an inch at their Bangladesh factory. The only way to truly know that it fits is to actually put it on before you buy it.

Sure, my choices for clothing is more limited. But at least I've got the peace of mind I personally didn't send hundreds of articles of clothing to the landfill without ever actually wearing it. Its insane to me people seem perfectly fine with the idea of buying and throwing away so many clothes doing "returns".

The number of times I've bought clothes for my children and have it not fit after paying for it so far has been 0. I've messed up a few times on my own pants thinking the same size in the same pile would be roughly the same and been burned by it, but that's just led to me to force myself to always try before I buy that specific article of clothing.

But hey, feel free to keep throwing away 72% of what you buy thinking there's nothing that could be done. 72% failure rates are just what to expect in your life, true innovation being done by the sellers at Amazon.

Every time you click "return", think "send to landfill and get a refund". Think about how much junk you've just thrown away. Does this seem sustainable? Does it seem like a good thing to you?

com2kid 10 days ago [-]
> The number of times I've bought clothes for my children and have it not fit after paying for it so far has been 0.

Baby, or kids?

I have seen 18m outfits and 3t outfits from the same retailer that are almost the same size.

Baby clothes are annoying because you can't really try them on, so you may as well buy from a place that has easy returns.

vel0city 10 days ago [-]
Baby mostly. I do agree you can't really "try them on" but if you're at the store you can usually size up the clothes pretty close to your actual child. I'm not going for perfect fit with most of their clothes, I'm going for close enough to not immediately fall off or be so uncomfortable they won't wear them or be difficult to remove when needed.

And if there's a question of if it'll fit, buy a bit big and they'll wear them soon enough without immediately becoming landfill. You can do that in the store, you can't do that when you're buying online.

Better yet, buy used or get hand me downs from friends and family. Instead of sending even more stuff to the landfill, give things a second life. If a friend offers me a box of kids clothing, I'll rarely turn it down if its at least my kids sizes or larger. They'll fit eventually.

Once again, does sending most of what you buy immediately to a landfill seem sustainable to you? Does it seem good? If not, why are you supporting it?

BlueTemplar 10 days ago [-]
Wait, why to a landfill ?

While the cost of transportation has been wasted, can't the store discount it / sell it on Ebay ?

vel0city 10 days ago [-]
Lots of times they just find that to be too much effort for the slim amount of money to be made. It's way easier for them to just take the loss and "destroy" it since they're unsure about the quality of the returned items.

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/01/28/amazon-returns-what-really-h...

Disposal happens a lot. A huge chunk of the time that return you submit is just going into the trash. Remember that when you go to buy something you might not really need.

BlueTemplar 9 days ago [-]
Ah, thankfully they do what I suggested... but for only 5% money back, wow ! And yeah 1/3 destroyed is ridiculously wasteful.

I don't use Amazon on principle, and still had to box and tag so far, but thanks for the warning !

notatoad 11 days ago [-]
i don't think there's anything dystopian about a company banning people who abuse their return policies.

if everybody abused return policies that way, the policies would simply be changed to disallow it for everybody. flexible policies only work because there's a trust that they won't be abused, and they'll only last as long as most people don't abuse them. the people who return everything they buy are just trying to squeeze the most out of the system before they ruin it for the rest of us, and banning them is a much better solution than disallowing returns.

recuter 11 days ago [-]
I like that it is a script and the system figured out the exact wording to maximize profits.

> Gets people in-line REAL fast knowing they might end up blacklisted from Costco.

And the power dynamics at play.

In times of yore it would not occur to the shop keeper to offer a return policy or for the shopper to try and bilk him. The interaction would not be scripted.

hezralig 8 days ago [-]
1. Nothing I have described is considered abuse. I haven't even mentioned a percentage of overall returns I make versus overall purchases.

2. It has been sometime since I have been happy with the service and there are ample alternatives domestically.

I won't lose sleep over Amazon's profit margins.

ApolloFortyNine 11 days ago [-]
The one example I've seen of this is someone who would order, no joke, 30 different items of clothing and keep 2. Regularly.

I haven't seen an example that wasn't obvious abuse.

TheCraiggers 11 days ago [-]
>Returning an item because you have found a better price elsewhere is a pre-filled option for a return, so it is expressly allowed.

Well, expressly tracked anyway. Not saying it isn't allowed, but if you do it enough you'll eventually get blacklisted. And rightfully so, since you're costing them money.

canadianfella 11 days ago [-]
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CHSbeachbum420 11 days ago [-]
[flagged]
nonethewiser 11 days ago [-]
> There were an estimated six million merchants on Amazon’s marketplace in 2021, and around 2,000 opened new accounts each day. On average, Amazon collects 34% of each sale they make, according to research published the same year by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Estimates from 2020 showed that around 54% of Amazon sellers in the U.S. market were based in the country, while 40% were in China.
hulitu 11 days ago [-]
> were based in the country, while 40% were in China.

were based.

thetinguy 11 days ago [-]
Taobao is a direct influence whereas Amazon is an indirect influence through the sellers importing things from China to sell on Amazon.
nomay 11 days ago [-]
Amazon sellers are actually researching the market and designing new products, which can't be said about domestic Chinese brands and sellers that are mired in cutthroat price dogfights.

The profits maybe not be that big, but big enough to drive a skeleton team, make a small fortune. One item with $500 a day in revenue can let you make more money than a typical coder.

notatoad 11 days ago [-]
>Amazon sellers are actually researching the market and designing new products

some of them are, but a lot are just dropshipping stuff from alibaba

rcme 11 days ago [-]
$500 * 365 days is 182,500 / year. With a 50% margin, that's only $91,250.
selectodude 11 days ago [-]
Average income in China is about $15,000/yr, so $90,000 is pretty damn good.
rcme 11 days ago [-]
The comparison was to a software engineer, which earns more than $15,000 in China. And also with a 50% margin, which is extremely generous. Most margins are closer to 10% - 20% in manufacturing.
catach 11 days ago [-]
That's a big potential impact for an individual sure, but the context here is the existing impact for entire economies.
Ztynovovk 11 days ago [-]
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baybal2 11 days ago [-]
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coderintherye 11 days ago [-]
This title, which is not the title of the article nor the study (it's the first sentence in the article) could be seen as misleading. I've directly worked with thousands of small businesses in the U.S. and what is being discussed here has almost no relevance nor impact on them. Also the study is based on just 40 interviews with Amazon merchants.

What this is really about is highlighted in the study's post[0]:

"This report highlights how Amazon’s scale has also given rise to new kinds of small businesses — ones optimized for Amazon"

As well as the lead in the study: "This report recounts a history of third-party (3P) sellers who have played a key role in building up Amazon’s retail business—and thus, Amazon as a whole—over the last two decades."

[0] https://datasociety.net/library/amazons-trickle-down-monopol...

black6 11 days ago [-]
It's changed small online retail businesses. The vast majority of small businesses I interact with are not even retail.
whywhywhydude 11 days ago [-]
It’s interesting how a lot of products in Amazon are just rebranded stuff from Alibaba. It seems like the Amazon sellers are auto generating the brand names. There is probably some kind of drop shipping app that does it for you.
latchkey 11 days ago [-]
I look at Amazon as faster shipping from Aliexpress.us.

Sometimes the prices are insanely different and if I don't care about shipping times, I'll just get the same exact stuff from Ali for a lot less money. Other times, the prices aren't much different and I just get it from Amazon.

Some sort of marriage between the two systems would be nice. Ali's search engine is not as easy to use as Amazon's and it is a pain searching on both and comparing prices.

95% of the time, if the sellers name on Amazon is all uppercase, you can bet it is cheaper on Ali.

ectospheno 9 days ago [-]
At this point I just default to Ali. I can pay with Apple Pay so I don’t have to provide them with credit cards and I don’t mind the wait. You get the same product either way.

I still visit local stores for USB devices and batteries.

Sebguer 11 days ago [-]
spend five minutes on tiktok and you will get about 30 videos from 'influencers' selling you their classes on becoming a dropshipper.
nostromo 11 days ago [-]
The influencers are not even creating the content and are just dropshipping the courses on dropshipping from another vendor.
artificial 11 days ago [-]
It's turtles all the way down.
a9h74j 11 days ago [-]
And it's whitelabel all the way down. So, is this just one generic universe of many?
toss1 11 days ago [-]
>>The seller said she spends 80% of her time optimizing the keywords she uses in her product descriptions and advertisements, in order to ensure her goods rank highly in Amazon’s search results. “I don’t use any other social media channels to draw traffic to my store,” she told Weigel.

That looks like an opportunity for someone to build some specific tools...

I expect there are some already out there, but if the task still consumes that much time, i.e., is that much of a pain point, obviously there is opportunity still left on the table.

LatteLazy 11 days ago [-]
It was amazing in the early days on the pandemic here in the UK how few businesses could do basic things like know what was in stock or let you pay on line. Amazon came through when I needed a bunch of what I considered essentials (fuses for my house for instance). Brick and mortar stores were useless.
dazc 10 days ago [-]
A lot of small scale UK retailers have already proven to themselves that internet retailing isn't worth the bother. I know of some who've invested huge sums of money, sometimes as much as £100, creating social media channels with up to 12 individual posts that have yielded no sales at all!

There's also a dire shortage of UK developers willing to do all the work, with no retainer, based purely on a shady prospect of a share of the profits at some distant time in the future.

LatteLazy 10 days ago [-]
I mean, if someone isn't willing to take a day off work to visit a retail establishment with no parking that is only open 10-4 just to be told the thing they want is out of stock, that's on them really!
AndrewKemendo 9 days ago [-]
This is what maximalist success looks like in the public market

This is the end result of every business that organizes itself as investor and capital owned instead of employee and worker owned. And it's what every startup is selling, that they will do this to their market and time and time again they prove it correct.

You enter a market, monopolize it, crush everyone within it and a handful of people take their giant bags of money and buy an island.

You just assume you'll be the one with the island instead of being crushed

shever73 11 days ago [-]
For anyone who wants to read a small bookshop owner’s take on Amazon’s “transformation” of business, I can highly recommend “How to resist Amazon and why” by Danny Caine.
robocat 11 days ago [-]
1123581321 11 days ago [-]
That "book" is 20 pages long. Surely it's available for less than $5 somewhere?
shever73 10 days ago [-]
That must be his original pamphlet unless the metadata is wrong. My copy is much longer.

I appreciate the irony of ordering it from Amazon, but do your local bookshop a favour and order it from them.

tjpnz 11 days ago [-]
Related is what China's currently doing through the Universal Postal Union. The tl;dr is that they're claiming developing nation status in order to get heavily subsidised airmail to the United States. The following describes the situation in more detail and how it poses a threat to US retailers.

https://youtu.be/BA6gDep6jVM

Wingman4l7 10 days ago [-]
We could end the scourge of Chinese junk overnight if we overhauled their status. It's unconscionable that it costs more to mail something domestically within the US than it does for a Chinese seller to mail a comparable item internationally via ePacket... which is then handled and delivered via the USPS. I'm sick of US-based businesses' shipping costs subsidizing their own competition.
Kukumber 11 days ago [-]
I don't think Amazon has an impact in China, they already have many online marketplaces, and it predates Amazon doing business in China
AdrianB1 11 days ago [-]
If I read correctly, Amazon adds a 50% increase over the price from the seller. If we think about the cost of manufacturing to the price the person that buys from Amazon, the price hike is significant, the buyer is paying a lot of money for something that in theory is way less expensive. The 100$ coffee.
miga 10 days ago [-]
Interestingly, transformation happened in the absence of Amazon. For example, Allegro in Poland offered much wider choice than Amazon. Basically competitor for eBay but with transportation included (thanks to InPost!)

The main difference is that the brand is more visible on Allegro.

baron816 11 days ago [-]
I want to see a study of the impact of Amazon on unemployment and inequality. Inequality has been flat and then declining in the US since about 2013. Unemployment has remained at rock bottom rates. I think a lot of this is the competition Amazon provides for low skilled labor.
scarface74 11 days ago [-]
This is true. There have been plenty of stories about small businesses and franchises having to raise wages to compete with Amazon warehouse jobs
throwawyzxc 11 days ago [-]
I don't buy any food sources from China. It's too risky
say_it_as_it_is 11 days ago [-]
What quality control is there on Amazon when 40% of its merchants are from China? That's a huge portion of the marketplace.
lotsofpulp 11 days ago [-]
Surely it must be 90%.
luckylion 11 days ago [-]
The tone is accusatory, the content is that many companies start businesses selling on Amazon specifically and don't just use Amazon as one medium among many. I fail to see the problem.
11 days ago [-]