Is Convenience the New Cheap? Is Amazon the Only One That Gets It?
I wrote recently about Amazon and the downside to the upside of its high-achieving organizational dynamics, based on a compelling article in The New York Times. My obvious alarm that a favorite of mine could be treating its employees as the reporting suggested was clear. I worried that just as I had given up Exxon after the Valdez, I would now have to swear off Amazon and the excellent joys of Prime.
Responses came in one of three flavors.
· “It’s not true: Check out social media and see how real employees are responding. That’s what you get for believing The Times.”
· “You’ll never give it up: Convenience trumps conscience every day of the week.”
· “What’s the big deal? The behaviors are exactly what you expect of a high achieving organization. Look at GE.”
Today comes the news that Amazon is on track to become the Number 2 player in non-food consumables by 2018. Is Amazon the new Walmart? Or is there something more profound happening to our culture? Walmart’s predatory growth stood at the corner of cheap and cheaper in the heyday of its PacManesque expansion. All low prices all the time. Nobody could compete, certainly no local Mom & Pop shop.
Amazon’s advance seems founded in something more powerful today than that reliance on EDLP: Rapid-fire convenience. Yes, the prices are fair, but is it possible we prefer convenience to that old smiley face with the chain saw cutting prices? Is convenience the new cheap?
And, is it the new conscience? (In my case, yes. I just could not give it up.)
Let's get focused Big Fashion, Big Food, Big Retail. Tick Tock. Tick Tock.