Eye-on-Retail Tipsheet 1/11/13: Online Grocery Boom?; Lowe’s Home Automation “has legs”


“How Whole Foods Is Helping Put A Stake Through The Heart Of Bureaucracy’ by Kim Bhasin at Business Insider.  “”We’ve been kicking bureaucracy in the shins, but we haven’t delivered a knockout blow yet,” he said. ‘We have to put a stake through the heart of bureaucracy…The retailer gives each of its stores $150,000 each year, explained Hamel.  And they can do whatever they want with that money.  For instance, a store used the cash to add a bar, which ended up being a huge hit with female shoppers. These bars serve craft beer and local wine.  They’re usually located near the wine section.”  Read more: https://www.businessinsider.com/whole-foods-gary-hamel-bureaucracy-2013-1#ixzz2HdAm4xtQ


“Online grocery shopping: Boom or bust?” by Renee Frojo at San Francisco Business Times.  “As more people migrate to urban areas and double-income households become burdened by increasingly busy schedules, it’s no mystery why the perceived convenience of online shopping would be attractive to a growing number of people. But is it as good as it sounds?  Some market researchers seem to think so. At the rate it’s going, online grocery shopping is poised to grow at an annual rate of 9.5 percent — with the potential to become a $9.4 billion industry by 2017, according to market research firm IBISWorld.”  Read more:  https://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/blog/2013/01/online-grocery-shopping-boom-or-bust.html


“CES 2013 Shocker: Lowe’s Iris Home Automation Has Legs” by Julie Jacobson at CEPro.  “Lowe’s may well be the first retailer to succeed with home automation. That’s my verdict after visiting with the home improvement store at CES 2013 and revisiting the Iris solution that didn’t impress me a year ago.  At CES 2013, Lowe’s is showing some interesting products – still under development – from some of its existing vendors. For example, there’s a WiFi-enabled water heater from Whirlpool that has energy-saving features, remote diagnostics and leak detection.

Lowe’s is also showing – by way of signage – other forthcoming products that it intends to integrate into the Iris ecosystem:

* Screw-in ZigBee-enabled LED light bulbs from Osram Sylvania

* Ready-Seal safe from First Alert that will alert you to access or attempted access

* Electronic SmartDoor from PetSafe (world’s smartest doggie door?)

* Motorized blinds from Bali

* Insynctive, Z-Wave-enabled between-the-glass motorized shades from Pella

* Controllers for irrigation, hose taps and landscape lighting from Orbit

* Ground moisture sensors from Plastair

When you take all of these traditional home-improvement products, add some intelligence and make them work in the Iris ecosystem, it becomes quite a retail story.

Read more: https://www.cepro.com/article/ces_2013_shocker_lowes_iris_home_automation_has_legs/


“The catch with Target’s price matching” by John Matarese at KY Post.  “The Catches with Price Matching:

To receive a price match:

-The item you find cheaper must be identical, with the same product code, and even the same color, according to MSN. TVs for instance, often have different model numbers at different stores, even if they appear to be the same.

-The item cannot be from a third-party Amazon vendor. Target will match only Amazon’s own prices, not third-party vendors on Amazon, which is about half of what Amazon now sells. That’s a significant difference, as “fulfilled by Amazon” vendors often have a lower price.

MSN says Target’s price matching still appears to be more generous than Walmart’s program, as Walmart won’t match online prices at Amazon.

Read more: https://www.kypost.com/dpps/money/consumer/dont_waste_your_money/the-catch-with-targets-price-matching_8154241#ixzz2HdD5GdcQ


“Whole Foods should buy Trader Joe’s” at MSN Money.  “If you live in a place without a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, you want one or both. If you live in a place that has both you probably shop at both. I go in waves, but ultimately I split my time almost evenly between the two stores.  Trader Joe’s has more than 350 stores, highly concentrated in California but scattered across the nation and growing fast. Trader Joe’s stores tend to be much smaller than Whole Foods stores. In the last couple of years, as Whole Foods has focused more on its “generic” Everyday 365 line, the price gap between the two has narrowed. While Whole Foods still sells items at a considerable premium to Trader Joe’s, it’s no longer Whole Paycheck. You can still drop absurd amounts of money on cheese and salami, but you have more choices than ever before at various price points.”  Read more:  https://money.msn.com/top-stocks/post.aspx?post=531edb28-7248-4574-a073-af1213fa15e0 


“Wal-Mart CEO knew of Mexico bribe claim: lawmakers” at Reuters.  “Lawmakers increased public pressure on Wal-Mart Stores Inc on Thursday by releasing company emails they said contradicted prior statements about when senior executives knew of bribery allegations tied to its Mexican affiliate.  The emails show that senior Wal-Mart executives including current Chief Executive Mike Duke knew as far back as 2005 of allegations that company representatives had bribed officials in Mexico.”  Read more:  https://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/10/us-walmart-bribery-congress-idUSBRE9090UY20130110


“Home Decorators/Home Depot and Google allegedly engaged in Trademark Infringement and Unfair Business Practices negatively impacting Home Decor Center”.  “The Home Depot allegedly used Home Decor Center’s domain name for its Google Ad Words advertisements, redirecting consumers to the site HomeDecorators.com. This was first discovered on September of 2011, when Home Decor Center allegedly received a high volume of complaints from customers that apparently were not in their system. They also had an unusual decrease of sales by 60%. It was also discovered that The Home Depot’s paid advertisements for their website www.HomeDecorators.com, as published in Google’s search engine, claimed that this was “the official website for HomeDecorCenter.com,” which was Home Decor Center’s registered website since 2007.”  Read more: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/home-decoratorshome-depot-and-google-allegedly-engaged-in-trademark-infringement-and-unfair-business-practices-negatively-impacting-home-decor-center-186313031.html


“UL Announces Move to New State-of-the-Art Consumer Products Testing Laboratory”.  “UL today announced the move of its Enfield, CT-based consumer products testing laboratory to a new, state-of-the-art 48,000 s/f facility in Enfield, more than doubling its capacity and capabilities for quality and safety assurance testing. The relocation will enable UL to more efficiently meet the growing demand for the company’s analytical, physical, performance and compliance testing of consumer products for retailers and manufacturers doing business in the U.S.”  Read more:  https://media.prnewswire.com/en/jsp/latest.jsp?resourceid=6111135&access=EH


“Wal-Mart To Sell Contacts Online, By Phone; Launching ‘Equate’ Contacts Brand” at Fox Business. “Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will start selling contact lenses online and by phone as the world’s largest retailer pushes further into the eye-care market. Wal-Mart will also launch its own private Equate brand of contact lenses in February.” Read more: https://www.foxbusiness.com/news/2013/01/10/wal-mart-to-sell-contacts-online-by-phone-launching-equate-contacts-brand/#ixzz2HdE6vRNv 


News of the Weird…

“Man walked through Lowe’s store with dummy grenade” at WCSH-Portland (Video and Text).  “Investigators said he told employees something along the line of, “Your store security sucks. I’ve been walking around with a hand grenade and no one noticed.”  The man was detained for a short time, but the Harris County District Attorney’s Office declined to file charges against him.”  Read more:  https://www.wcsh6.com/news/watercooler/article/227476/108/Man-walked-through-Lowes-store-with-dummy-grenade