business news in context, analysis with attitude

Internet Retailer reports that and have grown within a year to 320 communities in California, Oregon and Washington by avoiding certain key mistakes that were made by in many of those same markets.

Among the keys cited by the magazine:

•Patience…taking the time to improve both the online and fulfillment experiences.

•Store picking…with “professional pickers” fulfilling orders in-store, and not using expensive centralized and high maintenance warehouses.

•Having a good partner…in this case, having 35 percent of its online business owned by Tesco, which has built a successful and profitable online business in the UK.
KC's View:
Safeway must love these kinds of stories, since its been getting so much negative press from its Dominick’s and Genuardi’s dealings.

But maybe there is a larger lesson to be learned here. Maybe the way it has used Tesco to educate itself about the online business is actually the way it should have used the existing managements of Dominick’s and Genuardi’s to learn about their specific businesses and local consumer desires. Maybe if it had done that, it wouldn’t be facing problems in Chicago and Pennsylvania.


In related news, Internet Retailer announced its top 50 websites for the year. What they have in common, according to the publication, is that “they use the web in innovative ways and, among the vast majority of merchants, to link together multi-channel offerings.”

Linkage is incredibly important, in our view, because it does what retailers need to do -- provide the products the shopper needs, when, where and how she wants them and at a price she considered to be acceptable or a “value.”

In alphabetical order, here are the sites:

    1. 1-800-Flowers
    2. Albertson’s
    3. Altrec
    4. Amazon
    5. American Greetings
    6. BackcountryStore
    7. Barewalls
    8. Bellacor
    9. Best Buy
    10. Blue Nile
    11. Bombay Co.
    12. Buckle
    14. Cabela’s
    15. Camping World
    17. Crate & Barrel
    18. Crutchfield
    19. Dell
    20. Drugstore
    21. eBags
    22. eBay
    23. FAO Schwarz
    24. Fortunoff
    25. Guild
    26. Hanna Andersson
    27. Harry & David
    28. HPShopping
    31. J. Crew
    32. J.C. Whitney
    33. Lands’ End
    34. Lowe’s
    36. Office Depot
    37. Omaha Steaks
    38. Oriental Trading
    39. QVC
    40. RadioShack
    41. Red Envelope
    42. ReturnBuy
    43. Safeway
    44. Sharper Image
    45. SmartBargains
    46. Starbucks
    47. Target
    48. TechnoScout
    49. Tower Records
    50. Undergear

We haven’t been to all of them yet. But we do have some holiday shopping to do (though we may skip…