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MNB user Frederic Arnal had some thoughts about our review of Chris Anderson’s book, “The Long Tail”:

As an ecommerce retailer, I was interested in your comments regarding the "Long Tail" hypothesis of Chris Anderson. You might enjoy an article by John Cassidy in The New Yorker issue of July 10/17 titled "Going Long".

Cassidy points out that the phenomenon (marketers riding the tail) is pretty much concentrated with what he calls "long tail aggregators" in e-commerce... Netflix, Amazon, Google, iTunes, eBay, etc. These mega-sites are contributing to what soon could become ecommerce oligopolies. And data shows that the 80/20 rule is still alive and well. Speaking personally, the majority of our sales and gross margin dollars are still generated by less than 20% of our assortment. The Wall Street Journal also published a critique taking issue with the data in the book.

Finally, Cassidy makes a terrific comment regarding the state of this New Economy, "... it depends on whether you're looking at the long tail - or at who's wagging it".

We think it would be a mistake to suggest that we are anywhere but at the beginning of the “long tail” economy. It is a phenomenon that is just in the beginning stages for most businesses…but we think Anderson’s projections make a compelling case for how things will change in the future.

We also had a related email from an MNB user who is a dedicated Amazon’s customer:

I’ve experimented with buying more than books and movies from Amazon, with great results: paper goods, household cleaning supplies, even liquid laundry detergent – low prices, freight free, and – no waiting in lines or hassling with driving and parking –or unpleasant cashiers……! Sure I had to wait for my stuff to arrive, but I ordered quantities and planned ahead.

The search system they have is so idiot proof, and I find myself typing in “wonder if they have THIS” – whatever – “contact lens solution? Baking soda? My favorite meal replacement bar? ” – and finding that – they do!

I like their program of emailing me “if you bought this, you might like this” and have gotten ideas and ordered more items, because they make it so EASY. Sure, I’m giving them market data they can track, but they’re giving me ease, convenience and eliminating stressors from my grocery shopping. I’ll still go to brick and mortar stores for instant gratification (such as the fan I bought from Target when the A/C was out during the heat wave!) – but I am sold on Amazon’s expanding grocery biz…

One MNB user had some thoughts about our Wegmans comments from last week:

As a vendor for Wegmans, we have been invited to their “vendor appreciation” event they hold yearly. Only certain vendors are invited, and I don’t know the reasons why, but here is what Wegmans does each year with this event:

1) Invite selected vendors to attend a one-day table top show in a unique location (one year, it was in an art gallery, surrounded by sculptures of all shapes an sizes, all around and above the tables!).

2) All staff are required to attend, and are paid to do so.

3) Each group of staff meet with vendor reps for 20 minute intervals, hearing the selling points of each product line, then in an organized fashion, move from table to table, sampling, learning, meeting, greeting and otherwise engaged in getting more familiar with the products, manufacturers and some of the people behind them, that grace their store’s shelves

4) Wegmans hosts a fine dinner in a local restaurant, as a way of saying “Thank You” to their vendors. That Wegmans pays for!!

I can assure you, after years in sales, taking customers to lunch, dinners, flying them in for plant tours, etc., i was very unique and refreshing – and so very Like-like! – to have the customer thank US for what we do for them! This, to me, speaks volumes of why they are so successful, and have been voted twice in the past two years as the #1 place to work. If how they treat their vendors is an indication of how they treat their staff – it is no surprise they are as successful as they are.

We refer to them internally as “our dream account” and wish that all our accounts were as delightful to work with….WIN WIN indeed! We appreciate all our accounts, but to have an account appreciate us….WOW! They really walk the talk of “what you send out comes back to you” and “as you sow, so shall you reap”.

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