I'm trying not to shop on Amazon and I freaking can't: JCPenney, adidas, DSW, and Dick's teardown

November 30, 2017

As mentioned previously, many people at Mirakl have taken a pledge not to shop on Amazon for gifts this holiday season. Our goal is to support other retailers to help them stay in business while they fix their customer experience challenges. Yes, those retailers may have been slow to make the right investments, and aren’t moving quickly enough to fix things, but let’s literally buy them some time.

My life context: 3 small children, busy job, zero time to go to stores, zero time to do much digging online. I'm every working mom. Quick math: Moms have $2.4T spending power, and 70% of moms with children under 18 participate in the workforce, so technically $1.68B is on the line.

Today’s holiday shopping task is to get my niece the pair of adidas Neo Women’s Lite Racer sneakers she wants. I received an Amazon wish list including this item (convenient):

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So there’s my mark, and I start Googling. Scrolling through the Google results, I find my mark and it’s a JCPenney ad. I’m happy to spend my money helping JCPenney, but sadly it’s $10 more. Seems like a significant price to pay and my spending limit is $50. Strike 1: JCPenney.

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I decide to check the manufacturer site out of curiosity. Off to www.adidas.com I go. But, my search for the product “Neo lite racer” is transitioned to a search for “Neo Lifestyle” and my search results are exclusively mens hoodies. What the holy h*ll?

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I really don’t know what’s happening here. Maybe I'm searching for an old product, or maybe adidas has sold some products to some retailers and doesn’t present the full catalog. But when a customer puts in a search term for one of their products, can’t they at least point me to the retailer who has it? Why is it my problem that you have a complicated distribution model? Strike 2: adidas.

Next attempt: DSW. “Shoe Warehouse” is in the title. This has to work.

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No dice: They nailed the price, but don’t have the color. Strike 3: DSW.

At this point I’m freaking out. I feel like Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire.

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My life context is about to push me back to Amazon. I just don’t have time and money to waste on this much longer. I’m going to Dick’s Sporting Goods. In a rare occasion I was at a Dick’s store in Vermont last weekend and they had some good deals.

This is where I drew the line. They don’t have the color, and they’re not even showing me the price. I have to put the shoes I don’t want in the basket to see the price. What is this noise? Strike 4: Dick’s Sporting Goods.

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 This is absurd. Time’s up and I’m buying on Amazon.

What can retailers learn? While they’ve been making their websites responsive and implementing the personalization solution of the day, they’ve missed the boat on product range. They’ve clung to their old model of buying goods so they can control price, which has left them with excess inventory of overpriced things people don’t want. They’ve clung to the thought that curation is still a valuable thing.

Additionally - adidas - and brands in general - you’re also to blame. You’re making consumers pay for your channel dysfunction. And the kicker is the actual payment is going to Amazon because of your failure to meet customer needs.

Retailers: I’ll keep trying, but you can’t keep failing.

"There is only one boss-the customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else." -Sam Walton

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jess Iandiorio

Written by Jess Iandiorio

Jess joins the Mirakl team as the SVP, Marketing after 13+ years in sales & marketing in the Boston tech ecosystem. Prior to Mirakl, Jess helped Acquia grow from $30M to $100M+ by building the digital experience market and Acquia's position in it. Jess was also previously in product marketing at Endeca, a commerce site search vendor sold to Oracle in 2011 for $1B+. Early in her career, Jess spent 5 years at Forrester Research focused on researching enterprise software.