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Controversial Business Moves: Have Amazon Gone Too Far?

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Amazon are a marketplace giant, and their combination of a huge choice of products, low prices, and fast delivery options have seen them wipe the floor with their competitors. It’s even claimed that whole industries have been almost wiped out by the online retailer’s presence. But, where there is brilliance, there is often also controversy. Amazon is no exception. Let’s take a look at some of their most controversial business moves of late!

Packaging

Let’s start with what is perhaps the one thing that we’ve all experienced when shopping with Amazon that has left a sour taste in our mouths: packaging. Now, we live in a world where we’re becoming increasingly aware of the detrimental effects that human activity is having on our planet. One of the main man-made problems posing a threat to our beloved Earth? Waste. We use so many products on a day to day basis that are seen as disposable, and we often throw many products and most packaging away after just a single use. The UK produces around 30.5 million tonnes of waste every single year. Within the EU, people produce around half a tonne of waste per person, and with over 500 million inhabitants, this figure quickly mounts up. America is said to produce 250 million tonnes of garbage on an annual basis. So, when many of us shop, we expect responsible large-scale businesses to use as little packaging as possible and to, preferably, send our purchases in recyclable materials. Sure, this may cost a little more and take a little more time, after all, you’ll have to pick packaging options logically rather than throwing every item into the first box that catches the supplier’s eye, but surely it’s worth it. It really isn’t all too surprising that Amazon causes outrage on a regular basis when they have been reported to send items as small as a phone charger in a box large enough for your small kids and cats to make a fort from. Now, the company has tried to justify this behaviour by saying that they optimise for the whole rather than the individual. Theorist Alexander Savin noted on his twitter feed that “Amazon uses a complicated software system to determine the box size that should be used based on what else is going in the same truck and the exact size of the cargo bay. It is playing an automated Tetris with the packages. Sometimes it will select a larger box because there is nothing else that needs to go out on that specific truck, and by making it bigger, it is using up the remaining space, so items don’t slide around and break. This actually minimises waste and is on the whole q (sic) greener system. Even if for some individual item it looks weird.” While this is an interesting theory, the tweet received all sorts of lash back from people refuting the theory. Many believe that the genuine reason for entirely environmentally unfriendly packaging is because Amazon promises such fast delivery that workers have just a matter of seconds to grab the nearest box or packaging to get the item out on time.

Drone Delivery

Again, convenience has come hand in hand with another complaint for the big bosses at Amazon. Sure, we’re all now familiar with Amazon Prime, a service which offers guaranteed next day delivery on a whole host of items. But have you heard of Amazon Prime Air? This is a fully autonomous system where a drone (otherwise known as an aerial vehicle) without a human pilot can deliver goods to customers within 30 minutes or less of completing their order. Sounds like something from the future, right? While this service hasn’t yet been launched by the company, it is in development and trial, and Amazon hopes that one day seeing an Amazon drone delivering goods by air will be as common a sight as seeing one of their delivery trucks travelling down the highway. People, expectedly, have a lot of questions surrounding the practice. They want to know how heavy the goods that this method could deliver can be (the answer, so far, is five pounds), where they are testing (there are currently trials in the United States, United Kingdom, Austria, France, and Israel), and whether weather will affect the service (the company claim that they aim to operate in daylight when there are low winds, there’s good visibility, and a lack of rain, snow, or ice). Perhaps the most important issue on our minds, however, is how Amazon intends to navigate the airspace in each given country, as drones are a risk to planes. This is still being negotiated, so perhaps it will be a while before we really do see these plans come into practice and public use.

Live Purchases

Perhaps the most recent controversy associated with this retail giant is its delivery of live animals. The company has been slammed by animal activists and many consumers alike for offering home delivery of live animals such as lobsters and crabs. Not only is the method of boiling these creatures alive for consumption cruel in and of itself and something that shouldn’t be promoted at all (nevermind in the home and left to the hands of inexperienced and unprofessional cooks), they can also face the cruel fate of being left in boxes for days as they make their way from supplier to consumer. This is a sad case of sentient creatures being treated like commodities on a whole new level. Many customers have since cancelled their accounts completely, stating that they will not return to Amazon until they cease this cruel practice.

As you can see, Amazon is no stranger to controversy, and some of the decisions that they have made in their process of trying to meet the mass market’s needs and expectations really have backfired. However, where there is a complaint, there is room for improvement, and hopefully, they will begin to take customer feedback into account, ensuring that their business becomes as eco-friendly, safe, and cruelty-free as possible!

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Student @ Advanced Digital Sciences Center, Singapore. Travelled to 30+ countries, passion for basketball.

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Explore What May Work Better For Your Business

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Marketing business work

What works for one business is not necessarily going to work for another. But one mistake that many small business owners make is chasing solutions that they see working for other businesses. It leads to the copycat style of business, and it’s not always going to do good. It’s easy to follow in the footsteps of those that have gone before you, but now that the business market is so crowded, following what someone else is doing is not going to get you anywhere. Being in business should be about being innovative and successful. We know that someone is always going to have done what you have done, but you should be figuring out what works for your business based on your own ideas. There are ideas such as marketing techniques that work universally, but there are some things that we’re going to discuss today. We want to show you how you can explore what may work for your business, and the areas of your business that might need a little boost at this time of the year. We’re still very much in the New Year dip in terms of sales, so hopefully this will help you boost them!

Better Business Management 

Better business management is obviously going to improve the chances of success of your business. We’re not all born to manage a business, and often, the modern day entrepreneur is setting up their business without a clue what they’re doing. There are some that start out having been a manager at a company before, but still, the actual processes of running a business are all a learning curve. Some of you may not have learnt as well as others. Although you will have learnt how to make sure your business is running, when you get to the stage of hiring employees, you’ll realise you don’t know much about business management. About how to get a team of people working together to do the work that you used to do on your own. So better management techniques could be monthly meetings to check in on your employees, even if you only have one. Get them to explore share their worries and support them. Business is always going to work better if you do.

Better Data Management

Data management becomes essential to a growing business. Filing away loose pieces of paper, and using computer systems to electronically organise files is not going to work. There are only so many folders and documents you can store before it gets too chaotic, especially for a growing business. So you suddenly require a database, and enter this alien world that you don’t understand. Which is why it’s best left to an expert. They can advise you what database will work for you, such as this oracle database compare, and support you with it along the way. It takes specialist companies who dedicate their time to data management to actually control the database and utilise it. A company can easily use the database to process and understand customer data, for example, which can then allow sales to be manipulated.

Better Social Media Management

Social media management is key to a small business. It’s usually the marketing technique of choice for a startup, and sometimes we see such poor management of it. Social media management should be daily. You should be taking time each hour to interact with customers, post to your social media pages, and gain a following. The world is revolving around social media at the minute, so it’s the perfect place to attract the right attention. It’s not something that’s going to happen in a week or two, it’s something that’s going to happen over the course of many months. Building a following takes knowing algorithms, customer interests, and the best way to make posts look eye catching.

Improve Your Customer Relationships

Customer relationships are hard to maintain. Once you get on a path of creating problems with a few, the bad reviews come flooding in, and your company suffers because of it. So, to improve customer relationships, you need to focus on building rapport beforehand. Customers need to know that you’re interested in something other than a sale. If all you’re talking is numbers and products or services, you’ll fail to build solid relationships. If you learn about their lives and take an interest, they become long term customers. It’s simply what’s needed to build basic human relationships, let alone a customer to business one. Loyal customers are the backbone of a growing business.

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Breach Interceramic with payments agreed to Dal-Tile and Mohawk Industries

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The plan of Interceramic´s president in Mexico, Víctor Almeida García, to turn the company he directs into a relevant player of that industry but in the United States, falls apart with accusations of default of agreed payments, in a sales process in the one that participated with two North American companies.

The conflict has as its origin that for some years, Internacional de Cerámica S.A.B. from C.V. (Interceramic), belongs to the American firm Dal-Tile International, Inc., which in turn is part of the American giant Mohawk Industries, Inc, both companies with subsidiaries in Mexico.

Almeida García himself said in recent months that the company he runs was at a vulnerable point, since the demand for its products in Mexico has declined considerably in recent years, in addition to maintaining a historical debt in dollars, which makes Your income an unstable situation.

Under that context, Dal-Tile determined to liquidate the Mexican company Recubimientos Interceramic, S.A. de C.V, of which it is a partner, as well as closing the production plant in Mexico, supported by an arbitration process.

Although Interceramic has filed lawsuits and appeals to appeal the decision of the company belonging to Mohawk Industries, the resolutions have not been in its favor in the absence of compliance with payments and evidence, as judicial and federal authorities have granted protections to Dal-Tile to stop the legal process to which the Mexican company clings.

Among other accusations, Interceramic in Mexico has argued that this is a case of corruption, bribe of judges, influence peddling and nepotism, however, it has not presented any evidence confirming its appeals.

In November 2019, Interceramic filed a criminal complaint with the Special Prosecutor’s Office in Combating Corruption, an agency that responds to the Attorney General’s Office, against the Tenth District Judge, Matilde del Carmen González Barbosa and the Magistrates Ignacio Cuenca Zamora and José de Jesús González Ruiz, both officials from Chihuahua, a Mexican state located in the north of the country, who have been pointed out about corruption, influence and bribery traffic, without having proven their participation in the process, whose file number It is FED / FECC / UNAI-CHIH / 0000712/2019.

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6 Things That Can Undermine Your Small Business

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business success

It’s not easy running a small business, as anyone who has undertaken that challenge can attest to. You need to work harder than the bigger companies around you, with a smaller budget and a smaller team. However, while there are plenty of external aspects that can make it difficult to build success, sometimes the damage happens internally, too. Many small business owners end up inadvertently undermining their business, without realizing it. Below, we take a look at some of the more common mistakes that company owners make, as well as provide some tips on how to overcome them. 

Jack of all Trades

You might know that you’re a small, one-person operation, but there’s little value in shouting it from the rooftops. Your customers don’t need to know that, or at least not from their very first interaction with you. It just doesn’t always look so great if a person is the receptionist, accountant, support person, and expert in the company. If you’re handing out business cards, put your name and your main role as the title. You may also consider outsourcing your receptionist duties to another company. Both these things will make your small venture look bigger than it really is.

A Bad Employee

However, it’s not as if you’re out of the woods just because you’ve got a team of staff. The more people that you add, the more potential there is for something unprofessional to occur; at least when it’s just you, you’re aware of what’s going on. Because of the impact that your employees can have, it’s really important that you take steps to develop a robust hiring policy, one that’ll lead to professional and courteous employees coming on board. Don’t forget: everyone at your company has the potential to undermine your professionalism. 

Inconsistent Branding

It’s important that you’re firing on all cylinders if you’re going to make the most of your business. As we said earlier, you’ll be competing against bigger companies, so there’s little margin for error. In your quest to deliver your best, your branding will be key. If you get this aspect of your business right, then you’ll appear much larger than you really are. However, in many cases, business owners don’t take their branding as seriously as they should, and it shows. The message and the visuals used to portray that message can be used inconsistently. As such, it’s recommended that you use a Corporate Identity Management platform, which will help ensure that all your visual assets are used correctly. Ultimately, it’s all about creating a solid image of your business in the eyes of your potential customers.

Lack of Updates

You might have worked hard to develop an excellent website when you first got your business up and running, but alas, it’s not as if you can just sit back and enjoy your work. If your business is going to stay relevant, then it needs to be updated. This doesn’t mean changing everything; it just means showing that the website is actively managed, rather than dormant. You could have a blog, for example, or slightly change your design to match whatever is happening seasonally (such as Christmas or Halloween). The same principle applies to your social media channels. They can be excellent tools for your business, but only if there are regular updates. There’s nothing sadder than seeing a company’s Facebook or Twitter page that hasn’t been updated in months. It can make people doubt if the company is still in operation.

Untidy Environments

So far, we’ve talked about the things that you pump out into the world, such as your website and branding and so on. But from time to time, you may find that you have visitors to your work premises. This is another area where things can be undermined, so it’s important to look at your environment and ask some questions, such as: is it tidy? Does it reflect your company well? Is there anything that would give someone an unfavorable impression of our business? People do, rightly or wrongly, make snap judgements about, well, everything. If your offices fall short in any way, then it could be a mark against your business. 

Suppliers and Practices

Finally, it’s always worth interrogating your working practices to ensure they’re in line with modern standards and expectations. If they’re not — say, you’re using practices that harm the environment and/or people — then there could be a backlash. It pays to have an ear to the ground and move as times change.

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