Black Friday/Cyber Monday vs Boxing Day

It appears that the Good Friday and Cyber Monday sales may be winning over Boxing Day sales in Canada and the U.k. But if you’re looking for Christmas merchandise and deep discounts on electronics, the later may be preferable.

Basically, people are using Black Friday and Cyber Monday to score gifts and Boxing Day for personal purchases, sweets and impulse purchases of overstock products.

I’ve personally stocked up on chocolates using my Canadian Tire money and Optimum Points at Shopper’s Drug Mart because nothing beats free, discounted chocolates. And I also for deep discounted Christmas themed air fresheners free using loyalty programs cause I own a cat and I happen to like pine and cinnamon/gingerbread. 🙂

The boxing day sales are all week on Amazon.ca and Indigo so i’m keeping an eye out for stuff I might need in the new year. And the dollar’s stronger so I’m also looking at the year end deals are available on Amazon.com.

I’ve already imported what I wanted from the U.k, the Deluxe version of Fleetwood Mac’s “Tango In The Night“. But decided to wait for the 30th Anniversary boxed set of Def Leppard’s “Hysteria” and Queen’s “News Of The World” 40th anniversary boxed set. I’m hoping to score those later, hopefully during one of these sales.

I’ve also just run into this whilst browsing today, which is incredibly tempting regardless of the fact that I pretty much already have everything that’s included on this boxed set.

Decisions. Decisions.

My Year End Predictions For Retail

With the death of Sears Canada, had become obvious that retail is changing way quicker than anticipated by economists.

Back in the 90’s, I suspected something was going on in the industry because one of the stores I had expected to have a future went under a few years after I had left the company.

Consumers Distributing was a chain of stores in Canada and the United States that operated with catalogs like Sears but dedicated only a small portion of their retail space to displays at all of their stores. And most of their merchandise could be found stacked on shelves the back of their outlets, which were brought forward by associates to the consumer, who chose their products from catalogs located in the retail space.

Had they survived into the 2000’s, I suspect they would have progressed from their six-digit catalog system, where people physically presented order slips to an order desk or called an order in using their credit cards, to a touchscreen system that simply gave consumers an order number. And I suspect Amazon would have simply purchased the company, automating the warehouse space further.

Unfortunately, the 212 store chain went under because Sears Canada had a foothold in the catalog market and it just could not survive both the recession of the time and Walmart’s expansion into the Canadian market. But I suspect Amazon may have a limited number of retail outlets that closely resemble Consumer’s Distributing stores in the future, where people could place orders and pick up purchases 24/7 from coded lockers.

Amazon Pickup Point locations already exist in Canada and the United States. And I believe they will likely expand these to Whole Foods locations, a chain that was recently purchased by Amazon.com, creating one stop shop locations in the major cities.

I’m personally hoping they’re going to convert my local Sears Home store here in Western Ottawa to a Whole Foods/Amazon outlet. But I doubt they will consider taking over that many Sears retail stores because the large department store format is pretty much dead.

Consumers are previewing merchandise online so retailers will not need to provide as many displays as they did before. And with 3D technology, I suspect people will scroll through merchandise on virtual reality headsets with customized 3D imagery before 2020.

Optometrist retailer sites already offer services in which people can place frames on their faces and all one would need to do in the very near future is to provide their measurements for virtual models, who would wear clothing for consumers to preview.

Norstrom currently offers a service where clothing is set aside for people to try out and I suspect other stores will offer this convenience shortly through their website, with the aforementioned virtual modeling. And I wouldn’t be surprised some stores would offer perks like high-end coffee and/or liquor through these services as well.

In regards to drones and self-driving vehicles, I don’t know if drones would be the best choice for our weather.

Not only does it get quite cold in most of Canada’s major cities during the winter, it also gets quite windy.

Those who have tried to take digital photographs in the cold here can attest to issues related to draining batteries and I’m sure that drones would be constantly slammed on the side of buildings and into trees by the wind in my suburb. We even get the occasional microburst here.

Self-driving vehicles are currently being tested in my community and I’m expecting pizza/food delivery to be the first service in my area to take advantage of this new technology. But I doubt I’ll be seeing drones delivering goods in my area before 2020, especially fragile items.

The Transport Canada regulations to fly drones are quite tight and I believe we are more likely to get deliveries from our grocery stores and pharmacies in normal vehicles for quite some time. Several of my local grocery stores have only recently started offering click and collect services.

I personally don’t see many advances in music retail either.

As you may or may not know, I had originally wanted to have a career in music retailing. But when the MP3 came along I knew stores would likely go online.

Vinyl sales will continue to expand slightly until higher resolution recordings become the norm and offer the depth of vinyl. And High Definition radio will eventually become the norm, requiring consumers to purchase equipment to listen to the higher resolution recordings, although most stations will likely continue to broadcast in FM and simply include high definition recording data on the same signal.

I don’t believe Canada will follow Norway’s example and go all digital because we haven’t gone all digital when it comes to television in the minor markets. And the government will probably want as much access to Canadians as possible for emergency and weather-related broadcasts so I won’t personally be purchasing an HD radio compatible device for some time.

Even if I wanted to purchase a receiver now they’re over $100 at the moment and there are only three of four HD radio stations in my city. It just isn’t a priority for most and will not likely be until well past 2020, although virtual reality multi-cam live concerts could be a “thing” soon.

4k cameras are getting incredibly compact and can be placed in multiple discrete locations at venues, enabling broadcasts to fans via the internet now. Mostly static front row, mezzanine, and other multiple angle shots but we can just imagine what they’ll be able to do soon with VR headsets. 360-degree 4k live shots of entire performances from the front row or stage, perhaps?

I don’t expect everything to happen next year but it’ll be quite interesting after 2020.

Some Re-Assuring Words From Ted Cruise

Apparently, Ted Cruise has decided to share some reassuring words on twitter :

Oh, so no internet provider in the United States will ever decide to hinder access to specific sites that didn’t pay to access their customers? No-one will ever have their access hindered to specific services unless they pay more? And no-one will ever need to file class action lawsuits, to eventually get pennies on a dollar back?

For two years AT&T has demanded Apple block Skype because they were losing long distance fees. And did they learn their lesson? Nope. They blocked Facetime on iOS devices until 2012 and joined Sprint and Verizon in 2011 to block Google Wallet.

Why exactly would history not repeat itself?

Gmail/Youtube coming back to Fire ?

Amazon has decided to sell Google Chromecast and Apple TV products again and Gmail, Youtube and Google Play users may be able to access those services through the Fire TV or the Fire tablets again. These products have re-appeared on amazon.com should be re-appearing on the Canadian site soon.

RIP Net Neutrality

The FCC has voted to end Net Neutrality in the United States with a vote of 3 to 2.

So, what now?

Well, according to a vice president at Comcast everything would be pretty much the same for their customers, making me wonder why they needed to throw the baby out with the bathwater to obtain status quo?

What exactly did net neutrality hinder really? Where are the pro-consumer explanations as to why it had to go, beyond the vague generalizations provided?

What’s to stop the internet providers from striking deals with American companies to slow access to their competitors down now? Where are the rules to protect foreign companies from protectionism?

American consumers will now be beta testing whatever comes along, on their dime, until rules are established. And by then if actions are taken against anyone via the usual class action suits, the consumer will get pennies on the dollar back.

Seriously, what exactly is the average American getting out of this?

Ontario Scalper Bill Debate

The proposed law to regulate ticket scalping and the use of bots is being debated for the last time today in the Ontario Provincial Legislature. But apparently, some ticket companies are complaining that the proposed 50% above ticket value cap will simply drive scalpers to other sites.

As an event ticket purchaser, I can reassure them that I will never go out of my way to find more expensive tickets. And quite frankly I would distrust these rather shady scalpers, as would anyone else, especially if they sold their tickets on unregulated, questionable sites.

I suspect that most of these tickets would be fake so where’s the argument against the 50% cap, really? How exactly would legitimate sites profit by selling these fake tickets?

Steps need to be taken against the utter nonsense that’s happening. And this is simply the first step.