TECHNOLOGY

Online giant’s ‘technical error’ exposes customer information

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Mere hours before the holiday shopping season commences, Amazon is facing customer fallout stemming from an unexpected technical glitch.

Affected customers received an email that revealed the online giant exposed some customers’ names and emails due to a “technical error.” The email said, “Hello, We’re contacting you to let you know that our website inadvertently disclosed your name and email address due to a technical error. The issue has been fixed. This is not a result of anything you have done, and there is no need for you to change your password or take any other action.”

However, customers remained unsatisfied, and took to Twitter to complain.

A tweet from @gcluley stated, “Amazon warns customers it leaked their names and email addresses. What aren’t you telling us Amazon, and why?”

Another tweet from @briankrebs said, “Amazon’s legit been sending out notices saying sorry we exposed your email address. Seems likely related to this http://wsj.com/articles/amazo … Besides the brevity, what’s giving people pause is they sign the email http://Amazon.com (https://www.amazon.com) Why cap the “a” and why no https://? Strange”

Amazon did not answer questions about how many customers were affected by the error nor about how long information was exposed, according to CNBC, which cited BetaNews, which first broke the story.

“Consumer trust is an invaluable currency for digital brands, one that is both hard to obtain and extremely easy to lose,” said Travis Jarae, CEO of OWI, an independent advisory firm focused on trust and the data economy. “Amazon’s hesitance to disclose the full scope, details, and timing of the data breach affecting their customers stands to jeopardize Amazon’s market-leading position of trust with global consumers.”

This is not the first technology snafu that Amazon has suffered. Just as the online giant’s annual Prime Day sale was about to kick-off on July 16, at 3 p.m. EST, Amazon’s website and mobile app both suffered an outage that caused digital deal seekers to receive a variety of error messages that featured the “dogs of Amazon.” Some users were initially unable to enter the site, while others were caught in a loop of pages urging them to “Shop all deals.”

After some investigation, the online retailer reported that a failure to secure enough servers to handle the traffic surge on Prime Day caused the outage. To remedy the situation, the e-retailer launched a scaled-down backup front page and temporarily killed off all international traffic, according to internal Amazon documents obtained by CNBC.

Despite the snafu, shoppers spent an estimated $4.2 billion during the 36-hour shopping extravaganza for Prime members, up 33% from a year ago, according to Bloomberg, which cited estimates from Wedbush Securities Inc. analyst Michael Pachter.

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TECHNOLOGY

Holiday shoppers have no patience for bad in-store experiences

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Consumers are ready to spend this holiday, but not necessarily at the same places they shopped last year.

This was according to A.T. Kearney’s “2018 Holiday Shopping Survey: How Retailers Can Capitalize on Last Year’s Lessons,” in which 40% of respondents plan on buying from different retailers, on and offline, than they did in 2017. And 23% of those surveyed indicated a willingness to shift their primary buying online, or to mobile, as a result of bad in-store experiences.

The survey polled 1,000 shoppers about how their 2017 experience would influence their 2018 spending. It found that consumers—battle-scarred by last year’s memories of long lines, aggressive crowds, out-of-stock items, and poor service—are more than ready to seek out stores and websites prepared to give them what they want, how they want it. Over 60% of holiday consumers said they are willing to change where they shop based on their negative experiences last year.

Holiday shoppers are clearly intent on getting the best deals, but avoiding the holiday rush has become their second most important objective, according to the survey. Long checkout lines and out-of-stock issues are the top drivers of switching behavior.

Retailers can attack long lines and out-of-stocks through a combination of both human and operational remedies, advised A.T. Kearney. To do this, retailers hope to hire about 10% more holiday workers than in 2017, but the market for experienced seasonal labor is tight, competitive, and expensive.

There are non-labor-based solutions available as well. Automation and supply chain efficiencies can help offset the impact of labor shortages. For example, retailers are making self-checkouts more available and investing in technologies like automated solutions for detecting out-of-stocks.

“Whatever the remedy, the message to retailers is clear: consumers are going to be more impatient and less forgiving than they were in past years. And, in a year when those shoppers have more money in their wallets and are more open to spending it, not giving them what they want could be a very expensive mistake,” the study said. Read more about

For A.T. Kearney’s 2018 Holiday Shopping Survey, click here.

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R.Baker says:
Nov-27-2018 11:34 am

If I have to check out at a local store myself, I might as well order from Amazon. There is always a problem with self checkout. Want to see great customer service at a supermarket, visit a Harris Teeter. Or Market Basket in MA. Market Basket is humming on a Saturday night, 25 registers are there, and 20 open. Walmart has 20 registers, with 3 open.

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TECHNOLOGY

Costco ends meal kit pilot

BY CSA STAFF

Costco has become a victim of Blue Apron Holdings’ many recent operational cuts.

Mere days before the holiday season officially kicks off, Blue Apron has indefinitely ceased its pilot program with the warehouse club retailer. The program initially launched in May, according to MarketWatch.

This was one of many announcements that the meal kit company made during its earnings call last week. Others included that the company will restructure its business, a move that will cut 4% of its workforce, or 100 positions.

To read more, click here.

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