Amazon and redlining?
Amazon and redlining?
Amazon is a great service. Their products, customer service and the pricing make this our go-to site. We love two-day delivery and have used same day and paid for such when we forgot a birthday or wanted to get something to a family member fastest. We have had no issues other than my mom not quite understanding the emailed gift card we sent her (mom figured it out and Amazon was better than most brick and mortar sites about the misplaced email). We love a place we get dog treats, camping supplies, car parts, hockey gear, books and solar lights. But according to the social justice warrior crowd who never lets fact or logic get in the way of a good whine, Amazon is redlining. From the Christian Science Monitor, we find this:
A few years ago, the Seattle-based e-commerce company launched a same-day delivery service that allows some customers to receive their products on the same day, eliminating one of the advantages that retail stores held over Amazon. The service, which is now available in 27 US metro areas, covers about 1,000 cities across the country. It’s part of the Amazon Prime $99 annual membership, which includes two-day free shipping and other benefits such as Prime video and Prime music. The service can also include same-day free shipping for products over $35 in areas where it is available.
What is the service? Prime customers can get same day delivery. On certain items that have to be ordered before noon. My mom and brother live in one of the areas serviced. We do not. Grand Rapids is not one of the 1000 cities selected for this trial run. Note again the word Prime. Our cousins in Kalamazoo or Holland or South Dakota or Long Island or Boca Raton also do not get to use same day service. In the article, the author refers to Bloomberg’s analysis:
In six major same-day delivery cities, however, the service area excludes predominantly black ZIP codes to varying degrees, according to a Bloomberg analysis that compared Amazon same-day delivery areas with U.S. Census Bureau data.
Noting cities including Detroit, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo are excluded as are places like Salt Lake City and Denver. Again this is a trial run.
The disparity in two other big cities is significant, too. In New York City, same-day delivery is available throughout Manhattan, Staten Island, and Brooklyn, but not in the Bronx and some majority-black neighborhoods in Queens. In some cities, Amazon same-day delivery extends many miles into the surrounding suburbs but isn’t available in some ZIP codes within the city limits.
So eight out of twenty seven sites have this supposed issue? Logic asks a few questions: Is Amazon delivering to these neighborhoods and excluded cities? Yes! Are Prime subscribers getting their stuff within 2 days? Yes. And will Amazon increase their service area? Please note the plan:
Amazon says its plan is to focus its same-day service on ZIP codes where there’s a high concentration of Prime members, and then expand the offering to fill in the gaps over time. “If you ever look at a map of service for Amazon, it will start out small and end up getting big,” he says.
In other words, Amazon is starting where they know there are a lot of possible consumers then depending on demand they will increase service areas. This is not redlining. It is trying to get the most bang for their buck.
From Twitter there is a bit of common sense:
@business pure business logistics. An area which purchases less makes it not economically feasible to provide a service.
— ‘lsi M (@ki676love) April 24, 2016
Calling this test marketing racism is frankly just ignorant. Nobody is deprived of a place to live or stuff they need. Is there an issue with access to healthy food in the hood? Yes there is. It is something that the communities and retailers need to address but really irrelevant to Amazon’s function. Is there an issue with housing? Yes but again this is about buying stuff online and how fast you get your stuff.