Walmart is set to deliver groceries to your fridge. Now, more than 10 million items on Amazon qualify for free 1-day shipping far outpacing Walmart’s recent rollout of next-day delivery. Plus, Amazon will start to drone delivery of small packages to customers in months.
The retail war for our dollars is heating up. It’s a reminder that choice and competition are hallmarks of free markets and capitalism.
Walmart wants to enable the couch potatoes or the super busy with a service that leaves putting away their groceries to them. Here's how their service works according to CNN reporting:
Customers can purchase groceries online and select a delivery day. Walmart's employees will wear a camera when they enter customers' homes, allowing shoppers to watch the process live from their phones. Customers won't have to pay for a camera, but they will have to purchase a special door lock. Walmart did not say how much the lock will cost.
Meanwhile, Amazon wants to employ drones to reduce the costs of the last mile of delivery. They are one step closer to eliminating the need for delivery services like UPS, USPS, Fedex and DHL — putting the drivers and trucks that power those delivery services out of commission.
These two companies, which represent the largest online retailer and the largest brick-and-mortar store, are vying for our coveted consumer dollars and brand loyalty.
Both companies are competing against each other and also with other retailers in a contest that never ends. As they aim to stay on top and expand their bottom line, they will find ways to deliver more of what we as consumers desire whether that’s more ease or greater customization.
They've moved beyond just competing on low prices to other dimensions of customer experience: speed and convenience. This is a great example of what a free-market, capitalist system fosters: innovation, evolution, choice, and low prices.
You don’t get this with socialism.
Under a pure socialist economy, the government, not individuals and companies, owns the means of production and centrally plans economic activity. The government determines the amount of output and pricing levels of goods and services. There’s no incentive to be risk-taking and start the next Google, Apple, or Facebook.
Without market signals like prices and demand, there’s no way for an online retailer to know which products are selling faster than others and to produce more of what consumers want or less of what they don’t want.
Capitalism doesn't guarantee that retailers won't be priced out of business, but it does make it possible for new competitors to throw their hat into the ring.
We can only imagine what retail will look like in a year from now, but no doubt there will be new services and goods that we can enjoy thanks to capitalism.