Retailers in Pa. and Calif. no longer swimming against a sales tax undercurrent
WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — As of Sept. 1, some 1.2 million Pennsylvanians will be able to go to bed at night secure in the knowledge that their jobs won’t be drowned out by some online juggernaut. And by the middle of September, 3.1 million Californians will be able to breathe that same sigh of relief. That’s how many retail employees there are across those two states. And now that Amazon.com will be levying sales taxes of 6% and 7.25% in each of those states, respectively, that’s how many retail jobs no longer will be threatened by an unlevel playing field.
(THE NEWS: Amazon.com to begin collecting sales taxes for purchases made in Pennsylvania. For the full story, click here.)
Just last week, DSN senior editor Antoinette Alexander outlined why multichannel retailing is so important — 60% of consumers will make their purchases online for only a 5% savings. Only five states don’t charge a sales tax (Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon). There, retailers are on more of a level playing field. The lowest state sales tax is Colorado, at 2.9%. Beyond that sales taxes range from between 4% at the low end and 7.25% at the high end.
In Pennsylvania and California, and in the six other states mentioned in the story, brick-and-click retailers no longer iwill have to discount their merchandise another 6% to 8% just to be in line with Amazon.com’s prices (or any online retailer with a physical presence in each of those states, for that matter). A $100 purchase will no longer cost a consumer $106 (plus gas) at retail, and $100 (plus free shipping) through that online retailer.
That doesn’t mean Amazon.com no longer will be a formidable competitor to the retailers in Pennsylvania and California. And it doesn’t even mean Amazon.com will no longer field a significant competitive advantage in every sector in which they compete. They will and they should.
But let’s face it, the Amazon.com business model is different from traditional retail. They have the buying power of a national chain without the capital costs of brick-and-mortar retail. The future of retailing is gravitating toward online convenience. Adapt or go home. (Check out how Walgreens is making their offering all about the "experience, experience, experience" with one seamless, multichannel play in the Sept. 24 issue of DSN.)
But that’s fair game, because the emphasis for many of the retailers we cover in the pages of DSN is to turn their multichannel offerings into a tactical advantage despite all of that. She wants to shop online? Sure. She wants to then pick that purchase up in the store on her way home from work? OK, no problem. She wants to shop in the store and then have it shipped to her home within the day? If they aren’t already, a lot of retailers are moving in that direction, too.
She wants to save another 6% by hopping over to another URL? Nope, sorry, can’t do that anymore.
What are your thoughts? Sound off in the comments below.
Kirby Lester, Tri State Distribution team up in pharmacy automation deal
LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Kirby Lester will provide pharmacy automation equipment for a distribution company based in Tennessee.
Kirby Lester announced that its KL60 compact robotic dispenser would provide its KL60 compact robotic dispenser, which would be the exclusive pharmacy automation for Tri State Distribution’s TriMaxx three-sided container, closer and label system. The companies announced the deal before the National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ Pharmacy and Technology Conference in Denver, which ended Tuesday.
"We are very pleased to provide robotic automation for this very unique container," Kirby Lester president and CEO Garry Zage said. "With the expanded label space and easy-to-read flat panels, I am confident pharmacies will experience an increase in patient compliance."
The TriMaxx system is designed to provide more space for dosage, refill and warning information than traditional round vials, leaving space for larger font sizes and custom messages for the patient.
Sam’s Club offering diabetes screenings
BENTONVILLE, Ark. — According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1.9 million new cases of diabetes are diagnosed each year. To help its customers better understand this illness, Sam’s Club pharmacy locations are offering free diabetes and vision screenings (diabetes is a leading cause of blindness) for members and the public on Saturday, Sept. 8 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Sam’s Club’s free diabetes screenings are valued at more than $150 and include:
A1C tests (blood test for diagnosed diabetics that measures blood sugar);
Vision tests; and
Blood pressure and body mass index tests.
"Knowing the links between risk factors, choices and solutions prepares our members to better manage — or even prevent — diabetes," Sam’s Club SVP health and wellness Jill Turner-Mitchael said. "As we offer the diabetes screenings for a second year, I am reminded of Member stories where they came in for a screening or product samples and learned about a possible health problem, which led them to make an appointment with a health care provider. It is stories like this that remind us why we offer these invaluable free screenings to our communities."
Sam’s Club has dedicated the current issue of Healthy Living Made Simple magazine to diabetes lifestyle management and prevention tips for September and women’s health tips for October. The next monthly health screening on Oct. 13 will also focus on women’s health.