business news in context, analysis with attitude

Yesterday, in "FaceTime," I mentioned that while in Eataly this week, I found a book - "The Little Book of Pasta Tips" - that struck me as a great impulse purchase. And, I said:

Out of curiosity, I checked to see if it was available on Amazon.com - not because, at $4.95, it was expensive, but just because I was curious. Guess what? It wasn't available.

Another great business lesson: Whenever possible, when going up against a bigger competitor, one of the best ways to do it is to actually carry stuff that they can't carry, or just don't.

Sometimes that can be a big thing. And sometimes, a small thing. But having that "thing" - a unique product or service that is uniquely, indisputably you - is absolutely critical.


Only one problem with that.

While the book did not seem to be available on Amazon when I checked on the mobile app, yesterday afternoon it did pop up on Amazon's regular site.

Not sure why this happened, but it did. I'm going to work on the premise that I goofed somehow, and I apologize for that.

I do think, however, that my broader point remains correct - that differentiation always is key, whenever and wherever possible.

I did get one email from a reader who was disgusted with me:

You were experiencing a culinary delight and instead of enjoying the moment as a great experience you, the supreme advocate of differentiation, stooped to show rooming. For shame. For shame. A differentiated experience. A culinary oasis. A place where folks are in sensory overload. All the practices you preach and according to your piece you stop in the middle of the store to see if Amazon has the same book. If it had been less expensive - Did you then have a moral dilemma - Price vs experience. The world wants to know.

As it happens, Amazon is charging 49 cents less for the book than Eataly. But no, in this case, even if it had popped up on my iPhone, I would not have ordered it.

I would take issue with your premise, though. Because considering what I do for a living, it was incumbent on me to check. I'd feel a lot dumber if I had not checked than I do right now for having checked and somehow missed it.
KC's View: