business news in context, analysis with attitude

From MNB reader Dan Jones, regarding Instacart’s recent troubles:

I understand why grocers leverage Instacart.  And I also understand the risks of losing that connection.  Here is a simple thought – if an Instacart employee gets a tip for delivering products from “Retailer A” Retailer A should match that tip.  That would ensure a focus on the service in the last mile, and set the retailer apart for the disgruntled Instacart employees. 
It might take some negotiation regarding current contracts – but worth the effort.

Not a bad idea. Not what Instacart did, but this could be a nice addition.

Regarding one particular part of Amazon’s business model, MNB reader David Fowle wrote:

I have to wonder.... Amazon's push for replenishment shopping could be a huge win for them, and not so much for consumers... Hit the button when you need more laundry detergent, and you get another box of whatever you normally buy, but if a comparable brand is on sale, too bad you missed it. 

As a shopper, I like trying products that are on sale (which Alexa won't tell me about), and stocking up when my favorites are on promotion (which currently helps Jeff Bezos' profit margin). I'm sure not going to buy produce online - I like to know that the avocado I'm buying is going to be perfect for tomorrow's guacamole. 

I am a Prime member, and use Amazon often for many items not easily available locally, but I doubt grocery shopping will ever be primarily online for me…

And, from another MNB reader, who wanted to follow up on his email yesterday saying that he was unimpressed with one of the Amazon Go stores in Chicago:

OK, so I’m admitting to being somewhat of an idiot because I didn’t really see what went on and passed judgement.

So, I felt guilty forming an opinion without more observation and today I stopped at a railing across from the AmazonGo store, and watched what happened when a train came in. Sure enough, the hordes swarmed out onto the mezzanine and past AmazonGo. It wasn’t a huge crowd, maybe because of the ice storm, but I’d guess it was still 3 – 4 hundred.

8 people went in. Yes, Stealth Shopping . . . grab your stuff and split. Just as anticipated.

So there, Mr. Bezos, it does work! I see it’s appeal.

If it were a ubiquitous 7-11, you’d have to wait for checkout, and I suppose if you were the 8th person, you’d have to wait maybe 4 or 5 minutes.

Is that worth it? Is that what the buzz is about?

Or is it their stuff? I haven’t been in, but it sure looks like the same stuff everybody else carries.

Price maybe?

Does it just boil down to something else you can do with a phone?

I don’t know. I don’t get it.

OK, I guess I’m just old.

KC's View: