Amazon to 'av Ocado?
They'd make quite a pear!
"He doesn’t run any supermarkets and his market share in groceries is minuscule. But Chris North gives grocery the shivers.” So says The Grocer, a trade magazine, which has named the Amazon UK boss as No.1 in the The Grocer’s 100 Power List, beating out more orthodox names such as Aldi UK boss Matthew Barnes, who ranks no.2. …
"A shame, really, estate agents need a good kick up the jacksy."
So does the housebuilding industry.
Unlike British Leyland, it's rather difficult to go and buy competitive product (although a Huf house is competitively priced compared to getting something built by locals)
then I humbly suggest you aren't very good at your business.
The only reason I shop at Sainsburys is geography. It's not the closest supermarket, but it's next to a nice Costa for a post-shop latte. That's the only difference between Sainsburys, Asda, Morrisons, Tesco and Waitrose. All of which are less than 20 minutes drive from me.
When 5 *massive* businesses are (a) shit and (b) indistinguishable, then it's time for Amazon or whoever to show them up.
I live in SW Brum. There's a massive ASDA 15 *walk* from my house (I used to walk there and back as a morning constitutional when the weather wasn't shit).
There's a Morrisons 10 minutes drive, and 5 minutes beyond that a Sainsburys.
5 minute drive gets me to Harborne, where there's a Waitrose (2 miles from the Asda). And 5 minutes drive to Quinton gets me to Tescos.
And in the past, just to prove to SWMBO, I have gone to all 5, and we have seen (apart from own-brand, obviously) they stock (or *don't*) stock exactly the same things.
So, as with genomes that get lazy, and are all susceptible to the same disease, the big supermarkets appear to have become so homogenised it should be childs play to differentiate from them, and steal their customers. And the smaller more niche outlets can stop being so smug. (Looks at the "delicatessens" in the West Midlands who also stock identikit products - and not what I'd want).
Its beyond most peoples comprehension that Amazons original market was Geeks buying heavy expensive technical books and manuals, Cisco and Microsoft press books. From there they conquered the book world and beyond.
The web was orginally a document sharing service populated by computer operators and universities and now is critical to business and most commercial businesses consider launching primarily as a website.
Geeks favoured Apple devices and these days they are the prominant mobile and premium business laptop.
When machines replace workers in site automation and self-learning AI automation robots, the geeks will be kings.
>When machines replace workers in site automation and self-learning AI automation robots, the geeks will be kings.
No, the people who hold the power over the geeks will be kings, as has always been the case. For 'geeks', we can substitute 'stone masons' - they were people that the rulers needed, and couldn't treat too badly (else they would take their skills elsewhere), but kings they were not.
Of course, some geeks have become very powerful today, but they are a few individuals and that power isn't distributed amongst everyone who can code
"For 'geeks', we can substitute 'stone masons' - they were people that the rulers needed, and couldn't treat too badly (else they would take their skills elsewhere), but kings they were not."
The Mamelukes were military geeks. Bought as young slave boys from outside the caliphate - they were rigorously trained to form the caliph's army. Eventually they took over the rule of the caliphate as sultans with a figurehead caliph.
When machines replace workers in site automation and self-learning AI automation robots, the geeks will be kings.
No, no we won't. That's hubris. We'll be redundant like all the other workers.
The main moderating brake on that happening is that we're being offshored to low skill low cost countries like India so fast that we've barely time to keep the plates spinning, never mind automating them.
is anything to go by then I wouldn't be too bothered. The choice of goods is limited and the delivery times are prohibitive (for groceries anyhow), I have used it for a couple of things I can't source locally but not on a regular basis, my local supermarket is on the whole cheaper (even in the sticks of Maine) and I don't have to wait 3-5 days.
If their US Pantry is anything to go by then I wouldn't be too bothered.
I wouldn't expect Amazon to achieve much in this space. I used to work for an EPOS company, and whilst to the outside world all shops just sell stuff, there's big differences in critical success factors between food, fashion, specialist and general merchandise, and the logistics and supply chain structures are very different. It is also notable that many retailers find that their brand and business model don't work in foreign territories, despite an apparent market and supposedly plenty of due diligence (Tesco in the US, B&Q in China, Marks & Sparks in a whole load of countries).
There's certainly nothing to stop Amazon trying, and by buying Ocado they don't have the problem of the Amazon brand not stretching far enough. But how does an Amazon grocery offer scale up to be worth their while? The grocery home delivery market in the UK looks saturated to me, and there's existing brands and propositions at all price/quality points.
I stick to bulk ordering long life stuff through Amazon, sacks of flour, pulses, rice etc. That's almost everything we used to need supermarkets for and massively cheaper. Almost everything else is cheaper at our local farm shop or the market and ready to eat today, not in a couple of weeks or likely to rot before ever ripening supermarket style.
The surprisingly large proportion of people that think the big supermarkets are actually cheap are a tempting target for Amazon because loss leaders aside, it will be trivially easy to crush them on both pricing and choice. For the few of us that live happily with minimal exposure to anything beyond Aldi, don't see any change coming we didn't already buy into, we're reverting to buying from the best supplier for each product, not the hell of the supermarket shopping expedition.
MrsJP is a fan of Ainsleys "Shropshire Pea soup" (no accounting for taste)
Unavailable at any of our local megamarts (I mean *big*).
Had to order from Amazon !
I would welcome Amazon "disrupting" the grocery market. It might mean I can buy what *I* want, not what the supermarkets want to sell to me.
I remember when supermarkets came on the scene, and it was the vast choice that hit you when scanning the shelves, along with the low prices.
Today, the vast choice model has been scrapped and instead we are presented with the limited offerings of preferential suppliers, who basically take less profit on condition their competitors brands are removed from the shelves.
The market is no longer at the whim of consumers, but is directed by a cabal of retailers.
"with the limited offerings of preferential suppliers,"
More likely with more and more "home brand" products. My local supermarket has at least three "different" tiers of home brand products from the plain "black and white" labeling to the "glitzy" premium brand with the gold embossed lettering that is, of course, "available exclusively at...".
Of course the "home brand" products take up the best spots on the shelf because they deliver the greatest profit to the supermarket chain...
Amazon and Ocado could work - Ocado see themselves as a technology company that just happens to sell groceries, and their systems are very clever and nicely set up to make picking and packing lots of orders as efficient as possible, and their customer service is top notch.
Seeing as Amazon these days are a technology company that happens to sell everything, sounds like a good fit! (And would compete with Sainsbury-Argos)
No, never, no.
I do my main shop at one of the big 4 supermarkets. I can choose the things I want. I am not at the whim of a minimum wage stock picker (until Amazon automate it that is).
When I'm done at the supermarket, I head to the local farmers market to get the things that no supermarket would stock. You get to know the suppliers. You can't do that with Amazon.
Then the Amazon delivery service seem to just drop my deiveries on my doorstep without bothering to see it I'm in. so what happens to the frozen goods that I might buy from them if they do the same?
Deliver another soggy mess the next working day?
Mind you, I would never use any of the supermarket's own delivery service.
No you can't. You can choose what you want from what the supermarket wants to stock. Bearing in mind I suspect their priorities will centre around delivering maximum £/cm2 of floor area. What are your priorities.
As I mentioned upthread, there are varieties of *already stocked* brands we can't get at *any* of our local supermarkets.
If I had time, I could draw you up a weekly shopping list you'd be unable to fulfil from Sainsburys, Morrisons, Asda, Tesco, or Waitrose in a single shop. And (if it comes to Ainsleys Shropshire Pea soup) not even then.
Example of market fail: Sungold tomatoes.
And that's quite before you deal with Sainsburys endemic stock control problems (ongoing since 1982 when I worked for them).
My only pause to defend the big markets is that they are very driven by *what they can sell*, which is function of fashion (Bake-off, etc). Being of Italian extraction, stranded in the wastes of the Midlands, I am well aware of how shops are forced to stock what Jocasta and Sebastian saw on "Come Dine With Me" last week. Which is also a factor in farmers markets (still no Sungold tomatoes). That's *if* you live near enough to one. (Luckily, bohemian Harborne, Birmingham, has a monthly one).
Oh, but I do choose what I want at least from the fresh food section.
But I shop locally. I have two Butchers within walking distance. One makes the best sausages in the land (IMHO). The Farmers market and farm shops (for veg) supply the rest.
For the 'dry goods' then mostly I'll buy the own brand not the overpriced heavily advertised branded things.
However, as an old grumpy, I eschew anything that is advertised. Not that I see many anyway.
Each to their own.
When I pay full price for a sandwich, I get the one made this morning from the back of the shelf.
If I ordered over the net, then I'd be given the one from the front of the shelf, two days old and still the same price.
What that particular industry needs, is to wake up to the idea that the price should fall to zero over its lifetime.
So as with the sandwich example. On day one I pay £2, on day two £1, three 50p, four free.
But that will never happen, as large retailers have no intention of sitting full priced fresh stock next to half priced aged, as that is against the laws of profit maximisation. No, the old stock will either be sold at full price or sent to landfill.
Which in a nutshell explains why farmers get paid pennies for items we pay pounds for, it's because we're paying for millions of tonnes of perfectly edible food being sent to landfill.
When I pay full price for a prepacked sandwich it's a distress purchase and the choice the least worst immediate option. The idea that anyone would have this sort of perishable, overpriced, lazy & piss poor food delivered from anything but a local fast food delivery service is bizarre.
Experienced bargaineers also know when they'll be reduced to pennies and it's remarkable how often that matches convenient breaks in a day or nights drinking.
I think the rest of my comment states quite clearly why I cannot use the likes of a carrot to make my point.
But just to make it clear, you can't buy last weeks carrots at half price, because they will not discount them. They are either sold at full price or sent to landfill.
Hell it was only a week or two ago, when Tesco was being challenged on its policy of disposing of fresh fruit and veg by the lorry load, straight from the supplier to the tip.
The veg was fresher than the stock on the shelves, but logistically it made more sense to just throw away the new stock. Discounting it, to get more veg in peoples trolleys, was totally out of the question.
This is not how the free market is supposed to function, and if the likes of Tesco hadn't got such a stranglehold on the grocery market, it just wouldn't happen.
"They are either sold at full price or sent to landfill."
My local Waitrose generally sells off excess fresh fruit and veg at reduced prices. It usually goes to about 20% off a few days before its anticipated expiry date. On the last day it goes to 50% or even less - and in the last hour it can go down to 10p.
A few weeks ago they were selling off a crate of ripe, but not over-ripe, bananas at 19p for 1kg. I bought the fresh stock instead as I keep them for a few days. It was interesting that even that fresh stock was automatically charged at the checkout at the same bargain price.
>so what happens to the frozen goods that I might buy from them if they do the same?
That's a question of implementation, not concept. In theory a refrigerated delivery van *could* bring frozen goods to your door in a better state than you could (if your car doesn't have air-con). Other options include a reuseable thermal box, and maybe a phase-change thermal store 'brick'.
The rest of your points are valid. People's shopping habits vary a lot, but some might have a supermarket deliver the bulk boring stuff and get meats from a local butchers. I use Lidl for many items, but use Sainsburys/Waitrose for other stuff, a farmer's market if I'm passing... My habits are partly informed by my drive home from work.
"[...] I head to the local farmers market to get the things that no supermarket would stock.
At the local farmers' market many prices seem to be calculated on the basis that a small production volume, or trendy adulterations, equals "desirability". The prices often make my eyes water.
The products on offer are often the things that a supermarket would store in a chiller. It is doubtful that the stallholders discard their unsold produce at the end of the day.
Yes there are occasional bargains - like very large cabbages. Otherwise they are often apparently selling on the cachet rather than value for money.
In their home market, Germany, Aldi (and Lidl) are not considered to be supermarkets.
The word "super" does seem a bit of hyperbole, I'd agree. But on the other hand, I'm an Aldi loyalist, having got tired of Tesco's excessive choice and high prices. Why do I need forty three varieties of beans? Or a store so large that stuff can go off between picking it up at the back, and getting to the till?
Buying a small online one, that most people never heard of won't happen. They DID buy IMDB, Goodreads, The Book Depositary etc because that makes sense.
If their bricks and mortar Bookshops work and their own online Grocery works, then they might buy a bricks and mortar chain, or create one.
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