business news in context, analysis with attitude

…with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

Bloomberg reports that Amazon’s Alexa-powered smart speakers have run into a mundane retail issue.

Being out of stock.

According to the story, “Several of the e-commerce giant’s online stores in North America and Europe showed various models of the Alexa-powered line of gadgets temporarily out of stock on Monday, with shipment delayed to January or beyond in some places.”

The good news is that the line’s popularity continues. The bad news is that every out-o-stock is a lost sale opportunity, leaving an opening for the competition.

• Stew Leonard’s announced that three of its independently owned liquor stores - the Stew Leonard's Wines and Spirits in Norwalk, Danbury and Newington, Connecticut - now will use Instacart to deliver wines, beers and spirits. The Stew Leonard’s food stores also use Instacart for delivery

While my friends at Stew Leonard’s say that this is both innovative and convenient, I would point out them - gently, because I like them - that the one thing it isn’t is differentiated … because Instacart also serves customers of a nearby Total Wine. And King’s Fine Wines. And Balducci’s Fine Wines. And, for that matter, competing grocers that include ShopRite, King’s, Balducci’s, Acme, Fairway and Costco. I understand why companies do this … but it is important, I think, to point out that these are not undifferentiated advantages.
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