retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Regarding the T-shirts that Walmart has pulled off its site because they seemed to promote gun violence, MNB reader Woody Weddington wrote:

Have we became a society of people that are so intolerant that a retail market is so restricted to selling merchandise that they no longer can make a profit.  If Walmart doesn’t sell items, Amazon will.


But what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

MNB reader Steve Rash wrote on a different issue:

Your anger with Instacart is misplaced.  You should be angry with the retailers who chose to ignore an upcoming trend and allowed the space for Instacart to be created.  This is not a new trend.  It's been almost 20 years since Peapod and MyWebGrocer began offering delivery.    Instacart is filling a need that allows these retailers to offer delivery to their customer base, with little-to-no investment, so they can still try to be competitive.  The convenience of delivery is no doubt the driving factor here.  But, I'd argue that most folks hate going to a grocery store to shop because the task is such a miserable one.  The retailers created that by being a transaction oriented merchant vs. building relationships.  The customers using Instacart were just waiting for something better to come along.  Well, it's here.

First of all, I’m not angry at anybody. Frustrated, maybe. Passionate about this issue, certainly.

I think I’ve actually been pretty clear that I completely understand why Instacart is doing what it is doing, and why it is a good business model - for Instacart and its investors. It is even a good short-term solution for retailers who need to get into delivery fast.

My problem is with retailers who want to outsource this segment of their business for the long-term, and who in my opinion are being way too cavalier with customer data, virtually empowering Instacart to steal their customers and subvert their businesses.
KC's View: