retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

There are generations of people who have no idea who Jim Croce was and who never have listened to his music.  Which is a shame.

I was thinking about this the other day while I was listening to Croce on iTunes:

You don't tug on Superman's cape

You don't spit into the wind

You don't pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger

And you don't mess around with Jim

Yahoo Finance has an interview with Scott Moses, head of the grocery & restaurants investment banking practice PJ Solomon (and an MNB fave), who talked about what retailers have to do in order to compete with Amazon.

"You're never going to beat Walmart on price. You're never going to beat Amazon on convenience. The way that you win is on experience and on trust," he said, adding that "retail is all about customer retention, customer acquisition, and they're [Amazon] making that investment in order to get people to continue to buy."  

While most retailers (in fact, most countries) don't have the access to investment capital that Amazon does, Moses's argument is that they certainly need to do the things that Amazon cannot or will not do, but that can help them retain and acquire customers.

The fact is that Amazon hasn't figured everything out.  The story points out that "while online groceries sales from both Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods spiked this quarter, Amazon did not see the same increase from physical sales at Whole Foods, which it bought in 2017. Physical store sales declined slightly from the same quarter a year ago."

In other words, Amazon does have vulnerabilities.  Or, as we like to say here on MNB, there is no such thing as an unassailable advantage.  That's the Eye-Opener.

Remember that in the Jim Croce song (spoiler alert!), Jim ends up meeting up in a fight with Willie McCoy, who goes by the name of Slim … and the song ends:

You don't tug on Superman's cape

You don't spit into the wind

You don't pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger

And you don't mess around with Slim.