business news in context, analysis with attitude

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

• Grocery delivery company Instacart said yesterday that its Instacart Pickup offering, a click-and-collect service, has gone national and now will be available “in nearly 200 stores across 25 key markets,” at stores that include “Aldi, Cub Foods, Food Lion, Price Chopper, Publix, Schnucks, Smart & Final, Sprouts, Tops Friendly Markets and Wegmans.”

Many of these companies compete with each other, and clearly have made the decision - at least on a short-term basis - that at least in this area, they neither need nor want to differentiate themselves from each other.

Amazon has struck a deal with door hardware snd smart lock company Schlage to develop a new integrated solution that allows “customers to lock their door while away from home via the Amazon Key app when paired to the Amazon Cloud Cam. Customers will receive real-time notifications, live streams, and recorded clips to control and monitor guest access and optional in-home delivery without having to be there.”

The announcement says that “Amazon Key gives you the freedom to manage access to your home when you’re not there. Simply create a guest profile on the Amazon Key App to schedule always, recurring or temporary access for the people you trust. Your guests can conveniently come and go using a secure keypad code and you’ll be notified anytime your door is locked or unlocked. Plus, with the included Amazon Cloud Cam, you can use two-way talk to check in with whoever is entering your home, just like you’re there, and watch motion clips later in the Key App.”

Be clear - this is all about creating technologies that will allow Amazon to have greater access to its shoppers’ lives, which will give it greater access to their wallets.

Reuters reports that Amazon “wants to hire thousands of seasonal delivery drivers to supplement services provided by the U.S. Post Office, United Parcel Service, FedEx Corp. and its own delivery partners … The move comes as the online retailer is also recruiting new delivery service partners, or DSPs, to help reduce delivery costs that more than tripled to $21.7 billion between 2013 and 2017.

“Amazon and its DSP owners are competing for workers in the tightest U.S. labor market in decades. UPS and FedEx combined plan to hire more than 150,000 temporary holiday workers. Along with some Amazon DSPs, they are offering bonuses for attendance, safety and customer service.”
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