Thursday, March 06, 2008

Amazon joins wine shipping debate

Amazon.com is joining the interstate wine shipping debate...and in a huge way!
By looking to ship wine via internet sales, they are joining the ranks of other relatively smaller retailers (e.g., Wine.com) which are already doing this. But while the folks at Amazon aren't divulging their long-term motives, it's easy to extrapolate their move as one to become the largest online wine retailer - and they have the mechanism in place to do just that, once they can nail down the model to move it into the buyers' hands....

Their strategy is starting with adding wine onto their existing fresh food (groceries) delivery in Seattle (called "Amazon Fresh"). But while this seems pretty innocuous form the onset, it would look to be only a test shot being fired over the bow of neo-prohibitionists and distributors whom wish to keep this area of commerce for them selves.

One of the benefits of the way that Amazon is doing this right now, is that with a fresh produce delivery, well...you have to have a delivery person, and therefore direct consumer contact as the goods are delivered. This allows for confirmation of the buyers' ages by any said delivery person, and completes the "handshake" to ease fears of those who are worried that teens will be using the service to illegally get wine & booze.

Leave it to a large, well oiled internet shipping machine like Amazon to bring the argument back to a national level - a position this topic hasn't enjoyed since Granholm vs Heald !
Sure, Costco continues to take states on one-by-one, but if Amazon expands it's delivery service to a national level, and can continue to provide this "handshake verification of buyers' ages....well, what're the neo-prohibitionists and distributors going to have left to complain about???

Frankly, I can't really imagine any other Internet Giant doing this...as the sales of all their other items will buoy any shortcomings in cash flow until the project takes off. The only thing I can envision on the same scale would be if eBAY suddenly decided to implement an age verification system and allow online bidding for those hard to find '45 Margaux.....

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is important that Amazon includes a description of where the wines come from that they are selling on its site. Because the consumer is not directly going to a store to examine labels and other indicators of where the wines come from, it's necessary to have this information readily available.
A national poll released in late March found that wine consumers see truth-in-labeling an important factor when it comes to purchasing wines.
If Amazon includes a description of where the wines come from, this further facilitates educating wine consumers about the importance of name protection in the wine industry.

April 01, 2008 1:20 PM  
Anonymous Mike Duffy said...

You and your readers can find more details about the Amazon wine program. It sounds very interesting for both wineries and consumers.

August 16, 2008 6:51 PM  

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