What a busy and exciting week it has been for the order-ahead market. Following news of M&S Delivery, Amazon has really putting the cat amongst the pigeons with its own announcement:
The war of the giants has begun. In the case of Marks & Spencer the battle is one of impeccable timing.
Since it purchased Wholefoods, Amazon has been perceived as a real threat to M&S’s food existence. As The Telegraph put it, the news came “as Amazon’s entrance into the grocery chain market sends shudders through the market, with M&S perhaps most at risk from its purchase of upmarket grocer Whole Foods…. When Amazon slashed Whole Foods’ prices the week it took ownership of Whole Foods, M&S’s shares fell the hardest out of the grocers.”
And so, with Amazon making moves towards food delivery in the UK, M&S has stepped up, moving fast to put up its defences and launch its counter-strike via M&S Delivery. The questions are these: can M&S complete its digital transformation and hold back Amazon’s forces? Can it take advantage of its longevity in the market to push forward and grow as a result of its food delivery service?
Unlike Amazon, it has the established territory here to do so, time will tell if its approach is solid enough.
With the news this week that Amazon has partnered with Olo, it has become clear that it’s purchase of Whole Foods was just one piece in a larger puzzle. If Bloomberg is right, the relationship between Amazon and Olo will kickstart the immature Amazon Restaurants delivery system.
The tech giant’s restaurant delivery footprint may be small at the moment, but the Olo partnership shows that it intends this to change. If Amazon succeeds with the service in the USA and expands it to the UK, it could start pose a real threat to Deliveroo and its competitors – not just grocers like M&S.
As for Deliveroo, here is a company eager to prove its value. It cleverly followed up last week’s negative news with a strategically released article announcing fresh rounds of funding and a huge valuation exceeding $2bn. It doesn’t intend to lose power to anyone, Amazon included. No doubt following Amazon’s news its C-Suite will be convening a war council to prepare for the impact.
It is going to be a fascinating fight but what I see is this: three players, one of which is looking to be the leader in online food ordering and delivery because it believes it can, and two of which are fighting to maintain their positions and take a stronghold in the market. Which shall win, desperation or ambition? What do you think?
It’s not as catchy as: ‘When is a door not a door?’ (answer, when it’s a jar) but it speaks to the idea that in-car collection, and the technologies that support it, are flexible enough to bend to the needs of a business and its guests.
Delivery can be daunting to the uninitiated, and it might be tempting to sign up with a third-party ordering aggregator that offers the service, such as UberEats, but other options could suit your business and brand better. Here we present three different ‘levels’ of delivery, starting with the most basic – and cheapest method: doing it yourself.