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Editorial: Ocado bullish despite Amazonian pressure


Every time Amazon does something grocery related, a lot of people start writing Ocado off. Why is that?
It doesn’t seem to matter that Ocado covers most of the UK and AmazonFresh isn’t even in operation across the whole of London, but when it was announced that Amazon Prime customers in select London locations would also be able to buy groceries, it was Ocado people started looking at balefully. The #AzMo Amazon/Morrisons tie-up in March of this year triggered similar responses.

But with sales up, an increase in profit and market share, Ocado’s latest results demonstrate that the company isn’t exactly in bad shape. The UK grocery sector, after all, doesn’t offer anyone a free ride; the online side of things is one of the most evolved and competitive food retail markets you’ll find anywhere.

Amazon has form when it comes to market disruption, we all know that; the former bookseller that (almost) killed off books. It’s also patently obvious that Amazon is still pursuing one of its original aims – to increase the range of things it sells to its customers. But just as there are still bookshops, and there’s even been a small renaissance in the physical book market in some countries, the market for online groceries is still growing and it needs more (and different) options in order to maintain that growth.

As things stand, Amazon isn’t much of a threat to Ocado, which has more range, more reach, and is even opening a store this year. Will Amazon catch up with Ocado? In some respects, it probably will – in time. But in others, it’s less likely. Will Ocado sit on its hands waiting for Amazon to catch up? Hardly likely at all, is it?

We live in interesting times. But unless you’ve been hiding under a rock somewhere for the last week, you don’t need me to tell you that.

Elsewhere in eDelivery, lest we forget, the UK’s referendum on EU membership came out in favour of withdrawal. It will take years to resolve. But here are some of the thoughts and opinions sent to me in the immediate aftermath of the result.

We have news of a $40m supply chain investment from French Connection, and the arrival of InPost parcel lockers at a railway station near you (well, possibly).

Richard Forrest of LLamasoft has written a guest article for us this week in which he argues you have to be a bit of a shape-shifter if you want to be an omni-channel success story.

Last week’s item on otters being shipped across the globe by FedEx led to me receiving a few emails regarding the headline – some appreciative, some not. And so, with that in mind, here’s an item about snakes and reptiles being transported by courier.

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