business news in context, analysis with attitude

•  Investor's Business Daily reports that RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Mahaney is projecting that Amazon's stock price could go as high as $3,300 per share, significantly higher than the previously projected  $2,700.  (The stock closed on Monday at $2,524.06.)

This raised projection, the story says, is based on a new survey suggesting that the "adoption of online shopping has accelerated materially during the coronavirus pandemic, causing more consumers to purchase goods online rather than venture out."

The story goes on:  "Some of the best beneficiaries of this shift, in addition to Amazon, include Walmart, Etsy, and eBay. (Mahaney) declared Amazon the 'structural winner.'  That's fueled by Amazon's highly lucrative rewards program, called Amazon Prime.

"'All in, Amazon appears to be running away with the U.S. online retail crown and remains in a very strong position, while Walmart's position is incrementally improving,' Mahaney wrote in a note to clients."

•  Fox Business reports that "Instacart is revising its tipping policies to crack down on customers who take advantage of the system through 'tip baiting,' where shoppers are lured in with a big tip which is changed or removed by customers after delivery … Starting Monday, Instacart will require customers to leave feedback if they decide to remove the tip after delivery and share it directly with shoppers in the coming weeks. The company will also deactivate the account of any customer who repeatedly engages in 'tip baiting'."

•  Pymnts reports that discount retailer Big Lots, which has 1,400 stores in 47 states, has signed on with Instacart to provide delivery services.

According to the story, "Erica Fortune, vice president of eCommerce at Big Lots, said the company hoped to bring Big Lots’ array of items to customers’ homes, and that Big Lots remained committed to 'exceptional value, surprising products and an easy shopping experience to families across the U.S.,' according to the release … Customers can visit the Instacart website or use the Instacart app on their phones and shop for the items they need. They can select same-day delivery as an option at the checkout screen, with all delivery options defaulting to leave deliveries at the door for compliance with social distancing guidelines, the release states."

Every story about Instacart these days reminds me of Hydra, the multi-headed serpent of Greek mythology … it is getting its head into everybody's business, nibbling away a little bit here and a little bit there, and eventually will devour them by weaponizing these stores' own data against them.

I am aware, by the way, that one could use the Hydra metaphor to describe Amazon as well.  There's only one difference.  Amazon clearly, unambiguously is the competition.  Instacart is the enemy that a lot of businesses are sleeping with.