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Leading online marketplace Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is once again demonstrating exactly why it holds that title. On Thursday, the company announced Amazon Wine, where customers can browse thousands of varietals and have as many as six bottles mailed right to their door.
“People love to explore wine, but it is rare to have detailed information and opinions located all in one place,” said Tom Hedges of Hedges Family Estate in an Amazon press release. “We’re thrilled for wineries around the country to share their great collection of wines with our customers through the Amazon Wine Store.”
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Mail-order alcohol is not entirely new, but Amazon’s entry into the game heats up competition among online retailers in an interesting way. Mr. Hedges’ comment on the level of information available to customers could be a leg up on competitors like Ebay (NASDAQ:EBAY) who enter the same space. While auctioneers on Ebay would need to properly contextualize their wine individually, Amazon offers a living ecosystem of reviews and information that can help guide customer decisions.
In the world of wine, where 90 percent of customers know squat and 10 percent know everything, this environment can be very helpful. It’s entirely possible consumers will spend more money when they feel more informed about the products, especially one that previously felt enigmatic.
Following a different axis of competition in the deliverable-goods sphere, Amazon, Ebay, and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) have all been ramping up their efforts to develop an effective same-day delivery system. For one reason or another, San Francisco has received the most love, with all three companies testing programs there.
Unfortunately, Amazon is not yet delivering wine to it’s locker program in the city. An adult over the age of 21 must sign for packages containing wine. It’s unclear how well clever under-age drinkers living somewhere with a mail room or a door man will be able to game this system.
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