Labor Pains: 


Virtually There:  





  • Amazon is following up their fashion tech investments over the last few years with the introduction of numerous brands-within-a-brand for apparel and furniture. They seem to be borrowing the shopworn ampersand-laden naming conventions of many a dead-end e-commerce startup: one of their furniture lines is "Stone & Beam," a reflection of both their astute powers of consumer-behavior data crunching and the overwhelming blandness of their house brands. The everything-store giant already sells more house brand batteries than Duracell, along with copious amounts of everything from baby wipes to HDMI cables, all bolstered by insider analytics and the ability to preference their own lines in search results. While customers are mostly on the winning side of this, paying lower prices for what are ultimately artificially differentiated commodities, many of their competitors must be stewing about the seismic changes in the market. We would not be at all surprised to see a coalition of multinational corporations teaming up to lobby U.S. politicians in the coming years, bringing an antitrust effort against Amazon, all under the pretense of protecting the mom-and-pop Main Street retailers. 


More next week.