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Q&A With VP: It's No Surprise Amazon Is Going Private Label


Amazon has been up to big things this week, expanding its private-label products to foods and household perishable goods, along with taking on Seamless and GrubHub in NYC's food delivery space. Bisnow sat down with VP Eddie Alberty for his take on his competitor's expansion and the ongoing battle between e-commerce and brick-and-mortar.

Bisnow: With Amazon putting out these private-label products, what does that mean for competitors like yourself?

Eddie Alberty: Well, it’s not a surprise by any means, and it’s actually something that we’ve been doing for many years now. We’re a firm believer that the private-label products provide a lot more value, in some cases at better prices, or at least competitive pricing.

Bisnow: How do customers view the new brands compared to the ones they’re used to?

Eddie Alberty: Our customers tend to resonate with our brands as we’ve come out with them. We’ve been offering similar grocery service for more than five years, so in some ways Amazon’s announcement reinforces what we’ve already been doing.

Bisnow: So this is a rising trend then?

Eddie Alberty: Like I said, has been doing private-label groceries for five-plus years. Our parent company, Market America, has done private-label products for 15-plus years, mainly in cosmetics and skincare. But, without a doubt, we look to do it whenever we can.

Bisnow: News broke yesterday that Amazon will launch a food delivery service in NYC, competing with platforms like Seamless. What’s your take on that?

Eddie Alberty: That is news to me, although I can’t say it surprises me. Amazon does a good job focusing on what customers needs are and where the demand is. The ultimate goal is to provide the customer with the best service while playing on the convenient factor—and the delivery service certainly does that.

Bisnow: There’s a lot of hype on the “bricks vs. clicks” war—how do you guys feel at, is it fierce competition between you and brick-and-mortar?

Eddie Alberty: No, not so much. I mean, for years we’ve had a saying that we want to get our current customers to transfer all of their buying habits and behaviors from brick-and-mortar to “click-and-order.” But, just recently we’ve launched a shop-local program, which is simply a card-linked model that connects restaurants, local businesses, mom-and-pop stores, where I can go into the shop, use my debit or credit card, and that transaction is tracked and gets me cash-back. So we are now actually pushing people into local, smaller stores in areas we have customers, because our customers ultimately want to earn something on everything they spend on. There’s certain things you can't do online: restaurants, gas, groceries. In that way we really are supporting both—bricks and clicks. That’s kind of where we want to take the model as well.