Online grocery shopping is becoming big business and supermarket retailers like Tesco, Waitrose and Sainsbury’s have made massive strides in e-commerce.

But in a move which circumvents the more common online booze supply chain, alcohol giant Diageo has decided to bypass retailers and launch its own direct-to-consumer online retail brand, Alexander & James. By specialising in the higher, ‘luxury’ end of the booze spectrum, Diageo will soak up some of the margin currently enjoyed by its major retail partners. It’s a disruptive move based on the simple insight that by shipping low volumes of a high value product, there is opportunity to cut the middle man.

A quick price comparison shows that Alexander & James prices will be roughly the same as supermarkets, so the incentive for consumers will lie in the positioning as a luxury retailer, with all the associated trimmings. It’s an interesting, and smart move.

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