Who Pushed Amazon Into The Flowers?

The fact that Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is getting into the flower delivery business, as it acknowledged to All Things D on Tuesday (Sept. 10), isn't a surprise. Neither is the fact that it's deeply undercutting the prices offered by its third-party partners—the ones who helped make Amazon a place to go for online flower delivery. (A dozen assorted roses in a glass vase: 40 percent off from Amazon.) That's been the way Amazon has gotten into every new line of merchandise since its beginning: First lose money by coddling your partners, then cut the legs out from under them.

No, the surprise this time is that Amazon clearly wasn't ready. The e-commerce giant says on its "Amazon Curated Flower Collection" page that it can't currently offer "scheduled delivery"—and that apparently means you can't choose which day the flowers will arrive, never mind which hour. But flowers aren't like books or DVDs. They're like groceries, except with more emotional impact—an extra day matters. Exactly how that glass vase of roses gets delivered right now isn't clear, but we're wondering if something forced Amazon's hand. It's not like the king of e-commerce to get something so basic so very wrong.