While many grocery retailers are going forward with expanding into home delivery, Amazon ironically is moving in the opposite direction. Known for convenience and quick deliveries, the e-Commerce giant, which recently announced multiple brick-and-mortar ventures including Amazon Books and Amazon Go, will be launching AmazonFresh Pickup, a drive-up grocery pickup service, in two Seattle neighborhoods.
The service is a free perk for Amazon Prime subscribers and there is no order minimum. Customers order products from AmazonFresh online, set a pickup time slot that can be as soon as 15 minutes after placing their order, and drive to a designated parking space where the groceries will be loaded directly into their cars.
While Amazon experiments with this new service, it is also dealing with a few setbacks at its Amazon Go concept store, which has only been open to Amazon employees during its test period. The store’s public opening has been delayed due to technical difficulties. The Wall Street Journal reported that the technology is unable to keep track of more than 20 people at a time, and can’t properly track items that have been misplaced on shelves.
Despite these glitches, the AmazonFresh launch has industry experts buzzing anew about Amazon’s new brick-and-mortar environment and what it means for retailers trying to compete with the giant.
“Amazon is not only recognizing the power of omnichannel retail, they are pushing its boundaries and creating the most seamless brand experience possible between e-Commerce platforms and their physical stores,” said Nick McLean, CEO of OrderDynamics in a statement. “In many ways, this tactic is helping Amazon merely catch up to retailers who have long leveraged their stores as a competitive advantage, meaning those retailers will need to invest in technology and process to improve order management flexibility and effectively fight back.”
AmazonFresh pickup is currently in beta and only available for Amazon employees.