Amazon will heighten its focus on the grocery sector by moving into physical convenience stores, according to media reports in the US.
The new Amazon convenience stores will go a step beyond its Amazon Fresh service, which already offers consumers the chance to order food deliveries online. It is thought that consumers may purchase items on their smartphones, possibly supplemented by touch screens in store, while Amazon is also reportedly considering curbside locations for online grocery pick-up.
The click-and-collect format could be supplemented by new technology that allows Amazon to scan vehicle registration plates, keeping waiting times to a minimum.
The first of the new stores could open in Amazon’s home town of Seattle, with a clutch of other stores expected during the next 12 months.
David Jinks, head of consumer research for e-commerce delivery experts ParcelHero, is not surprised.
He said: “Amazon is building on its Amazon Fresh grocery service to sell items such as fruit and veg, milk, meats and other perishables in town centre locations. The new stores will be aimed at Fresh customers who want to choose their own produce – a major drawback to online grocery shopping – or pick up their food on the way home from work.
“Amazon has already opened physical high street book stores, and pop-up shops highlighting its range of electronic goods. It’s move into physical food stores… reflects its concentration on winning a wider share of the grocery industry in the US and UK. American and British shoppers are rapidly moving their weekly food shop online, meaning the regular visit to the supermarket will soon be a memory [and] leaving many superstores as white elephants.
“In contrast, convenience store sales will grow rapidly as consumers look to supplement their weekly food home deliveries with purchases of fresh items from handy local stores on the way home from work.”
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