Amazon’s latest foray into bridging the divide between e-commerce and physical commerce is AmazonFresh Pickup, a service that offers drive-in pickup of grocery orders placed online.
The company says it’s built two physical grocery locations in Seattle, and its employees are currently testing the service. When it opens widely, the pickup service will be available free to Prime members.
According to the company’s landing page, AmazonFresh Pickup will include “thousands of items … including fresh produce, high-quality meats, and everyday essentials” that can be ordered online, either via Amazon’s website or mobile app. The explainer video (see below) shows cereal, milk, toilet paper, ice cream, eggs and more available for ordering and pickup. When placing an order, customers will choose a pickup window; for AmazonFresh members, orders can be ready in as little as 15 minutes. When the customer arrives at the pickup location, Amazon employees will bring the bagged order out to the car.
In December, Amazon announced a different physical store idea called Amazon Go, but rather than a pickup service staffed by Amazon employees, the Go stores will allow customers to walk in, choose products and walk out without having to pay a cashier. Items will be automatically scanned and billed via a mobile app. That idea hasn’t yet opened to the public.
The online grocery industry is becoming a competitive battlefield, as our Barry Levine explained previously here on Marketing Land, with his story detailing how physical grocery stores are becoming back ends for online shopping. As consumers warm to the idea of buying groceries on the web or via mobile app, we can expect the competition for their dollars to get even more intense.