- Amazon recently moved most flavors of the popular sparkling water brand La Croix from its Prime and Pantry services to Amazon Fresh, angering many loyal customers, according to CNBC.
- This appears to be a move by Amazon to boost subscribers to its Amazon Fresh grocery service. And judging by social media buzz, the strategy appears to be working.
- Amazon Fresh, which is only available in a handful of cities, costs $14.99 per month and can deliver same- or next-day to customers. Amazon Prime, in comparison, is available nationwide and offers free two-day shipping on items in exchange for a $99 yearly fee.
It’s a well-known fact that Amazon has struggled to grow Amazon Fresh, its dedicated online grocery service. Since it first piloted the service a decade ago in its hometown of Seattle, the online giant has rolled it out in just 16 cities worldwide. The sluggish expansion underscores the harsh reality that online grocery, for all its promise, remains a logistical puzzle for even the most wealthy, technologically advanced companies.
This isn’t to say Amazon won’t, or shouldn’t, keep trying to make Fresh grow. The company’s recent $13.7 billion offer for Whole Foods indicates it’s serious about making inroads in the grocery industry. Amazon Fresh could be included in new store acquisitions. But first Amazon needs to build market share in cities where Fresh is one of numerous options available to customers.
Moving the popular sparkling water brand La Croix from its widely available Prime platform is a savvy bit of customer acquisition — and from its own customer base no less. The move leverages a product that’s very popular with the young, affluent shoppers Amazon Fresh wants to add to its ranks. Sure, the decision has ruffled some feathers, but the value to Amazon’s online grocery ambitions and to a service that yields more money per customer is clear. The company hopes even reluctant shoppers will try Fresh and get hooked.
It should also be noted amid all the panic from diehard fans, La Croix is still available through Amazon via standard shipping. Drinkers may just have to wait a few days longer to get their orders.
Ultimately, Amazon knows a thing or two about customer acquisition, having convinced more than 70 million consumers to upgrade to Prime. Now the company is pushing another pricey upgrade, and facing significant headwinds in doing so. If its La Croix strategy works, Amazon could shift more popular products to its Fresh service. Of course, the company will have to be careful lest customer frustration bubble over.