- Amazon’s new AmazonFresh Pickup depots may be entering the market too late to compete against the likes of Kroger and Wal-Mart, which already have e-commerce pickup locations at hundreds of stores, according to The Motley Fool. The e-tailer's pickup depots are set to open soon in Seattle and Silicon Valley
- Amazon’s interest in the $630 billion grocery industry is clear, and its e-commerce footprint has slowly but effectively expanded so far. With the pickup locations, though, the company doesn’t seem to be adding anything new to differentiate itself from existing retailers' service.
- “The initial reports of Amazon Fresh Pickup seem like more of a me-too service,” the Motley Fool story states. “Investors won't get to make a full assessment until Amazon unveils it, but for now, the advantage in grocery seems squarely with Wal-Mart and Kroger.”
Amazon has yet to make an official announcement about its new click-and-collect stores, but Geekwire and with the Silicon Valley Business Journal have pieced together details, including the new stores’ name — AmazonFresh Pickup.
According to the two sources, AmazonFresh Pickup locations will be around 9,700 square feet, and will offer online order pickups anywhere between a 15-minute to 2-hour time window. Customers can park at one of the store’s dedicated bays and have their groceries delivered to their car. Or, they can walk in and order using electronic tablets, then wait in a “retail room” while their goods are picked and boxed up.
As The Motley Fool notes, AmazonFresh Pickup doesn’t offer much to distinguish itself from the click-and-collect services offered by Wal-Mart and Kroger, the current leaders in the grocery e-commerce market right now. The exception is in-store ordering, but that doesn’t have the game-changing quality of Amazon Go’s checkout-free format. AmazonFresh seems to be exactly what it claims: A place to pick up Amazon groceries.
The real disrupter in this format could be Wal-Mart, which is currently piloting a convenience store hybrid called Wal-Mart Pickup and Fuel that offers fuel, consumables and online order pickup.
But the assumption here is that Amazon means to scale up and compete with retailers like Kroger and Wal-Mart on click and collect services, which isn’t necessarily the case. Many believe, in fact, that AmazonFresh Pickup’s primary purpose is experimental. The e-commerce giant is still very much a newcomer to the grocery scene. It knows it has a lot to learn, but also understands there are a lot of inefficiencies in the industry. With its numerous formats — from a disruptive brick-and-mortar store to home delivery to e-commerce pickup depots — the e-tailer seems to be probing the market in search of the right formula for success.