The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon is opening a string of tiny grocery stores with a unique twist - they will only stock perishables. Amazon Fresh customers will shop for milk, eggs, meat, and produce in the new stores, then order any perishables they need for same-day delivery.
Amazon, a perennial favorite among consumers, might have the biggest and best supply chain in the country. Their warehouses, lockers, and crew of 24-hour delivery drivers will supply the store and fulfill the customer's orders. What they do not have, however, is a brick and mortar presence, like Walmart, who entered the grocery delivery game not too long ago.
This is a Big Deal. The grocery game is the last frontier for all-in-one retailers. Literally every person who eats food is a customer. Also, Americans shop in a grocery store 1.5 times per week on average; big retailers all want that money. However, more than 80% of people live within 2 miles of a grocer - so why would they order online when they can swing by during their commute? Similar sentiments were echoed in the recent Morgan Stanley Research findings on online food shopping.
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Of the many, many services following the 'Uber for X' model for groceries, Amazon seems uniquely positioned to take on the reasons listed in the MSR results. Customers will be able to pore over the produce, get the "fun" of shopping in a store that they can quickly stop by after work, shipping will be fast and free with their Amazon Fresh account (now just $15/month), and everyone knows Amazon has just about anything you could want.
The WSJ also mentions future old-timey shops in the works for Amazon, saying that the company is "considering other brick-and-mortar store concepts, including a showcase for its consumer devices," in the future.