Amazon has long been a dominant force on the internet; not just in terms of online shopping but, at least lately, as a technology company. The company has the great benefit, then, of technology at the ready when it comes time to innovate.
And that time is now.
As more and more consumers take to the idea of ordering things online instead of visiting the mall, Amazon has been poised to lead the charge. But the “delivery economy” is growing and now consumers are getting ready to venture into another aspect of this realm: groceries.
With that in mind—and staying ahead of the curve—Amazon was in the works to partner with Whole Foods to offer online grocery ordering and delivery in several markets. Well, the vote to approve what might be the most widely-discussed acquisition of the year looks like it will be an obvious win.
Indeed, Amazon is already looking to upgrading from having just a few physical Amazon-brand bookstores (if you recall, that’s how they got their start) and a single pilot Amazon Go location in Seattle to having connections with more than 400 Whold Foods supermarket grocery stores.
On the other side of this new trend, the grocery market is getting more and more saturated. Some have even argued that Amazon is a bit late to the grocery store game, but with consumer behaviors changing the way it is, Amazon might, once again, be at the right place at the right time. And, by partnering with an existing successful chain, Amazon will, basically, be getting several hundred free-standing fulfillment warehouses with ready to ship products.
Even Brittain Ladd, who had worked on the AmazonFresh global expansion cautions, “If Amazon isn’t careful, Whole Foods will become Amazon’s bridge too far.” He still anticipates that grocers will need brick-and-mortar stores in the future but the layout is probably going to be very different. Mostly, he envisions a three-prong approach: first, there will be a drive-thru to pickup online orders, of course; secondly, a bigger area for in-store order fulfillment; third, a modest cluster of fresh fruit and vegetables—produce—aisles and units.
Ladd goes on to say, “What Amazon is going to have to do is evaluate the grocery segment within the U.S., and identify how many additional stores and what format they have to build to become competitive.”
While the future of grocers, in America, still remains uncertain, we do know for sure that things are likely going to have to change.