A news article posted by MorningNewsBeat speaks to RetailNetGroup’s recent analysis of the experiment in on-line grocery shopping that is Amazon Fresh. I am always interested in those who are convinced that to-your-door groceries is coming into its own. While Ahold’s Peapod, Fresh Express, MyWebGrocer, and others have carved out a sustainable yet small niche in the grocery industry, Amazon may just be the one to kick start the offering on its journey to a more pervasive service.
Unlike those other services, Amazon is seemingly prepared to expand this service without any sustainable profit in sight. They likely mean it when they say Amazon Fresh is a strategic initiative, not a profitable tactical one. Without the burdens of financial contribution, coupled with Amazon’s mastery of logistics, Amazon Fresh could conceivably be the service that finally breaks through to critical mass.
If that is true, Walmart, and all leading traditional supermarkets will need to pick up the pace on refining and expanding the services. It could also mean that delivery fees are lower, order size minimums are waived, and it certainly could mean that home delivery and in-store pick up will never pay out using traditional metrics and full allocated costs. Amazon Fresh may dictate that all players in this space see it as strategic as Amazon purports.
Departments and offerings within the mix of the traditional supermarket that do not profitably stand on their on is not a new phenomena. Just add on-line grocery shopping to the list and understand the indirect benefits of incremental shoppers and transaction size growth that these services can foster. With Amazon moving in, and Walmart not about to be left out of the mix coupled with more time starved, tecno-savvy consumers, the stars are aligning for grocery e-commerce. Let the games begin.