Amazon’s no-checkout, grab-and-go store may have hit a snag, but the company isn’t letting that get in the way of other grocery-focused initiatives.
The Seattle-based giant on Tuesday teased a new AmazonFresh Pickup service where Prime members will be able to order their groceries online before turning up to collect them — all bagged and ready to go — from an AmazonFresh depot.
Described by the company as “a fast and easy way to order groceries, pick them up, and be on your way in minutes,” the new service eliminates shipping costs for customers. It also provides them with more options for receiving their groceries, with offered items including everything from meat to dairy products, as well as a broad range of everyday essentials.
The service is currently being tested with Amazon employees at two depots in the company’s home city. It hasn’t announced an official launch date yet, but Tuesday’s release of a promo video (above) and webpage suggest its arrival is imminent.
Initial launch locations are likely to be places where the AmazonFresh delivery service is already operating, which include cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Chicago, and Boston.
It’ll be free for $99-a-year Prime members, while AmazonFresh members paying the monthly $15 fee will see some extra benefits, such as having their grocery orders ready in as little as 15 minutes. Non-Fresh members, on the other hand, can only collect their order two hours or more after placing it.
Amazon hopes the new service will prove popular with users who don’t like having to deal with delivery windows and prefer instead the convenience of popping into a depot to pick up their groceries at a time of their choosing, which could be while running errands or on the way home from work.
Advantages for Amazon include reduced pressure on its delivery services, and a possible boost in Prime membership if other shoppers like the sound of the scheme.
The company, which is better known for its gigantic online operation, has for several years been taking a closer look at how it might expand its business to physical locations. Pop-up stores have been used to promote its growing inventory of tech goods, while in 2015 it opened the first of several brick-and-mortar bookstores.
More recently it announced Amazon Go, a grocery store where you can grab what you need and leave without going to a checkout, with the cost of the goods automatically deducted from your bank account as you leave the store. However, reports this week suggested it’s facing challenges getting the technology to work properly. There’s also talk of the company building stores to sell furniture and appliances, and using augmented reality to help shoppers choose the most suitable items.
AmazonFresh Pickup, meanwhile, is another effort geared toward taking a larger chunk of America’s multi-billion-dollar grocery market.
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