Amazon Fresh opens first grocery store, mixing smart tech with traditional offerings

2020/08/31 Innoverview Read

Dive Brief:

  • Amazon’s long-anticipated supermarket in Woodland Hills, California, opened Thursday morning, the company announced in a blog post. The store, which carries the Amazon Fresh brand, will be open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

  • The new grocery store carries a mix of conventional produce, meat and seafood, plus organic products and an assortment of items from national and local brands.

  • The Amazon Fresh store will be limited at first to customers selected by Amazon, who will receive invitations to visit the supermarket by email. The supermarket will open to the general public at a date to be announced, which Amazon said will be "in the coming weeks."

Dive Insight:

The long-awaited opening of the first Amazon Fresh store marks the start of the latest chapter in the company’s closely watched effort to put its stamp on the U.S. grocery store industry.

The Woodland Hills facility, which has standard checkout equipment and had been operating as a dark store to fill online grocery orders for the past few months, is the first of several conventional grocery stores Amazon is planning to open. According to an Amazon spokesperson, the company also intends to operate supermarkets in Oak Lawn, Naperville and Schaumburg, Illinois, and in Irvine and North Hollywood, California.

Although the Amazon Fresh store is independent of Amazon’s Whole Foods Market subsidiary, the new supermarket will carry organic items sporting the 365 by Whole Foods Market brand. In addition, the store will sell products from companies like Coca-Cola and Kraft as well as items from local brands, such as Rockenwagner Bakery and Groundworks Coffee. It will also stock Amazon-exclusive brands like Fresh and Cursive. Like other traditional grocers, the Fresh store will provide prepared foods, from freshly baked bread to made-to-order pizza. 

Amazon Fresh customers can use Amazon’s automated Dash Cart technology to avoid the checkout line. They can also employ the company’s Alexa technology to handle shopping lists and find their way around the store. The store offers same-day delivery, as well as in-store and curbside pickup, which will be free to Prime members. 

The Amazon Fresh store is distinct from Amazon’s Go Grocery concept, which combines the elements of a traditional supermarket with checkout-free technology. The first Go Grocery location opened in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood in February, and Amazon has plans to open more locations, including in Redmond, Washington, and Washington, D.C.

Amazon also runs about two-dozen smaller-format stores in several cities under its Amazon Go brand. These checkout-free stores carry a variety of breakfast, lunch and snack foods.

The new store is taking similar precautions to the measures implemented by Amazon-owned Whole Foods Market in response to the pandemic. Customers and employees will be required to wear face coverings, and employees will need to undergo daily temperature checks. In addition, the store will operate at 50% of its capacity.

(Source: Retail Dive )