Grocery pickup is the new grocery delivery -- at least for Amazon. The giant online retailer announced two grocery pickup locations in its hometown of Seattle this morning: One on First Ave South in Sodo and another on 15th Avenue Northwest in the Ballard neighborhood.
Called AmazonFresh Pickup, the service is only available to members of Amazon's $99-a-year-Prime program, who will place orders ahead of time via the company's website or app. There are no minimums on order amounts and Amazon says orders can be ready in as little as 15 minutes. The locations are opening to employees only first.
The move comes about a decade after Amazon began testing its AmazonFresh grocery delivery service. Since then, the company has been slow to roll out the model to new markets and has played with various pricing options along the way. The grocery industry is notoriously a tough one on profit margins and adding delivery only compounds the challenges.
Today, AmazonFresh delivery is only available to Prime members and costs an extra $14.99 a month on top of the regular Prime membership. Prime members do not, however, need to pay the extra monthly fee to order from the new Seattle pickup locations announced today.
Grocery pickup services have been popular for years in the U.K., where the model is referred to as click-and-collect. Walmart has been working to add the service to more of its stores in the U.S, too.
The model has been attractive to people who want to pick up groceries on the way home from work or for parents who don't want to get out of the while running other errands. The service also makes sense for shoppers who simply don't want to pay extra for deliveries.
The announcement comes just a day after a report surfaced that the first Amazon Go convenience store -- the futuristic one with no checkout and no cashiers -- would open to the public later than planned. It is currently restricted to employee shoppers only.
Now, Amazon announces another new brick-and-mortar model and one that is also open to employees first. If you were a company trying to wash away the storyline of the Amazon Go delay, this would be a smart move.
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