While retail markets throughout the world are making a shift to online modes, Amazon has decided to go against the flow, announcing the opening of its first physical grocery store, starting from a location in LA. This Amazon Fresh store will be the first of 7 such stores that the company plans to open in California and Illinois over the coming months.
This will be an addition to Amazon’s growing presence in offline retail, which was earlier being supported by Whole Foods and Amazon Go Stores. However, the experience will be different than any of its other offline offerings, and will mimic a general supermarket more than Whole Foods and Go Stores, albeit with a technological twist. While Whole Foods is much closer to, let’s say a Walmart than Amazon Go, it is still massively expensive to shop at and simply lacks the general, more popular brands. Amazon Go on the other hand is a different world in itself, especially with the company’s aim of eliminating the need for human workforce and achieving automation through the use of machines.
Amazon Fresh will focus these issues (if you can call them that), by offering a “wide assortment of national brands and high-quality produce, meat, and seafood,” alongwith “a range of delicious prepared foods made fresh in store every day.”
And while these stores will rely on technological advancements like the Dash Cart and Alexa to enhance the shopping its experience, they will still be different from Amazon Go shops, which might be more suitable for those of us more accustomed with new technologies.
As of yet, the store will only be open to invited customers, who will have to bring the emailed invitation to shop. However, the company plans to open up the store to everyone in the coming weeks.
Due to the store being launched in the heart of the Woodland Hills community, users in the location will be able to avail same day delivery and pickup direct from the new store. “Customers can pick up their orders by visiting our service counter or by pulling up to a dedicated pick-up parking spot.”
Moreover, Prime members will earn 5 percent back at Amazon Fresh when they use their Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card or Amazon Prime Store Card at checkout.
However, Amazon also realises that this is a time when people are avoiding going to retail stores, and thus, ensures that the Fresh stores will employ stringent checks to make sure that they are COVID proof. This will include daily temperature checks for all employees, requiring face coverings for all employees and customers entering the store, offering free disposable masks for any customer who wants one, and operating the store at 50 percent capacity, among others.