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Report: Amazon plans convenience food stores

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SEATTLE — Amazon.com Inc. reportedly plans to boost its grocery business by opening small brick-and-mortar stores.

The outlets would sell perishable items such as milk, meat and produce, according to The Wall Street Journal, which cited anonymous sources familiar with retailer’s intentions.

amazon-fresh_convenience-storesOnce inside the stores, shoppers could use their mobile devices, or possibly touch screens inside the stores, to order food such as cereal or peanut butter for same-day delivery, the Journal said.

The Journal also reported that Amazon will soon begin rolling out designated drive-in locations where groceries purchased online are delivered to a shopper’s vehicle. Amazon is developing license plate-reading technology to speed wait times, according to the newspaper.

Amazon is possibly just weeks away from launching its first drive-in grocery location, in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, the Journal said, where customers could schedule 15-minute to two-hour windows to arrive for pickup.

At least initially, Amazon’s food stores will cater exclusively to customers of its Amazon Fresh subscription service, which promises same-day food delivery at set times, the Journal said, noting that Amazon last week dropped its $299 annual price for Fresh and instituted a $15 monthly fee, available to members of its $99 Prime delivery service.

“Amazon continues to change the game by removing one of the obstacles in shopping for grocery items — concerns over freshness and quality,” said Traci Gregorski, senior vice president of marketing at Market Track, a provider of market intelligence solutions based on an analysis of the advertising and promotional landscape. “This offers consumers the ability to see and touch perishable items like produce and dairy and is yet another interaction point for them with the convenience Amazon offers. Shopping for groceries is habitual and Amazon’s recognition of the importance of physical location caters to people’s desire to see the quality of their grocery items in person. It also sets them up to expand their audience and potentially drive even more loyalty to their brand.”


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