Amazon’s Pickup stores offer new challenge to independent grocers

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Amazon has revealed the details of its grocery click-and-collect sites, AmazonFresh Pickup. The service, which will be debuted in Seattle, will provide a full array of grocery and household items, and will be free to Prime members.

The sites are currently located in Seattle’s Sodo and Ballard neighborhoods. However, industry experts expect the e-commerce giant to open as many as 30 outlets this year.

Amazon Pickup allows shoppers to make their purchases online and select a delivery time, which could be ready in as little as 15 minutes. Then, they may pull in to any of the store’s several drive-up spaces, where employees will load groceries into their cars within minutes.

This new service is Amazon’s second foray into physical food stores. Previously, it launched its Amazon Go convenience store, which allows shoppers carry out their purchases without stopping for checkout. However, that store has postponed its public opening, as the company must address remaining technical issues.

As this offering expands across the U.S. and into the Canadian market, independent grocers and retailers will have to up the ante. In order to compete with fast, automated services like this one, they will need to provide consumers with options that are otherwise unavailable. Offering in-store experiences, demos, and promotions will help to draw buyers back into the traditional shopping experience. One thing’s for sure: in order to compete, you’ll need to get creative.

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