Following a 2-month testing period, Seattle’s two Amazon Fresh PickUp locations are now also available to Prime subscribers. The formula is focused on speed and also puts the pressure on Walmart even more.
No time to waste
Amazon’s own employees have tested the pick-up points since March, but Prime subscribers in the area can now use them as well. Basically, these pick-up stores work very similarly to how these types of stores work in Europe: you order something online, you drive to the pick-up point and employees place the order in your trunk.
The retailer did add several technological innovations to speed up and facilitate the entire process. A customer’s license plate will be scanned as he drives up the lot, which gives employees ample time to get the groceries ready. Amazon Fresh members (who pay extra) can get their order within fifteen minutes. “Regular” Prime members can access the service for free, do not face an order threshold, but have to wait two hours, which is still very fast all things considered. As customers handle the payments online, they will not need to pay anything at the store either.
Arms race for pick-up locations
Not everyone agrees pick-up points are the food retail industry’s future, but it does seem like there is an pick-up location arms race happening in the United States. Market leader Walmart is opening a lot of new locations and its rival Kroger is doing the same thing.
Both have to react, because Amazon is continuously working to obtain a share of the incredibly large food market. Currently, the online retailer is only a small player in this industry. The heightened competition in the United States did result in a price war, where everyone is handing out major discounts for whoever uses a pick-up location.