Does Amazon's expansion mean cyber-groceries are here to stay?

Amazon fresh truck

Amazon recently announced an expansion of its online grocery delivery service. Formerly available only in Seattle, it's now expanding to Los Angeles. Basically, the company is offering customers same-day and early-morning delivery on more than 500,000 products, such as apples, bread, and even mozzarella di bufala from variety of stores. In short they're not only competing against local stores, but also other grocery delivery services, including stores with their own delivery service as well as regional services like Peapod and FreshDirect. So while cyber-groceries aren't new, when Amazon moves into a market it's time to take a second look and wonder if this move signals a growing trend.

To date, consumers have remained lukewarm about food delivery. There are several pros - it's certainly convenient (albeit at a cost), reduces impulse buying, and frees up personal time. But many people don't feel comfortable letting others choose their food for them - especially fresh produce and meats.

And that doesn't seem to be changing. In a recent poll taken by Epicurious, 44% said they would always shop locally, and an additional 42% said, "Online shopping's good if you live far from the store, but I prefer going to the supermarket and examining what I'm buying." So only about 14% were open to online grocery shopping. We also note that Wal-Mart took a look at the industry and opted to stay out.

It will be interesting to watch this trend, but we're rooting for on-hands grocery shopping to triumph. Books and clothes online, no problem;  but pineapples, steaks, and chicken? Nope.

3 Comments

  • amc  on  7/1/2013 at 5:59 AM

    Anytime you order online, whether it be clothes, books or groceries, imagine your local stores boarded up.

  • Breadcrumbs  on  7/1/2013 at 8:37 AM

    Food delivery is offered here and though I don't use it for our groceries since the pricing isn't competitive, I do use it on a regular basis to have groceries delivered to my Mom. I'd welcome Amazon or any other competition in the market here do drive down prices by improving the business model. While I wouldn't be interested in ordering produce, I'd be happy to have staples delivered, especially the heavier/bulky items.

  • FuzzyChef  on  7/2/2013 at 11:00 PM

    Another sign of the imminent dotcom financial meltdown: online grocery delivery. I remember this from '99.

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