Amazon.com has jumped into the highly competitive grocery market full throttle, adding a grocery store concept to its online shopping lineup.
It's an aggressive move into a sector that hasn't always fared well. Many other online grocers — most prominently Webvan — emerged and then disappeared when the tech bubble burst. Based on past failures — and the success of competitors like Fresh Direct — Amazon.com thinks it's figured out how to succeed.
The grocery store is the outgrowth of customer requests and input, according to Doug Herrington, vice president of Amazon.com's grocery store, who says customer's top priorities are: great brands and products, competitive prices and free shipping. “We think we've met that challenge,” he says.
The service will carry more than 1,200 brands, including a large selection of natural, organic and gourmet foods. The new grocery has a wide selection of fresh, nonperishable, prepared and healthy food products, as well as hard to find ethnic foods and exotic meats and wild game — including buffalo, alligator, deer, elk, rattlesnake, pheasant and frog legs. Additionally, fresh organic vegetables and fruits, seafood, meats and gourmet are sold in sampler bundles.
Amazon.com will attempt to distinguish itself based on its wide selection. For example, the Amazon grocery store will offer 72 different laundry detergent options, including “green” and non-allergenic products, according to a spokesperson for the company.
Moving into the grocery market “was a natural and organic process for us,” the spokesperson says, noting that each year the company has expanded its line of products. The online shopping destination, which began as a bookstore, currently offers 34 different product categories.