Published: Wed, October 12, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Amazon Reportedly Plans to Open Convenience Stores

Lower prices might lead more to shop for groceries online, but not everyone will be so willing.

Amazon is planning to build convenience stores and develop curbside pickup locations for food shoppers, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal. For several years now, it has been experimenting with an offering called AmazonFresh, in which Prime members can pay a fee to be able to get fresh groceries brought to their doorsteps.

The reports suggest Amazon wants to be a more serious player in the grocery business, and to achieve that, it believes it can't rely on e-commerce alone.

The Amazon convenience stores will play off the blueprints of no-frills discounters like Aldi and dollar stores, the Journal reported.

The move comes as the Seattle tech and retail behemoth strives for a bigger slice of the grocery pie, a market where it still lags rivals such as Wal-Mart and Costco Wholesale.

Amazon may be looking to open a series of convenience stores, in addition to possible drive-through grocery pickup sites, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The "corner store" envisioned by Amazon will feature essentials like milk, meat, bread and orange juice that will offer commuters a pick up location for pre-ordered groceries. Customers could also order items with longer shelf lives, such as peanut butter and cereal, for same-day delivery. Quartz reports that Walmart has a similar grocery pickup service at approximately 400 locations nationally.

The grocery stores, known internally as Project Como, are for now slated exclusively for customers of its Fresh subscription service, which promises same-day food delivery at set times, the people said. Currently, Amazon Fresh is available in California, New Jersey, New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, and Washington, among other cities. Amazon has done exceptionally well online, though it's been focusing increasingly on brick-and-mortar opportunities.

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