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Amazon Starts Selling Groceries Online

     
6:01 pm on Jun 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Internet retailer Amazon.com Inc. has started selling groceries on its Web site, a cautious step into a business that was one of the biggest casualties of the dot-com collapse.

Amazon Starts Selling Groceries Online [pcmag.com]

6:03 pm on June 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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This could be very useful in getting groceries to natural disaster victims. They have the infrastructure and delivery system to get whatever they have quickly to anyone.
6:26 pm on June 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I saw this in my inbox this morning (Amazon Associates) and just thought, "well, I guess they really do sell everything now."

Between Amazon, Ebay, G, MS and Y!, do we really have a need for the rest of the internet? *sheesh*

6:27 pm on June 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Since they're not selling perishables, seems that they're not going to have any existing customers of other grocery delivery systems switch to their service.

Would be interesting to see if they went down that route. I can't remember the last time I walked into a grocery store - but when you have a delivery driver pick fresh fruit/vegetables, you have to have a lot of trust as that's the quickest way to lose delivery customers.

6:40 pm on June 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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And again, Canada, the friendly neighbour, gets no cake.
6:46 pm on June 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I was at first going to say that saving "$10 instantly when you spend $29 or more on select Lipton Tea" is a heck of a lot of tea. But now that I look a bit deeper it turns out that everything is bulk, you buy by the pack or the case.

An interesting choice of products though. Canned fried chicken, Swiss "Stake" and hot dogs all made with soy protein. Sounds yummy.

I guess this could fly, but it's going to be hard to penetrate the market. There's a heck of a lot of competition with existing warehouse clubs, many local and regional online services where you can order everything, not just non-perishables.

But who knows. With Amazon behind it just about anything can work.

6:47 pm on June 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I saw this yesterday on the Amazon control panel. What I found interesting was their organic section. That's a sector with disposable income and something that I can see people coming back to your site to order.

Unfortunately the selection seems to be skewed to snacks. How about a greater selection of baby foods, pasta, organic soup and more variety in breakfast cereals?

mraleigh

9:01 pm on June 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Books are easy - they aren't too heavy to ship and the price point is at a point where a small shipping charge isn't a major detractor. Consider, however, a case of canned corn which weighs 20 pounds but only has a price point of $6. How does a customer justify a $20 shipping charge ($.99 per pount or $8.99 per shipment) for $6 worth of product? So Amazon offers free shipping to mitigate this. As long as they eat the shipping charge it might work but how long can you stay profitable without charging for shipping? Surely this is the most expensive part of the equation.
9:09 pm on June 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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> delivery driver pick fresh fruit/vegetables

If you can limit the supply chain (e.g. organic farm delivers to to Amazon directly), Amazon could ship fruits and vegetables to customers more quickly than the neighborhood market. And if Amazon is able to turnover their product quickly, freshness of produce would be a minimized issue.

1:24 am on June 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

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hmm, everything I have looked at, I can still get cheaper at WalMart and I don't have to buy a case...
4:53 am on June 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Pretty good idea, however not as impressive as buying plasma TVs. I wonder if buying groceries is meant to be online. Say that Im cooking and want some creole mustard... It would be much handier just to go to the store than order the thing from Amazon.

But buying food in bulk seems nice, especially for restaurants and large families.

12:28 pm on June 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Amazon.com seems to cope badly with the incoming traffic, homepage doesn't load in 5 minutes...
5:43 pm on June 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I know somebody who was one of the first folks in at Webvan and he said that the original plan they had was sustainable and might have worked and it sounds like Amazon is reviving it. Once Webvan got VC money, they got pushed into the ridiculous model that failed in the end, but at least to hear my friend tell it, none of the people who were there at the outset believed that the all groceries to all people model would ever work.

Original strategy was to seel only high margin items and to target people who might be willing to spend a bit more to get something of higher quality. It seems with the Amazon emphasis on gourmet and organic, they are looking at a strategy similar to the early Webvan.

I only wish that Trader Joe's would step in.

5:51 pm on June 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

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sun818 said: [Ordering through Amazon.com] could be very useful in getting groceries to natural disaster victims.

If your area has just been flattened by a natural disaster, I don't know that you'll have Internet access....

I could be wrong, of course.

Eliz.

10:09 pm on June 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

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It looks like a good start. I buy organic and usually shop at Trader Joes and Wild Oats. They have some good stuff on there at reduced prices from the stores (add-in the price of gas and Prime free shipping makes it a better deal)...but hopefully will add more.
9:27 pm on June 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Now they do sell almost everything but that would be funy to order a bread or something like that with international delivery :)
2:45 am on June 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

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They've obviously looked at the world's largest on-line grocer (Tesco.com) and decided that they also have the infrastructure to compete...NOT!

Grey suits, grey suits, jobsworths...good grief!

1:34 am on June 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Great prices on diapers...