SEATTLE -- Amazon has revealed details of its upcoming AmazonFresh Pickup center.
CSP Daily News has followed the construction of the pickup centers in Seattle’s Ballard and SoDo neighborhoods, but this marks the first formal word from Seattle-based Amazon about its grocery pickup outposts. The news—in the form of a promotional video and webpage—comes one day after The Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon Go, the e-retailer’s smart convenience-store concept, is delaying opening due to technical issues.
Click through for more information on AmazonFresh Pickup and what this announcement means for Amazon’s recent brick-and-mortar moves …
Amazon’s grab-and-go service in Seattle will be free, but only available to Amazon Prime subscribers. Customers will be able to order any number of items from their smartphone, and the order will be ready in as little as 15 minutes after the order is placed. The customers will then drive up to the pickup site, open their car trunk so an employee can deposit their groceries, and be on their way once the employee is done packing the trunk.
Items in Amazon’s lineup of products include cuts of meat, fresh produce, bread, dairy, everyday household items and more.
One detail not addressed in the video and webpage is how the employees who bag the groceries and bring them to the cars know how to identify customers. Past reports have shown that each parking spot includes a sign with motion sensors, but it is unclear how the employees bagging and delivering the groceries know which car belongs to which order.
Another question pertains to the mobile implications for the service. The promotional video shows customers scrolling through an app to browse groceries, but the app is never identified and it is unclear whether this announcement heralds the rollout of a new app or simply an extension to Amazon’s existing shopping app. The video mentions customers can also place orders from home, implying an online component, but the video only shows orders made with smartphones.
As with the e-retailer’s smart c-store, AmazonFresh Pickup is currently in beta testing and only available to Amazon employees.
Neither the video nor the website give a date or timeframe for when beta testing might end, but visitors to the website can request to be notified when the pickup centers are available for public use.
The announcement’s timing raises questions. Put in the context of the news that the Amazon Go opening is being delayed, releasing details about AmazonFresh Pickup seems like a strategy to change the conversation. On March 27, the Amazon news of the day was about delay. One day later, it is about progress.
Due to Amazon’s penchant for secrecy, this line of thinking is pure speculation. But judging by the tweets from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos after a New York Post article about Amazon’s grocery store ambitions, the e-retailer appears to be working to control the narrative surrounding its plans for brick-and-mortar.