The units are named Ballard and SODO after the Seattle neighborhoods in which they are located.
Amazon employees have been testing the pickup centers since March. This opening marks Seattle-based Amazon’s first swing at offering food and groceries to the public in a brick-and-mortar setting and just in time for Memorial Day weekend.
Here's a peek under the hood of AmazonFresh Pickup …
Amazon Prime members can add AmazonFresh to their existing Prime membership for an extra $14.99 a month in addition to the annual $99 fee for Prime. Any Prime member can grab groceries from the company’s new pickup centers free of charge, but those who pay the extra monthly fee can pick up their groceries just 15 minutes after placing an order. Those who don’t pay the extra fee have to wait about two hours before their orders are available for pickup.
Both eligible customers who are not yet Prime members and existing Prime members can sign up for a free 30-day trial of the Fresh add-on allowing for 15-minute pickup. Customers who opt for the monthlong trial will automatically be billed monthly once the trial period ends.
Users can shop for groceries using either the Amazon mobile app or Amazon’s website. Orders can be any size, from just one item to a whole trunk-full.
Once users have selected the groceries they want to buy, they are taken to a page to schedule their pickup time. Customers who place an order at least two hours in advance can schedule their pickup time within two-hour windows. It also appears that orders can be placedup to three days in advance. Those who pay extra for the 15-minute service can select that option on the same screen.
Users can opt to automatically register their license plate to speed service during their first visit online. The company doesn’t ask for the user’s license-plate number online. Instead, the system matches the license plate to the customer during their first pickup, then remembers the license plate for the future.
Once the license plate is registered with Amazon, sensors at the pickup centers identify the plate when the customer rolls up to receive their order.
What's up next?
Amazon has not provided or indicated a timeline for further expansion of AmazonFresh Pickup, but the company has not been inactive lately when it comes to brick-and-mortar.
There are now seven Amazon Books locations across the country, including the recently opened outpost in New York City.
Meanwhile, Amazon Go, the company’s smart c-store designed to allow customers to make purchases without checking out, is still only open to employee testing. Its opening was delayed by technical glitches.