When Amazon first launched its brick-and-mortar efforts in 2020, it wasn't much competition for the biggest grocery stores. It overcame some trial and error with other physical Amazon shops, a few store relocations, and overcoming several strategic setbacks with the original conception of Amazon Go.
But the e-commerce giant's grocery brand seems to have hit its stride this year, and it's a real contender now – even against the monolith of Walmart. Since April 2022, seven new Amazon Fresh locations have been opened in California, Illinois, and Virginia, with more stores on the East Coast to come.
In April, Amazon Fresh launched in Southern California's La Verne and Mission Viejo, with Murrieta following shortly behind in May, according to Supermarket News. The expansion reached North Riverside, Ill., as well as three locations in Virginia – Arlington, Lorton, and Manassas – in June, reported Winsight Grocery Business.
With 35 locations in six states and Washington, D.C. by the end of June, the past three months alone built up one-fifth of the Amazon Fresh footprint. And its growth in popularity helped the Amazon subsidiary rank on the Retailer Preference Index list for top grocery retailers this past January.
What does Amazon Fresh offer that other grocers don't? Convenience, primarily. By integrating smart technology into the checkout experience, Amazon takes the future of grocery shopping to the next level.
Total up your receipt simply by adding items into the "Dash" cart, pay for your groceries with only your handprint, and skip the cash register altogether using their Just Walk Out feature.
This is a big draw for customers, looking for ease in their grocery routine. Consulting manager at retail consultancy McMillanDoolittle Amanda Lai told Supermarket News, "The in-store technologies such as Just Walk Out and the Dash Carts are a novelty that will have customer appeal and draw customers in to [check out] the stores."
But Lai noted that it's also important to consider how the store's approach fits into shoppers' day-to-day. "What will retain customers in the long run are the level of integration with their e-commerce platform and having that single view of the shopping experience — both your online orders and Amazon Fresh orders in one place — and their ability to deliver on the products that customers want," she said.
The next several stores will add Paramus, N.J., and Oceanside, N.Y., as well as Pennsylvania towns Broomall and Bensalem, to the roster – although opening dates for these locations have yet to be announced.
To get all the latest grocery store news delivered right to your email inbox every day, sign up for our newsletter!