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Amazon Looks to Bring a Drive-Thru Format to Grocery Shopping

Amazon Looks to Bring a Drive-Thru Format to Grocery Shopping

Monday, July 27th, 2015

With just about anything you could every want available for online order, going to the grocery stores is one of the few things left that consumers still get out of the house for—and Amazon has noticed. The e-commerce company that has perpetuated shopping in your pajamas is looking to bring us a drive-thru grocery format that would allow you to shop online and pick up your groceries like you would your Taco Bell or Starbucks.

A photo posted by Amazon (@amazon) on

Amazon does have its AmazonFresh program, which allows you to have your groceries delivered right to your door, but it’s not always available. And to be honest, a lot of consumers report being a little uneasy about ordering fresh products online. But going to physically pick up your groceries (while staying in the car of course) and having someone else fill your basket? Amazon seems to think this is the link that has been missing between online ordering and grocery shopping.

Bill Bishop, Chief Architect, Brick Meets Click“We are seeing the emergence of the next generation of the food distribution system,” Bill Bishop, Chief Architect at retail and e-commerce consultancy Brick Meets Click, told the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

According to the report, the first format looks to be in a new 11,600-square-foot building and grocery pick-up area in the Sunnyvale area. Though the company is not named in the filed documents submitted by a real estate developer, but sources “familiar with Amazon’s concept” told the Business Journal that it is likely to be the first location.

A photo posted by Amazon (@amazon) on

Will it work? Kirthi Kalyanam, Director of the Retail Management Institute at Santa Clara University's Leavey School of Business, said that a new format is needed for online grocery shopping to catch on, and order-ahead pick-up could give consumers the control they need when it comes to grocery shopping.

Kirthi Kalyanam, Director of the Retail Management Institute, Santa Clara University Leavey School of Business“I don’t think there’s one modality for grocery shopping,” Kalyanam told the Business Journal. “Some customers are going to order online and are happy to have it delivered to the house. Some want to order online and pick it up on the way home. Even the same consumer has different shopping-delivery needs on different occasions. One thing we know isthe more options a company gives consumers from a retail shopping point of view, the better the chance of success.”

While it’s not a sure bet, it is an interesting idea on how to bring grocery shopping into the internet fold. And if it does succeed, what will this mean for grocery shopping as we know it? If it catches on enough that consumers see it as more beneficial than to visit a traditional format, Kalyanam said that demand will restructure, as will the industry.

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