As the Amazon family takes on new territories, the company may be transitioning into a larger, umbrella-like business structure, according to a recent Wall Street Journal Report. In the report, sources close to the company have revealed that Amazon is consolidating its physical retail and fast-delivery operations under Steve Kessel.
The veteran Amazon exec is taking on the responsibilities for Prime Now, Amazon’s rapid-delivery operation, and AmazonFresh, the company’s grocery-delivery arm. And on top of these responsibilities, Kessel will tackle Whole Foods and Amazon’s physical book and convenience stores. Amazon’s focus will be to reinvent consumers’ shopping habits and to soften the changes across the company’s multiple platforms.
“I think over time you’ll see more cooperation and more working together between AmazonFresh, Prime Now, and Whole Foods, as we explore different ways to serve the customer,” Brian Olsavsky, Amazon’s Chief Financial Officer, noted in a quarterly earnings call late last month reported on by the WSJ.
Kessel's new role comes after many years of innovative contributions to the company's growth. In 2015, when Kessel returned to Amazon after a sabbatical, he saw his brainchild, Amazon Books, come to fruition. In this endeavor, Kessel experimented with the book store that scanned books, instead of pricing them, to accumulate localized data. Kessel was instrumental in the creation of Amazon Go, the cashier-less convenience store that is still in beta testing. Kessel also led the Kindle e-reader development and the Fire tablet development in 2011.
When Whole Foods was acquired, Kessel was placed in charge of the in-coming company, reporting to Retail Chief Jeff Wilke. More recently, Prime Now and AmazonFresh have been added to his plate. According to WSJ, analysts say that the industry may see a combining of its grocery operations’ supply chains and an adding of fast Whole Foods deliveries. Kessel’s leadership is displaying an acute awareness of the market, as he was reportedly responsible for the company scaling back some delivery services in specific zip codes.
“We’re going to learn with them how we can efficiently—and in a high-quality way—deliver groceries to our customers,” said Wilke in a recent interview.
These efforts are in light of the company’s devotion to incorporating Prime Now, while seeking to fulfill its promises of lowering prices, delivering Amazon lockers, and offering Prime benefits to subscribing in-store shoppers.
Deli Market News will continue to report as more details on the company's restructuring efforts are forthcoming.