Grocery shopping: Love it or dread it. For the dreaders among us, grocery shopping may soon get easier if Amazon.com (Amazon.corn?) and Wal-Mart brawl for the No. 1 spot in the online version of the trade.
Reuters reported recently that Amazon is ready to motor its produce trucks, AmazonFresh, operating in Seattle, further down the West Coast to Los Angeles and San Francisco.
If those new locations click, the company may launch AmazonFresh in 20 other urban areas in 2014, Reuters says.
Wal-Mart, lagging far behind Amazon as an online powerhouse, does have an edge as a grocer. The retailer “already sells more groceries than any other U.S. supermarket, just $7 billion less than the annual revenues of Kroger, Safeway and Supervalu combined,” NECN/NBC News reports.
The news from Wal-Mart’s June annual meeting is that it’s testing same-day grocery store delivery service and will soon install in-store lockers for online order pickups, MarketWatch reports. A day earlier, however, a company executive told Reuters the retailer had no plans to expand its U.S. online grocery delivery owing to lack of demand.
To read what the retail analysts have to say about a billion-dollar food fight, see “Walmart vs. Amazon in Online Groceries: Who Has the Edge?” published at Knowledge@Wharton.
Eric K. Clemons, Wharton professor of operations and information management, foresees “a war for control” of the market.
Clemons tells Knowledge@Wharton that Wal-Mart’s strengths include having a great reputation with consumers as well as a huge network for buying and distributing groceries. Having a national network of retail locations allows the company to implement a hybrid Internet/brick-and-mortar model. Wal-Mart’s weakness is that its customers might be “more traditional (and) less savvy than Amazon’s customers,” Clemons says.
Amazon’s low-cost distribution system for two-day delivery of shelf-stable items (think canned goods and detergents) is an advantage, Clemons points out. But for perishable goods, Amazon will have to overcome its limited relationships with grocery suppliers and minimal physical presence.
Any potential war could get hotter. Clemons sees Costco entering the brawl.
On our list for a SUPER market: Order online. Drive up and have someone put your bags in your trunk. Have a policy that forbids tipping.
And another thing we like about selecting our vittles from home — no way is our mouse ever going to be as gunky as the handles of grocery-store shopping carts.
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