Amazon is about to expand ever further into the grocery business in a big way, sources tell the Wall Street Journal. Plans include opening convenience stores where shoppers can grab perishable groceries (milk, meat, fruit, etc.) to take home while using their mobile phones or touchscreens inside the store to order non-perishable goods (cereal, peanut butter, etc.) for same-day delivery. The company is also looking into opening drive-in locations where Amazon Fresh customers can have their grocery orders delivered to their cars. Quartz reports that Walmart has a similar grocery pickup service at approximately 400 locations nationally.
But a grocery analyst says don't get too excited for an Amazon grocery store on every corner. “There’s no particular advantage to Amazon to open physical stores," Jim Prevor tells USA Today. Instead, he says its more about market research than actually opening locations around the country. For instance, only three drive-up grocery locations are planned: two in California and one in Seattle. Still, groceries are seen as—in Quartz's words—"the holy grail of online shopping," with experts predicting drastically increasing sales in the coming years. Amazon has been delivering groceries to customers' homes through Amazon Fresh for nine years.