According to reports unconfirmed by the company, Amazon plans to set up 2,000 food stores within 10 years in the US, starting off with a pilot programme of 20 stores by the end of 2018. The stores would reportedly operate under the Amazon Fresh banner and would be tested in two formats – a more traditional store with shelves and shopping carts and one which was ''click & collect'' where users ordered beforehand (or in store on a kiosk) and just picked up.
Amazon is a food industry player, already, and operates both online and with its Amazon Fresh service (now in 17 markets), where shoppers pay $14.99 a month for the service which required an Amazon Prime membership as well.
According to Business Insider, the plan, based on documents they had obtained, contained many details, including that the pickup locations would be 10,000 square feet and the more traditional format would be 30,000 square foot.
The plan will reportedly deploy cutting edge technology like AR to read a customer's license plate as they enter the area to speed up their curbside delivery. According to the report, ''Amazon believes that some of its stores will offer enough of a draw to become ''destination stores'' that consumers are willing to drive across town or even out of town to shop at.''
According to commentators, Amazon had tripled in size in the last five years, accounting for 50 per cent of all retail growth in 2015, and was looking to fresh grocery as a way to fuel its continued rapid growth. Though several industry experts had predicted that Amazon would move more into the sector, but the speed with which the company was expanding was notable.
Sterling Hawkins, operations and venture relations, CART said, Amazon had long been known for sacrificing short term profits for long term opportunity and had been studying grocery for years and with this additional focus, Amazon's ability to learn and willingness to invest could make it a national grocery player in a relatively short amount of time, chainstoreage.com reported.