It’s that time of year when we’re all tempted by the ease and convenience of ordering from Amazon. But would you be happy to order your Christmas food shop alongside your Christmas presents?
Thanks to the recent launch of Amazon’s ‘Pantry’ service in the UK this could soon be possible. It’s only available to Prime members, who will now be able to fill a Pantry box with up to 20kg of groceries from a list of 4,000 items. Delivery of a first box costs £2.99 with further boxes charged at 99p.
You won’t be able to order fresh fruit and vegetables just yet – but the retail giant aims to have that one covered very soon when it launches its full grocery service, AmazonFresh.
Will Amazon food orders work?
Amazon has tried to branch out into the world of food and drink before. We tested it back in 2010 with pretty disastrous results:
‘Our poor tester who had eight deliveries for her full grocery order. Eight! And to make matters worse, not all were delivered on the same day – in fact, the whole lot took a week to arrive! Our tester’s postage totalled £60 on an order costing £74. No-one can consider that value for money…’
So can Amazon make food orders work with its new venture? If it can get the price and the deliveries right then its monopoly on just-about-anything-you-could-ever-want-to-buy will be complete. A rather depressing thought for me – but for the supermarkets too, I’d imagine.
Amazon vs the supermarket
I’ve never bought into online grocery shopping – to me, it removes another layer of interaction, both in terms of chatting to shop staff and deciding which carrots to buy. But I’m lucky to have lots of great local shops, which means I can avoid supermarkets as much as possible – and a car when needs must.
Many people don’t have these options, so online shopping is a handy solution. The question is, will ordering food from Amazon be any different from doing an online shop with a supermarket?
I want to know where Amazon will be sourcing its fresh food from – and how much it might try to undercut competitors. Make grocery shopping much cheaper and our already-stretched farmers will struggle to meet demand. I’m worried that extra competition could force supermarkets to squeeze our food producers’ margins way beyond what they need to survive.
How appealing is Amazon’s Pantry service to you? Is speed and convenience more important than a personal shopping service? Would you use it regularly if it’s cheaper than supermarkets – or do you share my concerns about the wider implications of adding more competition to the groceries market?