Amazon is on the cusp of opening its cashier-less stores — but it has one major challenge to overcome

Amazon is getting closer to opening its first cashier-less grocery store after months of delays, but it has one major challenge to overcome.

The store, called Amazon Go, can accurately charge individual shoppers for items they remove from shelves, but it’s still unable to accurately charge groups of shoppers like families, Bloomberg reports. Continue reading “Amazon is on the cusp of opening its cashier-less stores — but it has one major challenge to overcome”

Raley’s expanding grocery delivery to Sacramento-area residents

Raley’s is expanding its delivery service throughout the Sacramento area as grocery competition continues to rise.

The grocer said Monday that it is offering the expanded service through its eCart e-commerce platform, which enables online ordering. The delivery service, launched in Alameda in August, now includes residents living in Sacramento, Elk Grove, Roseville, Folsom and El Dorado Hills.

The service is offered in specific ZIP codes. That list can be seen at raleys.com/go/delivery. Continue reading “Raley’s expanding grocery delivery to Sacramento-area residents”

Walmart is charging different prices online and in-store

Walmart has started charging higher prices online than in-store in an effort to save on shipping costs and push shoppers to brick-and-mortar locations, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Some products on Walmart.com now list an “online” and “in-store” price to let consumers know the difference. Products ranging from macaroni & cheese to toothbrushes have diverging prices, though many products remain unaffected. Continue reading “Walmart is charging different prices online and in-store”

Target is spending $7 billion to remodel 1,000 stores — here’s what they will look like

Target said Wednesday that it’s ramping up the pace of its store remodels and plans to renovate more than 1,000 US stores by 2020.

Many of the stores will feature two entrances: one for quick trips and another for more leisurely shops. Dozens of stores will also have dedicated rooms for nursing mothers.

Target is spending $7 billion on the remodels.

The company’s first “next-generation” store just opened in Richmond, Texas. Here’s what it looks like.

Continue reading “Target is spending $7 billion to remodel 1,000 stores — here’s what they will look like”

Goldman warns on grocers: Customers are becoming ‘comfortable’ with ordering food online

Online e-commerce will exacerbate the already-competitive supermarket backdrop and spells uncertainty for grocers down the road, according to Goldman Sachs.

While dollar stores may be more “immune” to the growing challenges, analyst Christopher Prykull assumed cautious coverage on a slew of supermarket names, including a sell rating on Sprouts and a neutral rating on Kroger. Continue reading “Goldman warns on grocers: Customers are becoming ‘comfortable’ with ordering food online”

Food fight in Aisle 4! Competing supermarkets slug it out

Kelly Peterson just wanted something for dinner.

She had no idea that she was walking into the trenches in a grocery war.

“I love this new store,” said Peterson, munching the free popcorn in a remodeled Cub Foods in Stillwater.

The supermarket, known as the company’s “flagship,” has been retrofitted with every weapon they could think of — bars for burritos and ice-cream sandwiches, an in-store popcorn stand and juice bar, and dinner-in-a-pouch line called “Quick and Easy.” Continue reading “Food fight in Aisle 4! Competing supermarkets slug it out”

Small grocers are winning with service and prepared foods

As competition among chain grocers heats up, small players are having a tough time keeping pace with the flashy remodels, surging private label launches and other measures large retailers are taking to stand out. Without the investment capital to update their stores and selection, many independents risk becoming obsolete.

Many news reports have, in fact, painted a picture very different from the one outlined by The Associated Press, which focused on Wisconsin independents. One small grocer profiled by the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle said she put out a plea on social media telling people they need to patronize the store or it would close. She told the paper she experienced a surge in business to keep the store open in the short term, but said she would have to hold on to the new customers in order to stay afloat. Continue reading “Small grocers are winning with service and prepared foods”

Kroger is using Google and Microsoft clouds to avoid paying Amazon

As Kroger moves to cloud computing, the nation’s largest grocery store chain is sending millions of dollars to Microsoft and Google.

But not to Amazon.

“For obvious reasons competitively, it doesn’t make sense for us to do a ton to help grow that business for them,” Chris Hjelm, Kroger’s chief information officer, told CNBC in an interview.

With Amazon’s retail business pushing into more industries and competing more directly with a growing number of companies, Amazon Web Services is starting to experience a backlash. Kroger is joining the likes of Wal-Mart and Target in finding other vendors to handle their massive workloads for their digital and e-commerce offerings. Alphabet said in its latest earnings release that Kohl’s has moved to Google’s cloud.

In a blog post on Monday, venture capitalist Glenn Solomon from GGV Capital underscored how pervasive this has become. Solomon said several of his firm’s portfolio companies that use AWS have been asked by retail clients to “provide a mirrored service on another cloud because they’d prefer not to have their data stored with Amazon given competitive fears.”

For Kroger, that fear has become more obvious by the day. In August, Amazon bought Whole Foods for $13.7 billion and instantly cut prices at the upscale grocer. CNBC has also been reporting on Amazon’s potential efforts to crack the pharmacy market, another reason for Kroger to be concerned. 

Continue reading “Kroger is using Google and Microsoft clouds to avoid paying Amazon”

How Many Robots Does It Take to Fill a Grocery Order?

The U.K.’s biggest online grocer hit a milestone this year: Ocado Group Plc put together an order of 50 items, including produce, meat and dairy, in five minutes. Fulfilling a similar order at one of the company’s older facilities takes an average of about two hours. The secret: a fleet of 1,000 robots that scurry about a warehouse snatching up products and delivering them to human packers.

The breakthrough and ones like it could help propel the grocery business into the modern era. The industry wants to make buying food online as simple and commonplace as purchasing clothes or consumer electronics. But fulfilling fresh food orders quickly, reliably and profitably is devilishly hard. Even Amazon.com Inc., which recently acquired Whole Foods Market, hasn’t cracked the code and recently halted its Amazon Fresh service in several U.S. states.  Continue reading “How Many Robots Does It Take to Fill a Grocery Order?”