Amazon.com may have the brick & mortar bug. Following the launch of bookstores and pickup locations on college campuses and in New York, Amazon is reportedly planning on building drive-up grocery stores in the San Francisco Bay area and Seattle. If the reports are true, what will Amazon grocery stores mean for competing retailers in areas where it opens for business? What will it mean for the industry as a whole if Amazon takes the concept nationwide?
According to GeekWire, permits filed in Seattle point to plans to renovate a building in the city’s Ballard neighborhood for the purpose of constructing a 9,759-square-foot space where customers can place their orders online and pick them up at the store.
Workers at the site, dubbed Project X, either have no idea what they are working on or are contractually obligated to keep mum on the subject, according to workers who spoke with GeekWire.
The description of the project in the planning documents are “matches” to those found in California where Amazon was reported to be building drive-up grocery stores just over a year ago by Silicon Valley Business Journal. The same architect is involved in both the San Francisco Bay area and Seattle projects.
The documents for the California stores said customers would place orders for groceries and other items online and then choose specific 15-minute to two-hour windows to pick up their orders. Customers would have the option of picking orders up on their bikes or on foot as well as in their cars.
As previously reported by RetailWire, Amazon would not be the first with drive-up grocery stores as both Walmart Pickup – Grocery began operating in the chain’s in hometown of Bentonville in September 2014. Independent Zoomin Market has been operating its own drive-through service since April of the same year.
Beyond drive-through services, buy online and pickup inside or outside the store services are going through a period of tremendous growth at the moment. Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Walmart Stores, told analysts on last week’s earnings call that gains made in the latest quarter were directly attributable to “the continued rollout of online grocery and growth of pick-up in stores and clubs.”