Latest news on Amazon’s grocery business and wider retail expansion

  • Amazon has huge plans to grow its fresh grocery business.
  • This includes a larger network of physical stores and many new projects, such as a smart refrigerator.
  • But Fresh employees say there is a “toxic” work culture, as well as an environment of “burnout”.

Amazon has been trying to break into the fiercely competitive grocery market for years, primarily through its Fresh delivery service.

Those efforts took a serious turn in 2017 when Amazon bought Whole Foods for $ 13.7 billion. In recent years, Amazon has also launched its own Fresh-branded physical grocery stores and expanded delivery offerings for its Prime members.

Still, many questions remain about where the company is heading and how Amazon plans to attack the multibillion-dollar grocery market.

Here’s a look at the latest news on Amazon’s grocery business that covers its Fresh delivery team, physical stores, and initiatives, such as partnership ideas and secret hardware projects.

Amazon has big plans for its fresh groceries

Amazon Fresh Factoria store

An Amazon Fresh store in Washington.

Amazon


Amazon opened its first Fresh brick-and-mortar grocery store last year. A year later, she launched a Fresh store with “Just Walk Out” cashierless technology.

And that’s just the start of a very ambitious plan to launch hundreds of Fresh stores in the United States, according to internal documents obtained by Insider. Amazon last year planned to open 580 Fresh stores nationwide by 2023, though it appears the company is already behind schedule.

An important factor in the expansion plan is the lower cost of “Just Walk Out” technology. Amazon expects that spending to decline by nearly 75% between 2020 and 2023, according to one of the internal documents reviewed by Insider.

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Amazon Fresh employees are increasingly frustrated

Amazon Fresh supermarket in London

An Amazon Fresh supermarket in London.

Reuters / HENRY NICHOLLS


As Amazon’s expectations for its grocery business grow, employees are feeling the pressure.

In February, an Amazon grocery store executive had to address concerns about a “toxic” culture and “burnout” at work. In August, employees raised similar concerns at an all-in-house meeting, saying the grocery service was “inferior” and the company had a “bureaucratic” culture.

New hires have also voiced concerns about the company’s opaque performance review system and the increase in the number of executive departures in recent years. Amazon’s grocery vice president Stephenie Landry downplayed this, calling reports on some of the issues “fake news.”

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Amazon has new ideas for its grocery business

Just Walk Out technology from the Amazon Fresh store

An Amazon Fresh store.

Reuters / HENRY NICHOLLS


The Fresh team offers a bunch of new ideas to grow their business.

One of the more creative ideas is to use some of the computer vision technology found in its cashier-less stores in a new smart refrigerator. The appliance would be able to automatically detect out-of-stock items and make purchase recommendations.

Amazon is also working on a type of point of sale system that could be sold to other retailers. It wants to use some of the features of its stores and link them to other Amazon services, such as Prime membership, Flex delivery, and the One Palm payment system.

Another idea from Amazon is to partner with other retailers to build their Amazon Go stores in an existing location. For example, he’s had discussions with Starbucks about launching a new lounge-style cafe that has a separate section for his Amazon Go cashless store.

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Do you work at Amazon? Contact reporter Eugene Kim through Signal or Telegram encrypted messaging apps (+ 1-650-942-3061) or email ([email protected]). Contact us using a non-professional device. See Insider’s Sources Guide for more tips on sharing information securely.

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