Amazon Fresh continues to expand with the opening of its first Maryland store on Aug. 26. While the location at 5463 Wisconsin Avenue in Chevy Chase is its first in the state, it’s the Seattle-based retailer’s third in the Washington, D.C. area, having recently opened stores in Franconia, Va. and Logan Circle, D.C.
About 200 eager shoppers lined up—some as earlier as 4:30 a.m., while proudly proclaiming Amazon Prime member status—outside the 33,172-square-foot store on opening day, reported local Chevy Chase radio station WTOP.
The new Amazon Fresh is tech enhanced and affordably priced like its 17 other locations across the country, the company said. What sets the Chevy Chase location apart from others is its proximity to a Whole Foods Market, which opened in 2010, located is just across the street. (The Fresh store space was formerly occupied by Ahold Delhaize USA’s Giant Food chain, which closed the unit early last year, citing a relatively small footprint for its format and surrounding larger units, local reports said).
Amazon and industry analysts have continued to say that the two grocers, despite their common parent-owner, attract different shoppers and as such, the grocers see no cannibalization of sales from either side of the road.
“Whole Foods Market is a pioneer in natural and organic groceries. Amazon Fresh offers customers a wide selection of grocery products, from national brands and everyday favorites, at great low prices,” an Amazon Fresh spokesperson told WGB. “Amazon Fresh operates alongside Whole Foods Market, and we’ll invest and grow both businesses. We view them as complimentary and are excited to offer customers in Chevy Chase both options.”
In addition to national brands like Coca-Cola and Kraft Mac and Cheese; local brands like Taharka Brothers Ice Cream; regional favorites like CAVA dips; and Amazon exclusive brands like Aplenty and Fresh; the new Amazon Fresh also offers 365 by Whole Foods Market organics products.
The Chevy Chase Amazon Fresh also features free, same-day pick-up and delivery for Prime members, as well as other conveniences such as the Amazon Dash Cart, which enables customers to skip the checkout line. Alexa kiosks are also in-store to help customers manage their shopping lists and better navigate store aisles, says the company. Traditional checkout lanes are also available to customers at this store.
“We’re excited to introduce Amazon Fresh to the Chevy Chase community today. As we open our doors, customers will discover a unique checkout-free shopping experience with our Amazon Dash Cart, which offers the ultimate convenience when shopping for low-priced, high-quality foods,” said Amy Denner, store manager of Chevy Chase Amazon Fresh, in a statement. “I’m looking forward to the positive impact this new store will have on the local area, which starts with the hundreds of good jobs we’ve created for the community.”
For shoppers who wished there was a store that combined their favorite Whole Foods products with mainstream grocery items such as Coca-Cola and Kraft Mac and Cheese, and accompanied this magical mixture with the online-savvy, delivery, Alexa-enabled and checkout-free technology of Amazon, dreams do come true. Amazon Fresh, which opened its new Woodland Hills, Calif., location to select customers on Aug. 27, plans to welcome the public in the coming weeks.
“Customers can find items in the store more quickly by using Alexa and Alexa shopping lists,” according to the Amazon Fresh blog. “When customers arrive in-store, they can access their Alexa shopping list through the Amazon app or on the Amazon Dash Cart, enabling them to quickly navigate aisles and check off items as they shop. Throughout the store we have Amazon Echo Show devices available to ask Alexa for help—simply say, ‘Alexa, where can I find the hot sauce?’ ”
Unlike sister store Whole Foods Market, which is often referred to as “Whole Paycheck,” the Amazon Fresh store said it “offers consistently low prices for all” and free same-day delivery and pickup for Prime members. Here, the Amazon Dash Cart is also in play, allowing customers to skip the checkout line. Shoppers sign into the cart using a QR code on their Amazon app, and then place their bags in the cart, shop and exit through the Dash Cart lane. The cart uses a combination of computer vision algorithms and sensor fusion to identify items in the cart.
Shoppers can request Order Ahead items from the deli, meat and seafood counters, as well as whole pizzas via the Amazon app when they arrive in-store or on the way there. Customers can also shop while their Order Ahead items are prepared. Amazon Fresh will notify them when the order is ready for pickup at the service counter.
WANT BREAKING NEWS AT YOUR FINGERTIPS?
Get today’s need-to-know grocery industry intelligence. Sign up to receive texts from Winsight Grocery Business.