As Amazon continues to build its retail-technology empire, including Amazon Go, Amazon Fresh, Amazon Prime, Key by Amazon, Amazon 4-Star, Amazon Books and, just last month, Amazon Salon in London, it’s noteworthy when the Seattle-based e-tailing giant decides to remove one of its brands from the marketplace. Today, Amazon confirmed to WGB that it is rebranding its Amazon Go Grocery concept to Amazon Fresh.
“To simplify the experience for our customers, we’re rebranding our Amazon Go Grocery stores to Amazon Fresh,” an Amazon spokesperson told WGB. “As part of this process, we’re closing the Amazon Go Grocery store in Redmond, Wash., and transitioning all employees to a nearby Amazon Fresh location in Bellevue-Factoria.” The other Amazon Go Grocery store in Seattle’s Capitol Hill will remain open and will be rebranded to Amazon Fresh, the spokesperson added.
While Amazon Go, the company’s checkout-free convenience store format is distinctly different from its Amazon Fresh grocery concept, Amazon Go Grocery, which launched in February 2020, offered a limited extension of its c-store brand. Rebranding Amazon Go Grocery makes sense given the company’s focus on putting its eggs in the growing Amazon Fresh basket.
In addition to eight Amazon Fresh stores already open in Southern California; four stores open in Illinois; and two in the U.K., last month Amazon confirmed with WGB additional stores are slated for Woodland Park and Paramus, N.J., as well as Seattle and Bellevue, Wash. Most recently, Amazon Fresh has announced its newest store in Franconia, Va., will open to the public on May 27. The approximately 30,000-square-foot Franconia location at 7005 C Manchester Blvdis the first Amazon Fresh store to open in the greater Washington, D.C. area.
An Amazon Fresh in Bucks County, Pa. appears ready for opening any day now, say locals. Additional Amazon Fresh locations are reportedly in the works for Sacramento, Calif., Rochester Hills, Mich., St. Louis, Mo., Northern Virginia, and several locations in Maryland.
Some industry analysts question Amazon Fresh’s ability to become a “market mainstay,” while others say the brand is resonating with millennial shoppers and successfully using its physical grocery stores as both a hub for delivery and a place to shop for a curated selection of grocery items. The technology piece is also a compelling draw for younger shoppers. Amazon Fresh stores are outfitted with technology throughout, including Amazon’s Alexa information services and Amazon Dash Cart checkout-free technology.
Though Amazon has chosen to eliminate Amazon Go Grocery in favor of Amazon Fresh, few companies have embraced the power of branding on the level of Amazon, and in all likelihood, the market will continue to see newly Amazon-branded stores and services rather than fewer. Through Amazon Fresh, the online retailer has created a physical brand awareness experience that is front and center with the grocery shopper.
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.