We have become a society of convenience. And today’s technology is more than able to keep us that way. In fact, it’s making it increasingly easy to leave the house only to go to work (for those of us who don’t work at home, that is) and for other reasons that have nothing to do with acquiring goods. There is one market, however, that still eludes even Amazon: fresh groceries.
Let’s face it. It’s one thing to bundle non-perishables on a truck that follows the most efficient route based on the location of deliveries. Perishable items, such as milk and fresh produce, are a whole new puzzle. How do you keep costs under control by cutting gas and delivery times and deliver fresh produce before it spoils? And how do you make sure the recipient is home to receive them and put them away in a timely fashion? Amazon has been thinking about this issue for the past ten years. And it seems like it’s on the verge of a breakthrough.
The key to finding a solution to the problem was to completely rethink the problem. The solution won’t get you fresh produce to your door, but it will make y shopping for groceries a whole lot easier. Amazon has announced that it will be buying the Whole Foods supermarket chain for a whopping $13.7 billion. Amazon’s largest purchase to date will allow the company to let its customers order their groceries online and then pick them up at the Whole Foods location of their choice within 15 minutes. Shoppers won’t even have to get out of their cars – Whole Foods employees will deliver groceries right to their trunks. You’re still going to have to get out of the house, but you’ll be spending considerably less time shopping and won’t have to contend with other shoppers and long checkout lines. Which, in our opinion, is a big deal in and of itself.
This is an extremely smart move on Amazon’s part. Fresh produce is an almost untapped market with huge potential. Currently, one in four United States household is buying groceries online, and that number is estimated to climb to 70 percent in the next 10 years. Getting into the game early is key here, as it will allow Amazon to establish a market and refine its processes ahead of the competition.