Amazon launches store-pick grocery service in Seattle

AP-Economy-1

A beta version of Amazon's cashier-less convenience store, opened to the company's employees in December, has been functioning flawlessly-as long as there are fewer than 20 people in the store and those people are walking slowly. The current pickup locations can be found in Settle's SODO and Ballard neighborhoods.

However, one equity research firm expects online groceries to be a key driver of accelerating online shopping activity in the years ahead, growing at two times the rate of overall US e-commerce growth. It is once again diving into another brick and mortar venture in the form of grocery stores. They cater to consumers' existing shopping habits, help establish Amazon as a grocery brand, and nudge them toward making more of their food purchases online.

The wider opening of Amazon Go stores in the U.S. and further afield is reported to have been put on hold until the kinks can be ironed out.

Amazon's latest foray into bridging the divide between e-commerce and physical commerce is AmazonFresh Pickup, a service that offers drive-in pickup of grocery orders placed online.

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Its "early 2017" launch target did seem rather ambitious, and now we learn that an apparent technical glitch means Amazon does indeed have to delay the opening of its first public Go store. Now being tested in Seattle, these AmazonFresh locations will let Prime members order groceries via app and have them available in as little as 15 minutes for pickup. Our Just Walk Out Technology automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual cart.

However, the technology is reportedly having difficulties with the payment system, according to reports. It also has a grocery store in Seattle, where customers can just walk, pick up the products and walk out, thanks to the company's Amazon Go service.

Despite starting out as a company that would end physical shops, Amazon appears to be moving in a different direction with talk of physical shops that sell appliances and furniture - things people are often more reticent to buy online without seeing first.

Amazon is a name we all know and admire as it has made our lives so much easier on various levels.

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