We got all excited about those Amazon drones, and while it’s not quite the same thing, the fact that AmazonFresh is now in San Francisco is pretty interesting. (Though we can’t wait for our groceries to be delivered by drones.)
Already available in Seattle and Los Angeles, AmazonFresh costs $299 a year and promises fresh produce, meats, dairy and other foodstuff delivered on the same or next day. (Amazon Prime membership is automatically included; existing Prime members will be refunded for their membership on a prorated basis.)
Initially, customers in “select” areas of San Francisco, according to Amazon, can try the service for a free, 30-day trial. Customers can order by mobile app or on the Amazon site. The company says if you order over $35, you can get free same-day and early morning delivery.
AmazonFresh works with local shops and restaurants, meaning you can sample from many of the city’s foodie hotspots:
We bring your city to your doorstep — from bakery to ethnic foods to gourmet meals. Order up fresh salmon from San Francisco Fish Company, a tasty apple pie from Three Babes Bakeshop, or a crisp salad from Square Meals.
USA Today reports that consumer packaged goods, including perishable food, is a $222 billion a year potential opportunity for Amazon in the U.S. But the story notes that it is difficult and expensive to deliver fresh food quickly to a wide geographic area. (Remember Webvan?)
And Amazon faces competition, especially here in the tech-savvy Bay Area. As the Los Angeles Times notes, “in Northern California, the service may run into competitors such as Google Shopping Express, which launched a test run with free same-day delivery in the Bay Area in the spring.” Not to mention existing services such as Instacart and Safeway.
Of course, the world’s largest internet retailer competes on other levels, hoping we’ll browse for other items after ordering our milk. The mind boggles contemplating the possibilities, as laid out by Amazon: “More than 500,000 everyday essentials, delivered at the time slot of your choice. What’s on your list? Whether it’s apples, shampoo, or a digital camera, we’ve got what you need to keep your household running smoothly.”