Does Amazon Fresh have a future?

The Lempert Report
January 10, 2014

Just as it is in a bricks and mortar environment…success will be built on the level of food and experience.

Despite all the press surrounding the launch of Amazon Fresh, not much has been written about just how well (or not) Amazon Fresh’s is doing with the customer experience.

Amazon is an amazing concept and company, which has changed the way many Americans shop, but when it comes to Amazon Fresh, there certainly seem to be some growing pains.

Collectively, we have ordered full shopping lists from Amazon Fresh over a dozen times. Dairy, frozen, produce, canned goods, packaged goods, paper goods, cleaning supplies - everything that a typical shopper would purchase on a regular grocery shopping trip and unfortunately we have found many drawbacks to the service. First, and probably a huge barrier for many is that you are forced to buy multi-paks for many products. For example, McCain’s Steel Cut Oats come in packs of three or six cans only, Fisher walnuts came only in a box of 12-2 ounce packages and Kavli crisp bread is also only available in a box of 12-5.29 ounce packages.

Another quirk is they use frozen bottles of Dasani water to keep frozen and refrigerated products chilled. Nothing against Dasani, but we have to wonder just how long Amazon Fresh, or Coca-Cola, can afford to give away a dozen or more bottles of water with each order.

Most of the produce items were fine, although a couple needed to be credited since they were damaged in transit, and when ordering produce we found many items not available for next day delivery, and therefore had to push the orders another day later.

So, will Amazon Fresh make it after all? Or is this just another iteration of the Webvans and HomeGrocers? It will all depend on how they address these types of issues. Peapod’s success (after more than twenty years) rests with the unflappable focus of Andrew and Tom Parkinson amid much criticism and failure. Yes, online grocery ordering and delivery is here to stay. Just as it is in a bricks and mortar environment…success will be built on the level of food and experience.