Science & Technology



Jennifer Van Grove: Sorry, Amazon, but your grocery delivery products are confounding

Jennifer Van Grove, San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in Science & Technology News

It's a very real concern. AmazonFresh has let me down more often than not in the quality department. It's apparently let others down, too, what with Amazon scaling back on Fresh delivery areas in the U.S.

Plus, the redundancy of Amazon's grocery efforts is not lost on the audience tracking and analyzing Amazon's every move. During the company's most recent conference call with analysts, Scott Devitt with Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., called out the obvious -- though using much politer language than a regular person would ever use.

"Prime Now, Fresh, Prime Pantry, and Whole Foods, they're all distinct offerings, but it does seem like there's natural overlap with the potential to be further connected," he said. "And I was just wondering if you could just speak to how we should think about those four as distinct product offerings in the future versus being more integrated and possibly even in some cases, eliminated to remove overlap from a customer experience standpoint."

In other words, what are you thinking, Amazon?

Here's the company's formal reasoning, as supplied by a company spokesperson:

"Each service offers customers something unique and different: Prime Now offers one and free two-hour delivery on our most popular Amazon items and daily essentials; AmazonFresh offers same and next-day delivery on all the groceries you need for weekly shopping; Prime Pantry offers low-priced household staples, in everyday sizes for a flat $5.99 shipping fee, customers can order as much or as little as they want.

Amazon continues to innovate on behalf of customers to make grocery shopping an easier and faster task so they can get back to doing the things they love. As a result, we've created a variety of innovative services that satisfy customers' different needs as it relates to grocery shopping. We have loyal customers who use each of these services, and some who use all three."

Another rationale, from Amazon's Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky, makes a little more sense. He said shoppers in the real world go to convenience stores, supermarkets and super stores, implying those behaviors carry over to online shopping depending on consumers' needs.


You almost had me, Brian. But I go to Amazon to skip the inconveniences of offline shopping -- think: visiting multiple stores, finding inconsistent prices and dealing with the overall time suck -- not replicate them.

About The Writer

Jennifer Van Grove covers e-commerce and digital lifestyle for The San Diego Union Tribune. Readers may send her email at

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