What does the arrival of Amazon Fresh mean for the weekly shop? or Amazon Fresh: Groceries fresh off the block for the UK’s ecommerce industry. With some critics saying this will be the biggest upset to the supermarket industry since the addition of Aldi and Lidl - what will Amazon's competition bring to the UK's online grocery market? How will this alter the collective consumer mindset when it comes to ordering the weekly shop?
It’s official, you can now order your weekly shop so that it can arrive on the same day, with the introduction of Amazon Fresh to the UK. We have already become accustomed to next day delivery options from leading retailers, Asda, Tescos, Sainsburys and Morrisons but Amazon Fresh will feed the demand for an even faster delivery service. With the US under their belt and soon to be UK, Amazon have ambitious plans to also tackle the Australian market - there seems to be no boundaries to Amazon’s plans. Amazon Fresh promise that orders before 1pm will arrive before 11pm on the same day which feeds the collective mindset that everything has to happen now. The service launched for London postcodes only on 9th June and has already caused a mixed response…
The effect on UK competition
The introduction of Amazon Fresh is bad news for established UK online supermarket Ocado, who saw shares drop as investors took note of new competition from the ecommerce giant. Consumers want competitive prices, repeatedly flawless customer service and painless delivery arrangements from their online supermarket - can Ocado’s high end price range compete with this? On the flip side, Morrison’s partnership with Amazon Fresh is a mutually beneficial relationship; Morrisons don’t have to go head to head with Amazon and Amazon Fresh get to supply everyday value products through Morrison’s product offering. Either way, all UK supermarkets will have to work hard to ensure they continue to improve their online delivery infrastructure.
Consumer at heart?
For some reason I always think I’m getting the best deal by buying things on Amazon, it’s a powerful marketing illusion (to clarify, I know it is an illusion!) but I'm wondering if I'm going to win by signing up to Amazon Fresh? To place my first order, I need to be an Amazon Prime member (paying £79) AND I would need to pay an additional £6.99 so if you’re not serious about the convenience factor and you’re physically able to, then it’s certainly cheaper to walk to the nearest supermarket. For those who are existing members of Amazon Prime, the additional cost of £6.99 is an amicable price to pay for fast delivery - it will pay itself after a month’s worth of weekly deliveries.
The online experience
What about the online shopping experience itself? At a glance, Amazon Fresh’s product offering seems far more diverse than the standard supermarket product range, it might be an apt time to point out the 36 types of peanut butter you can order on Amazon Fresh. Their products are sourced locally, nationally and internationally which is distinctly lacking in the inner-city Tesco’s Metros and Sainsbury’s locals. If more brands are now selling online then surely, as consumers, we should benefit from this?
The line between Amazon Fresh and everyday Amazon becomes blurry when using the search. A simple search for bread in Amazon Fresh showed me results for the well known album, The Sound of Bread by Bread and Bread the BBC TV series - third result is Morrisons Garlic & Coriander Mini Naan Breads. Okay, now I’m confused. Inaccurate or irrelevant search results could deter customers from persevering and could result in dropouts. UK Supermarkets have the advantage of loyalty, in exchange, providing an intuitive and personalised experience when it comes to customers searching for their favourite products.
The product browsing experience is classic Amazon, think filters, selected products and product reviews and you've pretty much summed it up. It's all very utilitarian. I'm used to being swayed by clever marketing; unmissable deals and meals defined by cuisine (something which Amazon doesn't seem quite as smart as). Amazon Fresh are right to research their key audiences, tapping into the collective mindset takes time.
The browsing experience should cater for both the decisive and indecisive user by suggesting relevant products, using relatable terminology and being clever with categories. Personalisation is key in an industry which strives for repeat custom.
What's next for food ecommerce?
Ordering food online has massively evolved in the last year with the dawn of improved delivery infrastructures, the quicker an order can be fulfilled the better. We live in an age where everything is instant. What does Amazon Fresh mean for the world of food ecommerce? It means that delivery needs to be faster and more reliable than ever. It means that ecommerce should move quicker than the notion of finding your house keys and heading out to Tescos. It also means that diversity of product offering should not be overlooked, yes people want the staple favourites but they also want the choice.
No doubt, the trends of the UK's grocery market will soon echo that of our American counterparts where Google Shopping Express and Instacart are rivalling Amazon Fresh. In a world where loyalty to a supermarket chain is forgotten in light of geographical location and convenience, there may well be a gap in the market for online retailers.
Have you used Amazon Fresh? Let me know your thoughts.
Gibe Digital are experts in providing positive ecommerce experiences for leading food and drink brands in the UK. Gibe are currently working on a project for a Farm Shop selling high end fresh meat, fish and other delicious produce - we'll let you know when it's live!
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