Online retailer, Amazon, Inc. has decided to turn the pressure on Britain’s traditional supermarkets up a notch with the launch of a new offer of packaged groceries nationwide on Friday for all those who are members of Amazon Prime. This is one of the most ambitious moves that the ecommerce giant has made for gaining some traction in the rapidly growing online grocery market in Britain. However, it stops a bit short of being exactly like the retailer’s Amazon Fresh service, which offers people about 20,000 frozen, chilled and perishable items and products from local shops. According to the speculations of retail analysts, the US firm is getting ready for launching Amazon Fresh in Britain in the next year.
An annual fee of 79 pounds or about $120 is paid by members of Amazon Prime and the new ‘Amazon Pantry’ service will enable them to choose from nearly 4000 everyday essentials in a variety of sizes, which include numerous popular brands of household supplies, pet care, food and drink, child and baby and beauty and health. Members will have at their disposal a 20 kg Amazon Pantry box that can be filled up for delivery on a single day. The first box will be priced at 2.99 whereas every additional box will be charged 99 pence each for the same order.
Helene Parthenay, the manager of Amazon Pantry at Amazon UK stated that this new service has been designed to reduce the heavy lifting involved in replacing and replenishing the store cupboard essentials and bulky basics that are needed by people on a daily basis. The Amazon Pantry service is already offered in other areas, which include the United States, Japan and Germany. All of the four big supermarkets in Britain, which include the market leader Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Wal-Mart’s Asda have suffered from decline in sales and profits because they had to reduce prices for preventing their customers to move onto German discounters Lidl and Aldi.
Online grocery offers are provided by all four of the supermarkets and Morrison had been the last one to make a foray in this market, which it did via an agreement with Ocado. Stats have shown that one of the few market channels that are still growing include online groceries, but the profitability of this channel still remains a question mark. According to some research conducted, the UK online grocery market is expected to double in five years and reach about 1.72 billion pounds.
Food and drinks items have been offered by Amazon to its UK customers since 2010 when its Grocery Store was launched. This year, the ecommerce company had also incorporated a small range of frozen and chilled items to the Prime Now service that it offers. It includes one-hour delivery to customers who live in some postcodes in Birmingham and London. On Friday, Amazon also said that other UK cities will also get Prime Now in the next couple of months. However, it would not include any plans pertaining to Amazon Fresh.