Inside Amazon’s earliest Amazon Fresh grocery shop in Los Angeles.
Amazon is launching its supermarket shops on the East Coast, the company confirmed Thursday, in the most recent sign of its efforts to upend conventional supermarkets.
The organization programs to open two grocery stores in the Washington, D.C., area. An individual will be in town’s Logan Circle neighborhood and another will be in the northern Virginia town of Franconia, not far from Amazon’s second headquarters, dubbed HQ2, that is from the Crystal City section of Arlington.
Two other grocery stores are intended for the Philadelphia suburb of Warrington, Pennsylvania, also for Chevy Chase, Maryland, Amazon confirmed Thursday.
The company declined to comment on whether the four shops will be Fresh stores or if the places are going to open.
“We’re thrilled to bring two Amazon grocery stores to the Washington, D.C. and northern Virginia area, creating hundreds of new job opportunities for residents living in the region,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement. “We can also confirm that we’re hiring for Zone Leads for an Amazon grocery store in the Warrington, PA and Chevy Chase, MD area.”
In September, Amazon opened its very first Fresh grocery shop in Los Angeles’ Woodland Hills neighborhood. It has since opened a handful of other locations throughout Southern California and in several suburbs of Chicago.
Amazon’s Fresh stores look like a traditional supermarket, but also feature some high-tech touches, such as smart Dash Carts that let shoppers skip the checkout line, and voice-activated Echo Show displays. However, unlike Amazon-owned Whole Foods, Fresh stores are meant to appeal to a broader array of shoppers, by offering products at lower price points than the upscale grocer, as well as traditional staples including Coca-Cola drinks and Kellogg’s cereal. There’s also a dedicated store area for shoppers to pick up and return Prime packages.
Amazon now has 11 Fresh stores in operation. Last month, Bloomberg identified at least 28 more Fresh locations that are in the works. The company is also testing its “Just Walk Out” cashierless technology at a Fresh store in Illinois, according to Bloomberg.
Since acquiring Whole Foods for $13.7 billion in 2017, Amazon has expanded its ambitions of cracking open the $900 billion U.S. grocery industry, striking fear in the likes of Walmart, Kroger and Albertsons. In addition to the Fresh stores, Amazon also operates a number of cashierless Go convenience and Go Grocery stores.
With its Fresh stores, Amazon appears to be going after”a squarely middle income customer who may store at both discounters and traditional grocers already,” Morgan Stanley analysts said in a note on Tuesday. Morgan Stanley said the Fresh stores offer”nothing overly unique” compared to typical supermarkets, but their real value may be as”nodes of satisfaction” that are close to consumers.
“As consumers increasingly need same-day grocery fulfillment (both for shipping and pickup at store), Fresh shops could therefore fill a previously missing gap in AMZN’s grocery satisfaction process whilst also building AMZN’s new in food retail,” the analysts wrote.