… Amazon’s goal is to become a Top 5 grocery retailer by 2025…

 

In this file:

 

·         Inside Amazon’s Battle to Break Into the $800 Billion Grocery Market

After almost a decade of food retail experiments with little success online, the e-commerce giant is embracing the physical stores it once shunned.

… Amazon’s goal is to become a Top 5 grocery retailer by 2025…

 

·         Amazon's Latest Move in Grocery Is Nothing New

Amazon is planning to open its own grocery pickup kiosks, but the initiative seems hardly differentiated from what Wal-Mart and Kroger have been doing for years.

… Amazon has had its eye on the grocery industry for years since it first launched AmazonFresh in 2007. The company moved slowly, only operating Fresh in Seattle for several years, but expanded rapidly last year and now offers the grocery delivery service in more than 15 metropolitan areas…

 

·         Amazon in new freighter order talks?

... talks with unspecified Wall Street investors for the financing of 400 aircraft...

 

·         A Foolish Take: Amazon's Robot Army

The e-commerce giant uses 45,000 robots in its fulfillment centers.

 

 

Inside Amazon’s Battle to Break Into the $800 Billion Grocery Market

After almost a decade of food retail experiments with little success online, the e-commerce giant is embracing the physical stores it once shunned.

 

by Spencer Soper and Olivia Zaleski, Bloobmerg

March 20, 2017

 

“Very wasteful” isn’t a phrase usually associated with Amazon.com Inc., which is so cost-conscious it once removed the light bulbs from its cafeteria’s vending machines. But after spending several months analyzing the online retailer’s grocery-shipping hubs back in 2014, that’s exactly how a mechanical engineering student described its approach to selling bananas.

 

Workers at Amazon Fresh, the company’s grocery-delivery business, threw away about a third of the bananas it purchased because the service only sold the fruit in bunches of five, the student concluded. Employees trimmed each bunch down to size and chucked the excess.

 

The research paper by Vrajesh Modi, who now works for Boston Consulting Group, highlighted other problems: Poorly trained employees often stood around with nothing to do. Moldy strawberries were frequently returned by disappointed customers. Amazon’s inspectors believed their corporate bosses didn’t care much about the quality of the food.

 

Such challenges linger for Amazon. Despite several attempts to break into the $800 billion grocery industry and almost a decade in the business, the company has struggled to entice shoppers en masse to buy eggs, steaks and berries online the same way they’ve flocked to buy books, tablets and toys.

 

“Online grocery is failing,” said Kurt Jetta, chief executive officer of TABS Analytics, a consumer products research firm. Only 4.5 percent of shoppers made frequent online grocery purchases in 2016, up just slightly from 4.2 percent four years earlier despite big investments from companies such as Amazon, according to the firm’s annual surveys. “There’s just not a lot of demand there. The whole premise is that you’re saving people a trip to the store, but people actually like going to the store to buy groceries.”

 

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos now seems to understand that he can’t win the grocery game with websites, warehouses and trucks alone. The world’s biggest online retailer sees brick-and-mortar stores playing a key role in a renewed grocery push, documents reviewed by Bloomberg show. And like it did with Amazon Fresh, the company is launching its newest projects in Seattle, its home town.

 

Last Tuesday, men in cherry pickers worked through driving rain to affix “Amazon Fresh” signs to a drive-in grocery location in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, where shoppers can stop and have online orders loaded into their cars. Crews were busy on a similar site south of downtown, readying canopies over parking spaces to protect customers from the elements as they pick up their shopping bags. The secretive company has yet to announce the projects, and crews have covered the Amazon signs in black fabric and paper.

 

Late last year, Amazon purchased supply-chain software from LLamasoft Inc.– a major departure for a company known for its logistics prowess, and defying an internal mantra of “we don’t buy, we build.” And it more recently restructured how various grocery teams were managed to narrow their focus and set clear priorities, according to people familiar with the company’s business.

 

These changes come as Amazon breaks from its standard formula of shipping products in boxes out of jam-packed warehouses. Instead, it will invite shoppers inside its own grocery stores to smell the oranges, see the tomatoes and tap the watermelons. Ahead of a national rollout next year, Amazon is testing three brick-and-mortar grocery formats in Seattle — convenience stores called Amazon Go, the drive-in grocery kiosks, and a hybrid supermarket that mixes the best of online and in-store shopping. The company may open as many as 2,000 stores, according to internal documents.

 

The company has said little about its grocery-store plans, aside from a video about Amazon Go’s no-checkout format that has racked up more than 8.7 million views on YouTube. An Amazon spokeswoman declined to comment for this story. Reports on its moves have dribbled out over the past several months, prompting occasional denials and retorts from the company. Seattle technology site Geekwire in August uncovered Amazon’s mysterious drive-in grocery kiosk in Ballard. The New York Post in February said Amazon aimed to create “robot-run supermarkets” that would operate with only a few people. Bezos responded by tweeting to the Post: “Whoever your anonymous sources are on this story — they’ve mixed up their meds!”

 

Amazon’s goal is to become a Top 5 grocery retailer by 2025, according to a person familiar with the matter. That would require more than $30 billion in annual food and beverage spending through its sites, up from $8.7 billion — including Amazon Fresh and all other food and drink sales — in 2016, according to Cowen & Co.

 

Reaching that milestone would require a new wave of store and warehouse investments around the country, costing billions of dollars. That’s an existential change for Amazon, which initially stayed away from perishable goods and has mostly avoided the overhead of physical stores since it started in 1994.

 

“A bunch of smart people at Amazon have been thinking about re-imagining the next phase of physical retail,” said Scott Jacobson, a former Amazon executive who is now a managing director at Madrona Venture Group...

 

more, including links, photos 

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-03-20/inside-amazon-s-battle-to-break-into-the-800-billion-grocery-market

 

 

Amazon's Latest Move in Grocery Is Nothing New

Amazon is planning to open its own grocery pickup kiosks, but the initiative seems hardly differentiated from what Wal-Mart and Kroger have been doing for years.

 

Jeremy Bowman, The Motley Fool

Mar 19, 2017

 

Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) is taking another step into grocery retail.

 

After aggressively expanding its AmazonFresh delivery service and lowering its price last year, the company unveiled a new cashier-less prototype of a store called Amazon Go in Seattle last December. Now, Amazon is taking the next step into the industry with plans to open two grocery pick-up locations, also in Seattle, according to documents revealed by Geekwire.

 

The tech news website showed permits indicating that the e-commerce giant is seeking to open two "AmazonFresh Pickup" location in the SoDo and Ballard neighborhoods soon. According to signage, the stores offer customers the ability to "Shop online" and "Pick up here." The signs also say, "Relax while we load your groceries."

 

The holy grocery grail

 

Amazon has had its eye on the grocery industry for years since it first launched AmazonFresh in 2007. The company moved slowly, only operating Fresh in Seattle for several years, but expanded rapidly last year and now offers the grocery delivery service in more than 15 metropolitan areas.

 

It's clear why Amazon is angling for a piece of the grocery market. Grocery store sales totaled $631.3 billion last year, one of the biggest retail categories and almost as much as from general merchandise stores, which hit $668.3 billion. Unlike chains like Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), Costco, and even Target, which all derive a significant percentage of their sales from groceries, Amazon has only begun to penetrate the huge market.

 

Groceries present singular problems for an e-commerce company like Amazon. Fresh produce, meat, dairy, and frozen foods can't sit out in the hot sun like the average Amazon delivery can, so the company needs to coordinate with customers to ensure they're home to receive their deliveries, or delivery them in packaging that will keep at temperature. Amazon also needs specialized trucks and facilities that will also keep foods fresh.

 

Those challenges may explain why the company is increasingly turning toward brick-and-mortar stores to break into the delivery market with its new Amazon Go store and the upcoming pickup locations. The Wall Street Journal also reported last fall that Amazon was aiming to open as many as 2,000 grocery stores nationwide over the next ten years. However, Amazon denied that report.

 

Late to the party ...

 

more

https://www.fool.com/investing/2017/03/19/amazons-latest-move-in-grocery-is-nothing-new.aspx

 

 

Amazon in new freighter order talks?

 

CH Aviation

Mar 20, 2017

 

Amazon.com is believed to be in the process of putting together a significant order for additional freighters industry publication CargoFacts has reported.

 

Citing informed anonymous sources, the report indicates the US online retail giant may be involved in two possible sets of negotiations; the first entails talks with Boeing (BOE, Chicago O'Hare) for the order of 100 B767-300(F)s while the second involves talks with unspecified Wall Street investors for the financing of 400 aircraft.

 

Amazon ventured into the air freight sector last year signing capacity purchase agreements with each of Air Transport Services Group and Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings for the provision of twenty B767 freighters respectively.

 

In anticipation of a strong spurt in longterm growth in the sector, Amazon recently unveiled plans to develop Cincinnati Int'l into a key air logistics hub featuring a 280,000 sqm handling facility...

 

more

http://www.ch-aviation.com/portal/news/54282-amazon-in-new-freighter-order-talks

 

 

A Foolish Take: Amazon's Robot Army

The e-commerce giant uses 45,000 robots in its fulfillment centers.

 

John Maxfield, The Motley Fool

Mar 20, 2017

 

There's a lot of talk right now about the impact of immigrants on American jobs. In reality, however, the real bogeyman when it comes to displacing workers isn't immigrants -- it's robots.

 

Case in point: Amazon's (NASDAQ:AMZN) vast network of fulfillment centers is using 45,000 robots to help it pick, sort, and ship units faster. The robots are made by Kiva Systems, which was acquired by the online retail giant for $775 million in 2012.

 

"Amazon has long used automation in its fulfillment centers, and Kiva's technology is another way to improve productivity by bringing the products directly to employees to pick, pack and stow," said an Amazon executive when the deal was announced.

 

Since purchasing Kiva, Amazon has rapidly scaled up the number of robots it uses in its distribution system, adding approximately 15,000 a year.

 

And Amazon is just one example of a company that's turning to robots to increase speed, accuracy, and efficiency. There are self-service checkout counters at grocery stores. Robo advisors are helping investors save for retirement. And if you go into a McDonald's nowadays, you'll find self-service kiosks, and even a Big Mac ATM, that eliminate the need for cashiers.

 

Bill Gates even went so far recently to suggest that robots should pay income taxes...

 

more, including chart

https://www.fool.com/investing/2017/03/20/a-foolish-take-amazons-robot-army.aspx