Amazon.com is on a dedicated quest for domination into nearly every aspect of modern life among Americans from ordering products including household appliances, furniture, and fixtures as well as entertainment and information. In 2015, the online juggernaut has entered the increasingly competitive food delivery service via its Prime Now app starting in Seattle in September.
With the Prime Now app coupled with the AmazonFresh service, Amazon.com wants to give its competitors, such as GrubHub and Seamless, a run for their money. The company certainly has a distinct advantage over these start-ups for two main reasons, namely, its easy access to capital and its extensive technical expertise. Both of these aspects mean that Amazon can offer better services for their customers and expand faster than their competitors, especially the ones with little to none of Amazon’s clout (i.e., brand recognition and respect) in the marketplace.
Amazon is in the process of market testing its restaurant delivery services in selected areas of Seattle, its hometown, for its Prime Now members. Emphasis must be made that Prime Now is an added benefit of Amazon Prime, which is now available in just 10 cities in the United States including Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington.
Amazon Prime is available for membership at $99/year with members getting free 2-day shipping as well as access to music and video streaming services. The members-only service also offers 1-hour delivery on orders for $7.99 and above or a 2-delivery free of charge.
The restaurant delivery service is expected to provide for more effective and efficient deliveries than its competitors mainly because Prime Now already has an existing delivery infrastructure. Customers can use the Prime Now app in browsing the menus, placing the orders in numerous – dozens, according to the company’s marketing materials – local restaurants, and getting their food in less than an hour.
With the hectic schedules in the modern lifestyle, the convenience of enjoying restaurant-quality fare in the comfort of your own home is truly appealing.
For now, delivery is still free. Amazon has yet to announce the cost as well as its expansion plans in other areas.
According to Gus Lopez, Amazon Restaurants’ general manager, the company has its eyes set on big goal but it is focused on Seattle at the moment. Amazon has already engaged in restaurant partnerships in late 2014 via a Seattle-based takeout ordering service linked to its daily deals offshoot, the Amazon Local.
Why has Amazon plunged into the food delivery service? Suffice it to say that the latest battleground for customers across several industries is in food delivery, a battleground that Amazon is keen on emerging as the winner. While food industry giants, such as Chipotle and McDonald’s, have already established partnerships with delivery apps (e.g., Postmates) in selected markets, Amazon brings a new dimension to the equation.
According to industry insiders, the giant online retailer’s entry into the food delivery service can pave the way for smaller local restaurants to take on established national brands on their own terms. The partnership between Amazon and the local restaurants is a win-win situation – Amazon gets more people on its Prime Now program while the local restaurants can expand their customer base.
The Seattle-based company first launched the Prime Now service in Manhattan, which guaranteed its members fast access to a comprehensive range of products from groceries and household supplies. The participating outlets included Westside Market, Gourmet Garage, Billy’s Bakery, and D’Agostinos in Manhattan.
The local establishment-Amazon partnerships are also true in other areas where the Prime Now app is available. For example, in Portland, members can purchase items from World Foods, New Seasons, Market, Cupcake Jones, and Uwajimaya, among others, for delivery to their doorsteps.
Amazon’s launch of its Prime Now app in its hometown is just part of its nationwide push to become an integral part of Americans’ daily lives. In March, the company launched the Dash button, a Prime member-exclusive program involving a small electronic device used in instant placement of orders for specific products. Amazon has 29 brands on the Dash button.
If the company’s plans push through, Amazon’s products and services will truly encompass everything from A to Z. Americans will welcome Amazon into their homes, offices, and schools, among others, with open arms with the knowledge that it is truly a one-stop shop. You may be able to order steaks from Longhorn Steakhouse and Italian pasta from Maggiano’s Little Italy via the app.