Amazon is expanding beyond Whole Foods with Fresh chain for supermarkets

Amazon’s first Fresh Supermarket Store will open its doors this week.


Amazon is opening the first location of its new chain of groceries, designed to target a different set of customers than Whole Foods retailers.

The first Amazon Fresh store, in the Woodland Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles, will open its doors this week to invite customers from the local area, the company announced Thursday. The store will be open to the general public in the coming weeks. Amazon has three other Fresh locations, including in Irvine and Northridge, California, as well as Chicago’s Naperville neighborhood, all of which are used for online order completion. The company declined to say when they will open to the public.

Amazon aims to open a new segment of US shopping with the launch of the Fresh store, bringing the e-commerce giant more direct competition with chains such as Kroger and Albertsons. The new format includes a blend of shopping and online shopping, while consumers offer a variety of products at lower price points than Whole Foods. Whole Foods, acquired by Amazon for $ 13.7 billion in 2017, is known for its focus on organic goods and does not sell artificial ingredients products.

The 35,000-square-foot store, which is about the size of a Whole Foods, will feature staples such as Nabisco cookies, Coca-Cola drinks and Kellogg’s cereals, as well as products from Whole Foods’ cheaper private label brand, 365. also have Amazon’s own brands, including Happy Belly snacks, Cursive wine and a new line of food featuring Fresh products.

“We think of these formats as complementary and to serve different needs,” said Jeff Helbling, vice president of Amazon Fresh stores. “Whole Foods is a long-time pioneer and leader in natural, organic and clean foods. Amazon’s Fresh selection is quite different. We see them operating side by side and we are pleased to offer customers the choice between the two.”

Amazon has also added some unique high-tech touches to the Fresh store. The location in Woodland Hills will be the test ground for Amazon’s recently launched Dash Carts, allowing shoppers to check in without waiting in line. However, the store does not have the large network of cameras and sensors that promote Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology, which is used in its cashless Go convenience and Go Grocery stores.

There are also kiosks in the Fresh store, equipped with voice-activated Echo Show smart displays, where shoppers can ask Amazon’s Amazon voice assistant for help locating items in the store or for suggestions on what to do for it. diner.

Kiosks are located throughout the store that feature voice-activated Echo Show smart displays, where shoppers can ask Amazon’s Amazon voice assistant for help finding items.


The stores are designed to balance the needs of consumers who order online and those who prefer to shop in person. There is a dedicated section where customers can place or groceries online or return their packages for free.

The Fresh store has a dedicated section where customers can place or groceries online, or return their packages for free.


While Amazon has captured the experience of online shopping in the store, there are still signs of the traditional shopping experience, such as a prepared food section where shoppers can order fresh pizzas or sandwiches, as well as a chip counter.

Amazon is expanding its footprint of physical stores at a time when the coronavirus pandemic is accelerating the collapse of already struggling brick-and-mortar retailers. Many shoppers have been hit hard in recent months by declining foot traffic, reduced consumer spending and a shift to online shopping, which puts some at risk of permanent store closures.

The pandemic even changed Amazon’s own plans for its Fresh supermarkets. Until this week, all of Amazon’s Fresh stores were used as “dark stores”, as locations that are closed to the public to meet their online delivery needs. Last quarter, Amazon said online shopping sales tripled year-on-year in the second quarter and increased shopping capacity by more than 160%.

“It was not our first plan, but we thought it was the best thing to serve the high demand from customers that we only saw online at that particular point in time,” Helbling said.

Amazon has also adjusted its in-store operations in light of the pandemic. It will require customers and employees to wear masks in the store and it will limit the store to 50% capacity, including security protocols.