Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Businesses

Amazon Angling For Same-Day Delivery Beyond Groceries 193

Posted by timothy
from the instant-gratification dept.
New submitter lipanitech writes with an except from an interesting look at the upcoming reality of same-day delivery for many customers within reach of the Amazon delivery supply chain: "The vision goes well beyond just groceries. Groceries are a Trojan Horse. The dirty secret of Amazon is that it really doesn't distinguish between a head of lettuce and a big screen TV. If Amazon can pull off same-day grocery delivery in NYC, it ostensibly means consumers can order anything online and receive it the same day. By logical extension, that means Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, is on the cusp of rendering every retailer on earth obsolete." While I'm happy to order dry goods like electronics online, I've always been skeptical of other people picking out my groceries. On the other hand, I must admit that (at least in its Seattle delivery area) Amazon Fresh does an impressive job of delivering decent produce.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Amazon Angling For Same-Day Delivery Beyond Groceries

Comments Filter:
  • Fresh Direct (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyYar (622222) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @10:50AM (#44618425)

    We used "Fresh Direct" when we lived in NYC and we were usually happier with the produce than if we got it at the grimy Food Emporium. It was quite popular, so I don't think it would take long for people to get used to grocery delivery. The one hang-up: in NYC there are doormen. I'm not sure how you get groceries without a doorman unless they just leave it on your front stoop!

    • by fhuglegads (1334505) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @10:59AM (#44618593)
      I use Flesh Direct for all my escort services.
    • Here in San Francisco we have Instacart, which I guess is similar. They take the groceries directly to your door within a 1 hour window, so there's no need for doormen.

      • by MightyYar (622222)

        Yes, that sounds similar to Fresh Direct. The problem with Fresh Direct is that all of the convenient hours fill up very quickly, so I wasn't sure how Amazon was going to pull off "same day" delivery... that's why I mentioned the doorman, which would allow delivery even if you weren't home.

    • don't think it would take long for people to get used to grocery delivery

      My brother lives on an island of 3500 which is in effect a suburb of Vancouver. Over there, the grocery delivery from the mainland happens once a week, and if you're not home the grocery guy will just go into your (unlocked) house, put the delivery on the counter and put the perishables in the fridge.

      Of course this is Canada, so he isn't at risk of being shot while he does this. He might, however, encounter seniors doing nude yog

  • Town centers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @10:51AM (#44618437)

    I think we have to worry about the vitality of town centers as Amazon and other online merchants continue to take away their business. They've already been battered by Wal-Mart and other big box stores, but this could be the finishing blow.

    *NOT* feeling sorry for merchants here, but this is a quality of life issue. Do we want the country turned into one deep suburb where everyone orders what they want from their living room couch?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DogDude (805747)
      I normally don't respond to AC's, but you hit the mail on the head. I think that most people don't care if the country turns into one giant suburb where everybody orders what they want from their couch. It's more of the increasingly pervasive "Fuck you. I've got mine" mentality. Lovely, isn't it?
      • Re:Town centers (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TWX (665546) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @11:15AM (#44618817)
        Before urbanization, we used to order much of what we bought from catalogs. You could order everything from shoelaces to a prefab house kit from the Sears Catalog, and if you lived in a rural place, you pretty much had to mail-order.

        One can argue that the retail shopping experience that we've come to regard as the norm didn't really appear until the middle-class started shopping like the upper class did, where choice became possible and one could actually discriminate between objects to purchase. It's fairly expensive to run a retail store that's packed full of merchandise that lets everyone touch everything. You have to have plenty of floor space. You have to have pretty displays and lots of bright lighting. You have to clean up after the customers. You have to stock things speculatively en masse, and have to discount merchandise that doesn't sell but try to strike a balance between that discounted merch and full-retail prices for other merchandise, lest people not buy your full-price stuff and instead opt for the cheap stuff. And you have to deal with all of the inevitable clashes between your staff and the public, and between members of your staff.

        A catalog service does away or shrinks many of these issues. Floorspace and lighting are what's OSHA-mandated. Appearance isn't so much an issue so long as the warehouse is kept tidy enough to avoid damaging the merchandise, and the warehouse can go decades between remodels if it's set up right in the first place. Less staff and no public browsing means no staff-public interaction problems, and if the staff is kept busy pulling and shipping merchandise, less staff-to-staff problems. The warehouse can also actually stock less materials if they want, so if something doesn't sell they don't have as much of it on hand as they might in retail stores, and since online it seems harder to compare this discounted thing with this full-priced thing on a tangible level, it might not even cannibalize full-priced sales.

        I like some retail shopping, but sometimes it's really annoying, and I think there's plenty of good in a mail-order or internet-order catalog to make up for the negatives.
        • Re:Town centers (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Ol Olsoc (1175323) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @11:59AM (#44619463)

          Before urbanization, we used to order much of what we bought from catalogs. You could order everything from shoelaces to a prefab house kit from the Sears Catalog, and if you lived in a rural place, you pretty much had to mail-order.

          -snip-

          I like some retail shopping, but sometimes it's really annoying, and I think there's plenty of good in a mail-order or internet-order catalog to make up for the negatives.

          This so very much! The internetZ have just become the catalog of the 21st century.

          Brick and mortar stores have some great advantages, but they have gotten so far from where they should be that it isn't worth the effort to attempt to shop there.

          Example:

          I wanted some simple hardware parts. I check my local Lowe's. Well, it turns out that these inexpensive parts don't have much of a profit margin, so they don't carry them. But they do have a thousand 5 gallon buckets of Contractor grade (cheap) wall paint. After 10 or 11 trips, I cross them off my source list. So it's online ordering for that stuff.

          Example:

          I need some computer parts. A stereo capable external sound card. Not exactly everyday stuff, but not exactly a SCSI hard drive and adapter either.

          Stop off at best Buy and other folks that sell this kind of thing. No luck. Anything other than 50 varieties of Windows 8 running computers/laptops, they don't have much at all. And any peripherals are so overpriced - 30 dollars for a 6 foot cat5 cable is a sin. After about the 10th time, I give up checking them out, also.

          How does this happen? If they have the stuff, it's likely to cost 4 to 5 times what I can get it for online. If they have it. But odds are tehy won't, because in their world, you don't have items that are low profit margin, or the least bit obscure.

          Well, these big box retailers have an army of accountants and headquarters middle managers to support, so their overhead structure depends on a lot of sales and a lot of profit. And since accountants are notoriously difficult to purge from a company, they cut back on store staff if they can. But still, that Cat5 Cable or left handed widget is supporting the store employees the store overhead, and an army of people at HQ.

          And the really sad part is that the accounts who are telling these folks how to run their operations don't see the little stuff as important. After all, they might only make a buck on that left handed widget, and that valuable store space can be used for a higher profit item. But they fail in that eventually. Accountants know numbers, but they largly do not understand people. I don't waste my time going there because tehy won't have what I need, and I can save time and money ordering online. How much money do I spend in a store if I don't go to that store. They have become irrelevant.

          • Re:Town centers (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Loughla (2531696) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @12:13PM (#44619669)

            I think you're confusing big-box stores with retail in general. Big box stores carry more of high profit margin items, and rarely, if ever, of low-profit/low-demand items. That is correct.

            Where you go wrong, though, is that all stores are like this. For example, a local hardware store had everything (and I mean everything) I needed to remodel my basement. From the hammer and nails to the specialty trim. They didn't have a lot of each thing, and I paid a little more for convenience, but they had it. The local computer parts store carries everything from 50'+ HDMI cables to 2-pin adapters, from power supplies to charging pads for remote controlled helicopters. They might only have one or two of each thing, but their prices are competitive with on-line, and they do good business.

            In other words, retail is more than just big box stores. There are countless small shops just like the two I mention.

            • Maybe I'll move....

              But hardware stores are really the poster child for this sort of thing. Every rural town I've lived in has been infested with "True Value" chain stores. They sell absolute crap quality and have a pretty banal selection. Fine for a cheap 10/32 1/4 nut as long as you aren't bolting together anything critical. Even the stainless stuff they carry is ? Chinese crap - I've split nuts just with a 10 mm wrench.

              The real killer with Amazon has been free shipping. Before, I would avoid buying a

            • by Ol Olsoc (1175323)

              The local computer parts store carries everything from 50'+ HDMI cables to 2-pin adapters, from power supplies to charging pads for remote controlled helicopters. They might only have one or two of each thing, but their prices are competitive with on-line, and they do good business.

              In other words, retail is more than just big box stores. There are countless small shops just like the two I mention.

              You are perhaps lucky. The closest thing to what you describe is about 60 miles from me. When Best Buy and Circuit City and Lowe's and Home Depot moved into my town, the little stores that actually carried the items like you speak of shuttered up almost immediately. Their owners figured they'd go out quickly rather than suffer a ten year slow death.

              Count your blessings, none of those computer hobby parts exists anywhere near where I live.

        • Re:Town centers (Score:5, Insightful)

          by dywolf (2673597) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @12:43PM (#44620063)

          even though the catalogs may have "had everything", you didnt order "everything". only things you couldnt get locally, even if local meant a 10/20 mile horde/buggy ride to town. which they did regularly, whether regularly was once a month or once a week. hell, as it was delivery was to the town, not your door, so you still had to go get it.

          we're getting mroe and more to the point where you physically cannot get things locally. the big box stores pushed out the local vendors with cheap plastic crap. and now even the big box stores are slowly being pushed out by the online stores.

        • by mdielmann (514750)

          Before urbanization, we used to order much of what we bought from catalogs. You could order everything from shoelaces to a prefab house kit from the Sears Catalog, and if you lived in a rural place, you pretty much had to mail-order.

          And before that, we had giant bazaars. Still do in a lot of parts of the world. And before that, you made it yourself or you didn't have it. And after the current trend, you may very well just make whatever you want or need at home. Oh look, another thing where varying levels of technology causes cycles!

    • How would that be a reduction in quality of life to be able to order what you wanted and have it delivered? Indeed, wouldn't it raise it? Now I know there will always be people waxing nostalgic about the time we were hunters and gatherers and in order to eat lunch you had to spear a buffalo first. Or when you had to spend a couple of hours every day tending a garden in order to eat. Etc.

      But this is progress and certainly enhances our quality of life, not detracts from it.
    • I didn't even think about the loss of town centers. We need those, because when we get rushed in the first age by the mongols we need somewhere to hole up and shoot arrows from.
      • Quite the opposite, as they're a trap. Hole up and a catapult will be along shortly to take care of the town center.
  • All the family foods was delivered (mostly by the co-op) to the door or at least to the road side were housewifes used to to go the van and get there meat; vegetable and fisg. Of course the milkman and bread man came to the door.

    • by neminem (561346)

      Yep. From what I know about the 60s, the milkman was definitely where housewives used to go to the van and get their "meat". Heh heh heh.

  • by HockeyPuck (141947) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @10:56AM (#44618531)

    There's a certain advantage to the online or delivery based grocery stores. They don't need to manage as packaged and portioned product as the traditional grocery stores.

    Take meat for example.

    In a traditional grocery store, there's hundreds of cuts of meat that are packaged up into individual portions sitting in a refrigerator waiting to be picked up by some consumer. There's a good chance that it won't be picked up and will eventually need to be tossed. Also, storing cut up meat isn't as efficient as say storing an entire side of beef/whole chicken/pork etc..

    With the on-demand grocery, the side of beef is whole until an order is placed and then that side is cut up as per the orders that are needed. So if you need 50 steaks, you cut up exactly 50 steaks. Compared that to the traditional store in which you have to base that days sales on historical numbers and predictions rather than actual orders.

      If you as a meat-dept manager guess that 100 steaks will be sold on a thursday and only 50 are sold, you're going to lose money. With the online butcher, you only cut up 50 steaks. In this case you're much more efficient as you have less product waste.

    It's the same with any other type of produce, also the shipping of produce from warehouse to grocery store via truck induces more issues around bruising/spoilage/damage etc. If it's sent to your house directly from the warehouse, then that's one less organization that your product has to pass through, thereby enabling you to have a better product. I'm also sure they'd allow you to refuse product say if for example, eggs were damaged.

    The problem with the online is the same one as the movie rental business started out with. The impulse buy. Grocery stores are great at this, you walk by the steak counter and decide "this looks good, i'll have steak tonight". Online didn't have this ability as you had to wait a day or two to get your steak. Netflix had this problem vs. rental stores as you couldn't just do an impulse "movie night" if they had to ship you a dvd. Now with Netflix-streaming you can have a 'movie-night' as an impulse b/c the movie is provided to you the same day.

    • Amazon and a number of other online stores are getting really good at prompting impulse buys based on their profile of you.

      Theres fewer and fewer reasons to do actual stores every day.

    • by dywolf (2673597) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @12:53PM (#44620217)

      something tells me you've never worked a meat department.
      1: you dont just go to a side of side and cut off a steak
      2: it's not held as a side. it comes in vac bags of individual muscles (ribs, chuck, tenderloin, flank, shoulder, rump, loin, etc), each of which can only be cut into a handful of "cuts", such as flank, ribeye, new york strip, sirloin, etc.
      3: there's a time limit on that "side of beef" whether you cut it or not. vac bags the muscles come in may last a bit longer than the prepared steaks on display, but thats due to the higher quality packaging (and some meat departments use vac sealers), and even so doesnt extend life a whole lot. the meat is only sellable for about 21 days (numbers may be rusty...been awhile) even in a vac bag.
      4: most meat counters do custom cuts (speaking of thickness) on demand, and vary the cuts on display as well by a quarter to an inch or more, to give a selection to the customer. that is, outside of Walmart which does all processing at a central plant, rather than in store.

    • In a traditional grocery store, there's hundreds of cuts of meat that are packaged up into individual portions sitting in a refrigerator waiting to be picked up by some consumer. There's a good chance that it won't be picked up and will eventually need to be tossed. Also, storing cut up meat isn't as efficient as say storing an entire side of beef/whole chicken/pork etc..

      There may be hundreds of packages but there's only a few dozen different cuts. And the retailers long ago figured out how to optimize t

      • by cayenne8 (626475)

        There may be hundreds of packages but there's only a few dozen different cuts. And the retailers long ago figured out how to optimize their display (in types and quantities) so as to minimize the amount that's tossed. (And they then minimize that amount even further by discounting it a day or two before it goes off.) Nor do they store cuts of meat, it's cut (almost universally) on demand on a daily basis. (If it's not cut on site, it either comes frozen or is cut on a regional basis and delivered every coup

        • . I didn't know there were any grocery stores that didnt' cut up their own meat and package it?

          Few, if any, places cut their own chicken. Other than that, Wal-Mart often has a regional butcher rather than one on site, and there are also some 'brand name' meats starting to spread that come to grocery store already packed.

  • Amazon is currently host to an enormous variety of goods, even after you eliminate everything that isn't sold directly by them. I don't understand how Amazon is going to work out the logistics so that you can host multiples of each of these goods within 12 hours driving distance of all major US cities, let alone within an even shorter travel distance of 99% of the US population? It doesn't seem to work out.

    Either you're purchasing 20 of "HDTV model #123456" so that you can be well-positioned to sell one o

  • by MetalliQaZ (539913) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @10:59AM (#44618595)

    Look, I don't want an Amazon monopoly of all of retail any more than the next guy, but maybe these brick-and-mortar chains deserve it. So much of the retail space has been taken over by large corporations that offer better prices than mom-and-pop stores but lack any semblance of customer service. Their employees aren't trained, and the products are exactly the same junk you find everywhere else. They just aren't a good experience.

    I especially hate how they have resisted integrating with the online world. It drives me nuts when a company has both a large online presence and a brick-and-mortar presence. Even though they share the same branding and (usually) the same product selection, they function as if they are separate companies. If you have a problem and try to talk to a person at your local store, they say "we don't deal with the online stuff, they are independent from us." Well great, way to give up your ONE advantage over Amazon.

    Give the customer what they want. They want the convenience of online shopping. They also want face-to-face sometimes. They blew it. Amazon's same day deliver will be close enough to bury them.

    • When I go to a real shop and ask for anything special, the answer is usually "internet" (not even a whole sentence). I don't shop on-line unless I really have to (and even than rather not), Shop owners should realize that people come to shops not only to buy something, but also for advise, the chance to really see what you are buying, etc. I really find it strange that shop owners chase their customers out of the shops instead of trying to make a difference.
      • by Belial6 (794905)
        Just wait until Amazon starts offering a showroom. That is when local shops will really be screwed. Brick & Mortar Stores keep complaining that customers use them as showrooms and then order from Amazon. Eventually someone is going to realize that customers want a showroom and to order online. If a store only needed to display items and answer questions, the variety of products they could display would be dramatically increased. The amount of staff would be reduced. Loss prevention would be massive
    • by Kjella (173770)

      I especially hate how they have resisted integrating with the online world. It drives me nuts when a company has both a large online presence and a brick-and-mortar presence. Even though they share the same branding and (usually) the same product selection, they function as if they are separate companies. If you have a problem and try to talk to a person at your local store, they say "we don't deal with the online stuff, they are independent from us." Well great, way to give up your ONE advantage over Amazon.

      The problem is that customers want to have their cake and eat it too, they want to be able to order it online at prices that match Amazon's barebone model while at the same time get in-person service at an expensive location, quite a few companies around here have tried that mixed model and they've all gone bankrupt or left that model again as either people are either very unhappy with the prices or they're losing lots of money because their e-tail margins don't cover the retail costs.

      Remember that retail s

  • This is great news (although no doubt it will be quite a while before they start delivering to those like me who live in the middle of nowhere!). The biggest problem with online retailers has been the shipping, especially with regards to PC parts. For example, a couple of months ago a PSU died. Now you would think that a power supply would be a pretty common part, but yet all the major PC retailers anywhere close to me (again, living out in the middle of nowhere, but within an hour drive I could get to a Be
    • Part of that is the world is bigger. In the ''good old days" of Radio Shack, a supply of discrete resistors, caps, general purpose transistors (remember those?) and a dozen other things would get you by. Now there are dozens of PSU configurations, even for your generic beige case PC. And it gets much worse from there. Radio Shack can't keep an RS232 TTL level converter in stock - it would sell one a decade per store and finding a clerk that even knew you were talking about an IC would be a stretch. You

  • Seen this before... (Score:5, Informative)

    by yakatz (1176317) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @11:04AM (#44618657) Homepage Journal
    I have ordered items (non-food) on Amazon and had the option to pay ....... $3.99! ..... for "Same Day Delivery" in the Washington, DC area. I have no idea how they actually paid for the courier to drive from Virginia to Maryland, since it certainly cost more than $3.99 in gas, but I ordered at 10 AM and had the item by 5 PM.
    • by DogDude (805747)
      It's pretty simple. They'll continue losing money until their stock price stops going up. Nobody really cares whether they're profitable or not.
      • by Sprouticus (1503545) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @11:40AM (#44619187)

        Or they have lots of deliveries and can optimize. It is not that complex.

        Sure there will be times where you are the only person and they lose money on gas and driver time. And there will be times where they have 2 dozen deliveries and the gas for your piece costs $0.15

        The trick is to make the delivery coverage area the right size to account for the volume of orders.

        • by DogDude (805747)
          There are some things, such as delivering groceries, which will never be sufficiently efficient even in large scales.
          • Sure it will. Once everybody is taking the right happy medicine, they'll order the same things at the right time.

            You just don't have the right long term view of things.

            Think big.

            • by mdielmann (514750)

              You've clearly never been in a warehouse. Buy whatever you want. Your order will be packaged up in an efficient size for transportation (sub-packaged for easy carrying into your house), put in a truck selected for the load to be carried with the coverage to deliver it to your door in a reasonable timeframe, and the truck will probably spend 10 minutes at each stop. More users will only make it more efficient. Less variety will only have a slight benefit to making it more efficient, and only if they want

            • by TWiTfan (2887093)

              We're losing money on every order, but don't worry, we'll make up for it in volume!

    • I have ordered items (non-food) on Amazon and had the option to pay ....... $3.99! ..... for "Same Day Delivery" in the Washington, DC area. I have no idea how they actually paid for the courier to drive from Virginia to Maryland, since it certainly cost more than $3.99 in gas, but I ordered at 10 AM and had the item by 5 PM.

      They are taking a loss early to build up their empire. They have the cash to burn, and can take the loss, until they have complete control. Then the cost will skyrocket. The thing about having many small stores is that there is competition. The thing about have one huge outlet as your only option is that they can charge whatever they like.

  • by Cyko_01 (1092499) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @11:08AM (#44618699) Homepage
    I can order a freshly made pizza and have it within the hour! I'm not about to sit around all day waiting for my groceries to show up.
    • by oodaloop (1229816)
      But what if you order a DiGiorno frozen pizza from a supermarket, and they deliver it to you? Oh man, I just blew my mind!
      • by Cyko_01 (1092499)
        then I would have to wait all day, cook it myself, and it still wouldn't be as good as delivery
    • by FatAlb3rt (533682)
      Who said they wouldn't be able to provide a delivery window? The local Chinese delivery always says 45 min to an hour, shows up 20 min later.
      • Who said they wouldn't be able to provide a delivery window? The local Chinese delivery always says 45 min to an hour, shows up 20 min later.

        In my experience, Chinese is usually ready "in about ten minute. You want egg woll?"

        • Had to stop going to a couple places. They don't bother to ask, they just upgrade your lunch special with the $2 egg roll. Just not worth it regardless if it tastes good.
          Only thing worse is buying what should be a $0.50 pickle at the movie theater. More like $0.50 a bite then!

    • by Cyko_01 (1092499)
      oh, and with dial-a-bottle [beerstoredelivery.ca] I can get beer and smokes(if that's your thing) within the hour too. Beer, smokes, and pizza - what more could a guy want!(if you're gonna say sex, some escorts do house-calls)
  • I've occasionally compared the prices Amazon charges for grocery items to what I pay locally, and the local stores, even Whole Foods, have always beaten Amazon on price. Amazon has good pricing on everything else, why not on groceries, Bezos?

    • by Hadlock (143607)

      Because convenience. Every two months Amazon ships me my two cases of tea and clif bars, and a case of paper towels and a bottle of dish soap. I don't even have to think about it, and it's just a line item in my budget.

    • Bingo!

      I started with Amazon fresh, too expensive. Switched to safeway, much better, I am downtown Seattle central, btw.

      Finally, going to Safeway was far cheaper than delivery, so, even though I am handicapped, can barely walk, I still go to the store because of the price difference.

      Everything else I do get from Amazon though. They just installed a locker in my apartment building because of the volume. But groceries ... no, not even close yet.
  • by DeathToBill (601486) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @11:10AM (#44618727) Journal

    Grocery delivery has been pretty common in the UK for a while. I used it for a couple of years. It's not same-day. You order what you want online then book a delivery slot and someone comes around within about a 90 minute window with your groceries.

    The good thing about it is you can get all your groceries delivered without having to leave your home. Some of the websites are getting pretty good now - you can set up lists of things that you always order and that get added to your list automatically and so on. The main downside is what happens when they don't have what you asked for in stock. They'll substitute something else. It's up to you to check the receipt when the delivery comes and see if they've substituted anything - if you can remember what you ordered in the first place. They make some pretty bizarre substitutions. I remember ordering 5kg of potatoes. They didn't have the specific 5kg bag I asked for so they substituted a tray of four small potatoes. Um.

    • Thinking out loud, I'd consider the potatoes thing to be more of a feature than a bug, assuming they were indeed out of stock of 5-lb bags and didn't screw you on the price difference, etc.

      If your dinner's recipe was totally messed up by not having any potatoes, you'd be pretty pissed. But getting a few to hold you over seems like a reasonable gesture.

      I guess the point is that it speaks to the issue of customer service for deliveries in general. It's more than just getting the groceries to your doorstep,

      • by mdielmann (514750)

        Thinking out loud, I'd consider the potatoes thing to be more of a feature than a bug, assuming they were indeed out of stock of 5-lb bags and didn't screw you on the price difference, etc.

        If your dinner's recipe was totally messed up by not having any potatoes, you'd be pretty pissed. But getting a few to hold you over seems like a reasonable gesture.

        I guess the point is that it speaks to the issue of customer service for deliveries in general. It's more than just getting the groceries to your doorstep, they need to build in other above-and-beyond services as well.

        Not if you're paying the premium you normally would for those four potatoes. They probably cost between 25 and 50% of the price for the bag.

      • by olau (314197)

        You sound like a guy who doesn't eat many potatoes, and doesn't know the metric system. :)

        If you are ordering potatoes in 5 kg bags (~10 lbs), 4 small potatoes aren't helpful.

  • Obviously someone who has no idea what they're talking about wrote this article. The entire basis on Amazon's business model is a gigantic facility in a limited number of locations to save money and just ship everything. Newegg does things to same way and only has 3 major warehouses and those are the #1 and #2 largest online retailers in the US.

    Their entire business model collapses if they try to hold 5 of every TV model in 500 locations in large cities instead of 200 in three different gigantic locatio
    • I don't think you are up on current events. Amazon currently has about 60 facilities in the US and is planning on building more in every single state to achieve the same day delivery model.
  • While I'm happy to order dry goods like electronics online, I've always been skeptical of other people picking out my groceries.

    For a component that isn't a direct part of the human-computer interface, I agree. But for the same reason I won't buy bananas without touching it, nor will I buy a computer keyboard without touching it. I don't want to have to buy one, pay return shipping, buy another, pay return shipping, rinse and repeat. I've already been burned once by a Bluetooth keyboard for Nexus 7 whose space bar was so short that my right thumb would consistently press the key that was to the right of space.

  • by JackSpratts (660957) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @11:20AM (#44618867) Homepage
    Written like a true geekster. Look, shopping isn't particularly about distribution...that may indeed be what selling is about (although I doubt it), but shopping is a whole nuther animal. When I'm stuck behind my tesla 19" wonderwindow for hours, I often lunge at any excuse to get out of the home office. If that means heading to Trader Joes for some fresh ciabatta bread (squeezed by me to be sure) or a taste of that new sauce the nice lady hands me I'm winning on two levels. I'm out of the house and in control of buying and perusing. Bumping into somebody cute is icing on the cake. I can't do any of that from my desk. Certainly for many commodities online shopping has real merit, and it's possible that by chipping away at the margins Amazon may render less enlightened establishments vulnerable, but the breathless prose of the writer is more wishful thinking than anything truly predictive.
  • Amazon Germany has many popular items available for same day delivery to almost all big cities in Germany. Order before 11am and they guarantee same day delivery by 6pm to 9pm for 13 euros per item for normal customers and for 5 euros per item for prime subscribers.

  • Amazon kills competition. Great!
    People have to find new jobs.
    People work for Amazon.
    Man, that really sucks. . . .

    • by rhsanborn (773855)
      Like the mom and pops had to do when Home Depot, Target, Wal-Mart et al. took over? Like black smiths had to do when cars become affordable? Like telegraph operators had to do when the telephone caught on? Like telephone operators had to do when we got automatic switching? Industries change, people find other industries to work in.
    • Amazon kills competition. Great!
      People have to find new jobs.
      Robots work for Amazon.
      Man, that really sucks. . . .

      Amazon used to be a hand-picking operation, where computers told the people what to do. Then Amazon bought Kiva Robotics, which was already handling about 10% of online orders with their mobile robots. [wired.com] Those new Amazon warehouses have lots of mobile robots and very few people. "15 minutes from click to ship."

      As for jobs making the robots, Kiva Systems has only 250 employees. A few robot factories, a modest number of huge automated warehouses, and maybe half of the whole retail sector disappears.

      It's eve

  • The idea that grocery delivery is the same as other types of goods is a red herring.

    Consumable good, (food, liquor, cigarettes, maybe light bulbs or smaller household needs, etc) are good candidates for delivery because they are usually time sensitive/perishable, and because EVERYONE needs them.

    electronics, books, tools, etc are a different story. The population & population density required and the equipment required to make delivering a flat screen TV same day and making it cost effective are prohibit

  • by jafiwam (310805) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @12:19PM (#44619751) Homepage Journal

    the fools that want to enforce local taxes on out of state Internet purchases don't understand.

    Amazon and a couple other large Internet retailers, are on the virge of, and WANT TO compete locally like this.

    The difference, at this point, in their costs is hovering around the difference between the local taxes and the "out of state" places they sell.

    Once that difference is wiped out, there will be six or seven Amazon distribution centers in every state and they'll be doing next day or same day service on almost all purchases, and will be able to deliver 50 different types of lettuce faster than you can drive around town to purchase three. When there's a professional driver with a route to worry about transpiration, the thing coming from the next county over is nto a big deal whereas the household errand runner can't or won't go that far.

    Not to mention non-perishable stuff like DVDs, books, small appliances, tools, grains and dry "grocery" goods. They won't care if a TV sits on a shelf for a month while a local retailer does. Heck, I buy a lot of grains, crackers, household cleaners, paper products, etc. on Amazon now just because I am often thinking of it when I am at work (in front of a computer) and forget when I go to get a salad from the grocery store.

    The retailers crying about unfair competition have no idea what is about to hit them. The "tax the out of state purchase" push will absolutely kill a bunch of retailer types. They'll hold on for a few years while the luddites die out, but Best Buy being "Amazon's showroom" will spread to every other non convenience store / fast food type local operation or people will just learn to do their research online. (Also note, once the threshold is reached, there will be so much reviewing going on that making a decision will be easy and reliable. Going to talk to the salesweasel and finger-fuck the thing won't need to happen.

  • The Amazon story of delivery of books/electronics and even adult products is showing how big they've grown. That coupled with a no hassle return policy makes them more compelling than Best Buy for example that rakes you over the coals if you return something. When I go to my local Fry's electronics for example, I look at it and say that it's becoming more of an everything store mimicking Amazon but even Fry's is now getting to be a so-so retailer and most likely I'll look at Amazon first before considerin

  • I remember getting same-day delivery on books from Amazon UK in 2008. At the time it was only Birmingham and London areas that they did it in, but now it looks like they service more areas [amazon.co.uk].

  • I live in the suburbs of London. I've been doing my supermarket shopping online for the past ten years. Not having to go to Tesco on a Saturday afternoon and overcome the urge to stab every fucker I see there in the face is worth every penny of the (typically) £5 delivery fee.

    New York is a plausible place to do this, as it has the density of population. Might have a harder time in the 'burbs.

  • I had a same-day delivery from Amazon in 1999. Admittedly this was when their UK warehouse was 4 miles from my office and when the Royal Mail delivered twice a day.

    Still, nice to see they're finally catching up with their own history.

  • I've made use of their same-day delivery service in NYC a couple of times now. Problem is, the cutoff time is quite early in the morning, so that usually it ends up being "next day" delivery. That said, at least in my experience, it works well and is reasonably cheap, at least for Prime customers. I just recently bought a gamepad (coincidentally, it arrived this morning, after ordering it yesterday afternoon).

    Anyway, that said, Google is working on a similar service: http://www.google.com/shopping/expres [google.com]

  • I've always been skeptical of other people picking out my groceries. On the other hand, I must admit that (at least in its Seattle delivery area) Amazon Fresh does an impressive job of delivering decent produce.

    You think that happens by accident? It's done by machine vision. [youtube.com] Fruit and vegetable processing plants have automated sorting machines on their production lines. Even peas can be individually inspected. [youtube.com] That video is worth watching. A huge stream of peas feeds through the machine at high speed, and the peas are inspected with cameras and lasers in flight as they come off a wide, fast conveyor belt. Air jets turn on for milliseconds to knock the rejects into the reject bin, and only good peas make it to th

You see but you do not observe. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in "The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes"

Working...