November 30, 2023


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Amazon Top Fresh exec says reopening stores is part of grocery revamp

Amazon Top Fresh exec says reopening stores is part of grocery revamp

Amazon Fresh store in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles

Annie Palmer

In February, Amazon Chief Executive Officer Andy Jassy said his company had paused opening new supermarkets and Go convenience stores while closing some underperforming locations.

It was all part of a broader belt-tightening campaign at Amazon, and seemed to signal a decline in the company’s multi-year, multi-billion-dollar foray into traditional grocery stores.

But Claire Peters says there is no retreat underway.

Peters, a 28-year veteran of the retail sector who most recently worked as an executive at Australian supermarket giant Woolworths, was appointed in February as Amazon’s vice president of retail. Peters now oversees Amazon Fresh and reports to former executives.Tesco CEO Tony Huggett, who leads Amazon’s physical store business.

Peters was in Los Angeles this week to attend the grand reopening of three Amazon Fresh stores, a brand the company launched during the Covid pandemic to reach a larger market audience than Whole Foods. In order to revamp, Amazon introduced about 3,000 new products to expand selection after hearing from customers that it was falling short in some categories.

In an interview with CNBC, Peters acknowledged that Amazon has “more work to do” to win customers, but is focused on making the grocery shopping experience more fun and enjoyable for people. She said that the company is more committed than ever to winning its share in… The US grocery market is worth $1.32 trillion. Amazon currently second In the online grocery market, just behind Walmart.

To succeed in a business so far removed from its online retail roots, Amazon can’t just rely on its brand recognition, it must offer services that give consumers a reason to choose its stores over the competition.

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Shoppers scan discounted items as they wait in line for the opening of the new Amazon Fresh store on E. Colorado Blvd in Pasadena, California Thursday, September 15, 2022.

Medianews Group/Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Images | Media News Group | Getty Images

“I’m not naive in thinking people will love Amazon,” Peters said at the reopening of the Fresh store in Los Angeles’ Woodland Hills neighborhood. The store is located in the former Toys R Us location in a mall that included a Citibank branch and an Office Depot.

But do I want them to love us like we actually do, “They’re taking all this pain out of my shopping,” “They must be reading my mind,” “Oh my God, this is so annoying having to come back with my returns after Christmas.” Peters said. “I want us to get rid of them all, and if there’s one company that can do it, it’s this one.”

As part of Amazon’s broader grocery strategy shakeup, some key executives have been moved to other parts of the company. Dilip Kumar, who previously oversaw retail and technology, has moved to oversee retail technology within Amazon Web Services. Stephenie Landry, former vice president of grocery, has moved to the sustainability organization.

In addition to the Woodland Hills Fresh store, Amazon reopened locations in nearby Pasadena and Irvine this week, after remodeling two Fresh stores in the Chicago area in August.

With Thanksgiving approaching, Peters gave an example of how stores can limit themselves before upgrading. Customers can buy the turkey, but have difficulty finding other menu staples like cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie filling, Peters said.

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Some of its new product lineup comes from the company’s strong portfolio of private labels. Many of these brands, such as Happy Belly English muffins and Aplenty potato chips, have been sold online by Amazon for years.

The store’s renovations weren’t just about adding popular items. Amazon also heard from some customers that Fresh stores were cold and uninviting, Peters said. So, it redesigned the look and feel, adding better signage and things like recipe tips near the products.

At the Woodland Hills store, the company eliminated the meat and seafood section in favor of more packaged options based on customer feedback, Peters said. It also added self-checkout lanes, Krispy Kreme donuts and coffee kiosks near the front of the store.

Amazon Fresh store in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles

Annie Palmer

“Where is the butter?”

Amazon groceries have been paid Many years in the making. The company first launched its fresh grocery delivery service in 2007, then introduced a handful of concepts over the next decade, some of which didn’t last. The boldest move came in 2017, when founder Jeff Bezos led the $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods. A year later, Amazon launched a line of cashier-less convenience stores.

Thursday Amazon He said It’s opening up fresh grocery delivery to everyone in the US, after trials in a few cities. Amazon plans to expand free delivery and pickup at Whole Foods stores soon. Delivery fees for non-Prime members range from $7.95 to $13.95, depending on the size of the order.

Amazon has brought aspects of its online stores to the new locations. While walking down the snack aisle at Woodland Hills, a digital sign directs shoppers to the cookie section. The banner contains the word “Sponsored”, like a display ad on the website, and features a promotion for Annie’s Honey Grahams. Members of Amazon’s $139-per-year Prime Loyalty Club can now get special discounts on items throughout the store, after the feature was limited to some product categories.

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Other uses of Amazon’s technology include Alexa-powered smart displays, which answer questions like “Where’s the butter?” or “What are the best-selling items in the store?” Shoppers can use Amazon’s technology-enabled Dash Carts to skip the checkout line.

Amazon is also testing another concept, called micro-fulfillment centers, or mini-service centers, Peters said. Featuring a range of products across all of Amazon’s retail offerings, small automated warehouses are installed in a physical store, allowing for faster online order fulfillment and a wider range of inventory.

Right now, Amazon is focusing more on mastering the basics, Peters said.

“We have to make sure that we’re actually asking for our freshness credentials because we don’t want customers to think that our steaks and our milk and our eggs and all of our very strong food safety standards are sitting next to a book in the same distribution center,” she said. “My vision is really a comprehensive vision of how to bring this together.”

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