Amazon Teases Quick, Free Grocery Pickup
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Amazon unveiled a pickup service on Tuesday that promises to have your groceries in your car as little as 15 minutes after you place your order.
The pickup service, spotted by GeekWire earlier this month, is an expansion of the Amazon Fresh grocery service for Prime members, which currently offers home delivery of grocery items in select areas across the U.S. The pickup option is poised to be fast and flexible, since there's no minimum order.
Amazon says thousands of grocery items will be available for pickup, including staples like meats, fresh produce, bread and dairy products, as well as household essentials. Once your order is ready, you pull your car into a parking space in the pickup zone, which resembles a gas station, and an employee loads the groceries for you.
The program is currently in beta, though, and you likely can't use it yet. There are only two grocery pickup points, both in Seattle, and the service is only open to Amazon employees. Once the service launches for the public, all Prime members will get free and unlimited pickups. Amazon didn't say which cities beyond Seattle would get the pickup areas.
An employee-only soft rollout is par for the course for Amazon, which is also using employees to test a cashier-less grocery store in its Seattle hometown called Amazon Go. The store was expected to open early this year, but reports of delays and problems with the checkout technology surfaced this week.
Amazon's other quick pickup options include lockers that let Prime members get same-day delivery on many products. One, at the University of California-Berkeley, also offers the ability to add certain products to your order when you pick it up, and features a boxing station to prepare and ship your returns back to Amazon for free.