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Amazon expands mobile grocery ordering program to Los Angeles

At the same time, the AmazonFresh iOS and Android apps have been updated with a new look and feel. AmazonFresh enables mobile users to place orders for more than 500,000 grocery items while on the go and have them delivered to their homes.

“Amazon’s expansion is about the growth of online grocery shopping, and mobile is a must,” said Rebecca Roose, senior product marketing manager at MyWebGrocer, Winooski, VT. “Consumers expect a mobile experience around shopping whether it is pick up in-store or delivery.

“According to our Grocery Voice panel, 29 percent say mobile apps are somewhat to extremely important to them and 30 percent use their smartphone while grocery shopping,” she said. “This is in line with what online grocery retailers outside of MWG report – up to 30 percent of their grocery orders are touched by mobile.

“Mobile is a huge driver for consumer shopping expectations. Mobile for grocery retailers means an increase in wallet share and retention.

Scan to order
Los Angeles is the first market outside of Seattle to get the AmazonFresh service. The online retailer is expected to continue to expand the service into San Francisco this year and 20 additional markets in 2014.

AmazonFresh members can shop from the service’s Web site or mobile apps, save their lists, see past purchases and find recipes.

The app also enables users to scan the bar codes on items to add them to their cart and make changes to existing orders that have not been delivered yet.

Members get free same-day or early morning delivery on orders over $35.

The list of available products includes everyday staples as well as fresh grocery and local products.

The service is available in select ZIP codes in Los Angeles as a free 90-day trial to Amazon Prime member. After the trial period, users will be charged $299 on an annual basis for the service and will also receive all of the benefits of Prime membership.

Mobile a must
Consumers are increasingly interested in accessing grocery retailers via their mobile devices, with traffic to non-mobile Web sites ranging anywhere from 10 percent to 30 percent of overall traffic so far this year, according to recent figures from MyWebGrocer.

Savvy grocery retailers are jumping on board with their own mobile offerings to take advantage of this surge in interest.

Amazon’s expansion into mobile online grocery shopping makes it all that more imperative for retailers to ensure they have a strong mobile strategy.

Kroger recently updated its mobile app to enable members of its loyalty program to download coupons, renew prescriptions, keep track of fuel rewards, create a shopping list and see weekly advertisements (see story).

Additionally, ShopRite recently introduced a new mobile commerce application that lets users place an order, schedule a time for delivery or pick-up, search weekly circulars, clip coupons and search for recipes (see story).

“Amazon is a major mover in the online space,” Ms. Roose said. “Their expansion will continue to push others in the industry to seriously consider offering online grocery shopping.

“By offering online grocery shopping and mobile as a component of that, it will mediate losing market share to Amazon, Walmart and other major players,” she said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York