Amazon could expand grocery business with convenience stores, curbside pickup

Imagine: 'Alexa, have a gallon of milk ready for curbside pickup at 5:30'.
Written by Jake Smith, Contributor
Amazon Fresh could expand past delivery for Prime subscriber. (CNET/CBS Interactive)

Amazon is planning a line of small grocery stores known internally as "Project Como", according to the Wall Street Journal, in an effort to boost its Amazon Fresh grocery delivery service.

The small brick-and-mortar stores would sell perishable items like produce, milk, and meats that can't be delivered and left on a door strep.

See also: AmazonFresh vs. supermarket: A hands-on shopping test

The report said Amazon will also roll out drive-in location, where online grocery orders can be picked up. Amazon is developing license-plate reading technology to reduce wait times.

Amazon recently changed Fresh from a $299 per year service to a $15-a-month add-on to Amazon Prime. It's available in Seattle, Northern California, Southern California, New York, and Philadelphia areas.

Walmart has begun testing grocery pickup, along with other retailers like Kroger and Giant. Walmart has taken its pickup service from five markets to more than 80 nationally in the past year, according to the Washington Post.

"We see a huge opportunity through pickup, particularly in grocery," Doug McMillon, Walmart's chief executive, told investors last year. "The combination of digital relationship and stores is a winner."

Amazon is putting competitors in their sites with its vast ecommerce marketplace. We have reached out to Amazon in hopes of learning more.

Seattle-based tech blog GeekWire reported Amazon is building a drive-up grocery store in its hometown and also has a brick-and-mortar bookstore.

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