Amazon is exploring an entirely new hybrid grocery store design, which will look to offer a “mixed format shopping” experience separate from Whole Foods and Amazon Go.
According to a report in the New York Times, the online retail giant has been toying with the idea of an innovative new grocery format since 2017, before it bought Whole Foods.
In 2017 a memo titled “Grocery Shopping for Everyone” was being circulated among its staff members, laying out its ambitious vision for the new store and making it clear for the first time that Amazon was keen to enter the physical grocery market.
Framed as a faux news release, including quotes from a fictional grocery expert called Hal Apenyo, the memo proposed a store in which one floor would contain fresh food, produce and prepared meals.
On a separate floor not accessible to customers, non-perishable items would be stored. While shoppers were selecting their fresh produce they could order non-perishables from an app which would be bought down in time for checkout.
This format, designed to be as scalable as possible, would also include an area where shoppers could pick up online orders and manage packages.
This plan was reportedly placed on the backburner after purchased Whole Foods for $13.4 million, just months after the memo began circulating.
Having cut its teeth in physical grocery sales, Amazon is now understood to be quietly exploring a new grocery chain once again that is not far removed from its original vision.
A new slightly updated version of the memo is now reportedly circulating among Amazon employees, planning to design stores specifically with pickup and delivery in mind, with a smaller area dedicated to fresh produce.
Adding further fuel to speculation it could be exploring a new format, a recent job posting required a store designer for “an exciting new team”, who was interested in “creating multiple customer experiences under one roof”.