The Financial Times (paywall):
The Seattle-based retail and tech company has applied for a customer pick-up hub in Seattle and two more in the California Bay Area, according to permit application documents.
Workers were busy Saturday morning at Amazon’s future drive-up grocery store in Seattle, working a weekend shift before the rains came later in the day, and looking very much like they were on a deadline.
The secretive project, first uncovered by GeekWire two months ago, is taking shape rapidly in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood.
Here is how the Seattle store will work, according to planning documents.
> > When placing an online order, customers will schedule a specific 15-minute to two-hour pick up window. Peak time slots will sell out, which will help manage traffic flow within the customer parking adjacent to the building. When picking up purchased items, customers can either drive into a designated parking area with eight parking stalls where the purchased items will be delivered to their cars or they can walk into the retail area to pick up their items. Customers will also be able to walk into the retail room to place orders on a tablet. Walk in customers will have their products delivered to them in the retail room.
A report in The Wall Street Journal said that the new pick-up hubs would be focused ongroceries, and might include touches such as license-plate readers to help make the pick-up as fast as possible.
This is similar as with Amazon’s ‘book stores’. It is not about the categories of the past.
If it were, those locations would become the center of Amazon’s business, where, if not all, at least a lot of future business would be build around. The omnichannel dream, tackled from the opposite direction.
Rather, think about those physical locations as an extension of the digital business. (Which they obviously are going to be.)
Once Amazon starts opening these ‘stores’, we’re in for a lot of fun regarding the public perception of this.
One last note: Those locations will start with customers picking up their own orders. But drivers from Amazon Flex or, say, Uber could pick those orders up just the same way and deliver them.