Amazon Fresh faces challenges ahead of its recent launch in the U.K., among them reports of bad deliveries across the pond and a grocery market that already provides conveniences for customers.
The service has been available in select U.S. markets as early as 2007. (Seattle was the first market for launch.) The service is now available in New York and California, where dozens of online reviews report rancid meat, bruised fruit and vegetables and missing items on a regular basis. Meanwhile, 40% of reviews on the Amazon Fresh website give the service a five-star rating and 22% give it just one star.
As experts have pointed out, the bad deliveries may have been the result of Amazon’s warehouse model. While it works well with non-perishables available on Amazon Pantry, items like fish and preservative-free bread cannot be stored without going bad. Delivery vehicles present another challenge, as different temperatures are optimal for fruit, meat, and vegetables.
Another challenge for Amazon Fresh is U.K.’s evolved grocery market, where localization meets convenience and digital know-how. For example, in 2012, startup Hubbub began fulfilling digital orders through local stores. Customers who wanted to shop local but lacked time would log on to the Hubbub website, and a delivery van would pick up items from participating grocers, bakeries and butchers. Prices are the same as in stores, but Hubbub splits profits with the shop owners.
For those who prefer larger grocery stores, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, ASDA, Morrisons, Waitrose, and Ocado offer delivery. And all except Morrisons offer same-day delivery, which Amazon rolled out this week. Amazon Fresh is far from widespread adoption and positive reviews in the U.S., but faces an even more uphill battle in the U.K. due to competing options.