From Thursday, Amazon will make its much-anticipated entry into the UK grocery market, which will enable prime customers in central, and east London to order a full weekly shop and get it delivered the same day.
Amazon plans to roll the deliveries out further across the UK.
However, it has still not set a specific date for that.
“We are launching with a comprehensive offer in a limited area and will take our time to hone our service,” said Ajay Kavan from AmazonFresh.
Amazon has been running its online supermarket in the US since 2007.
So far, Amazon UK has sold only a very limited amount of fresh food through its Prime Now service.
It also sells long-life products such as cereals, pasta and nappies.
The move is being seen as a game changer for British supermarkets.
According to retail expert Bryan Roberts, from TCC Global, the move by Amazon will be a threat to Britain’s already under-pressure “Big Four” supermarkets.
The service is being launched in 69 postcodes across central and east London. Orders received before 1pm will be delivered by 11pm.
“While there is no cast-iron guarantee of success… I’m tempted to believe that we’ll look back on today as something of a disruptive game-changer up there with the entry of Aldi and Lidl,” he said.
The customers will be able to shop from 130,000 products, including fresh fruit and vegetables, at prices which Amazon claims will be more competitive than the main grocers.
The service will also offer specialty food from 50 local suppliers.
Amazon recently inked a deal with Morrisons to make hundreds of products available through its website. This is now being increased to include food from other suppliers.
The majority of its items will be branded goods for which the company has said it will benchmark prices against Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda Morrisons and Waitrose.
“Convenience, ultra-competitive pricing and customer service will find favour with urban shoppers and will heap immediate pressure on retailers that do sizeable business in the capital. The model is scalable and the popularity of the Amazon Prime ecosystem around the UK will mean that it will find a receptive audience,” said Mr Roberts.
Ending a long wait
“The market has been waiting for the arrival of AmazonFresh for a very long time. There has been endless speculation about what it might entail,” said Adam Leyland, editor of the Grocer magazine.
“In a well established online grocery market like the UK, that’s a lot more realistic than the US proposition, with its annual sign-on fee of several hundred dollars,” added Mr Leyland.
To avail the services, one has to be a member of Amazon Prime as well as pay a flat fee of £6.99 a month.
“The bar in grocery retailing is exceptionally high. The supermarkets and grocers are amongst the very best retailers in the world,” Ajay Kavan, vice-president of Amazon Fresh, said.
“We believe that the key to the long term success of Amazon Fresh is to bring together the low prices, vast selection, fast delivery options and customer experience that Amazon customers know and love.”