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SUNNYVALE, Calif. — E-commerce giant Amazon unveiled plans to pilot a drive-thru retail store in Sunnyvale, Calif., according to The Silicon Valley Business Journal. The new venture is the company’s latest move to make inroads into the grocery industry.
The service will combine the click-and-collect model with a traditional brick-and-mortar shopping experience. Customers will be able to place their order online and pick up their items at the designated location during a 15-minute to 2-hour timeframe.
The Sunnyvale location will be comprised of an 11,600-square-foot warehouse featuring eight drive-thru car stalls, as well as one small on-site store location at which shoppers can purchase items without first placing their orders online, according to the news outlet.
The drive-thru retail store is meant to be an extension of the AmazonFresh platform, the company's delivery service that has operated in densely populated urban areas in recent years and offers same- and next-day grocery delivery to residents' doors.
Amazon is on "the right track" with this new initiative, which will help the company mitigate much of the cost associated with delivery, said Kelly Tackett, U.S. research director for Planet Retail.
"So much of the cost in online grocery is tied up in home delivery. It's why you are seeing retailers in the U.K., where online grocery is so much more advanced, trying to incentivize click-and-collect," Tackett told Progressive Grocer, a sister publication of Convenience Store News. "Amazon has an advantage in terms of the sophisticated picking facilities. A collection point alleviates the last mile pain points."
Forward-thinking retailers like Walmart and Kroger already offer click-and-collect services, and maintain the advantage of having thousands of stores to serve as collection points, according to Tackett.
Bill Bishop, chief architect at Barrington, Ill.-based Brick Meets Click, believes the pilot will likely be successful as consumers "have already demonstrated a willingness to click and collect," and now Amazon will offer an additional avenue for them to do so.