Amazon Wants to Know, Why Do We Hate Grocery Shopping?

My Grocery List

Sometimes, there is nothing worse than having to get dressed and leave the house. I have a two-year old so getting him ready and out of the house, just so I can buy raisins and a toothbrush, it feels like a marathon of an effort. Maybe when he’s three he can do the shopping for me.

And okay, grocery shopping isn’t actually that bad, but a lot of us do feel this way, at least a little bit, sometimes. Be honest, you know you do.

Amazon Grocery Innovation

Amazon knew we felt this way, so years ago their first solution was Amazon Prime Pantry: a grocery delivery system for Amazon Prime customers, but just for non-perishable goods.

They use a dynamic algorithm to calculate the minimum size and number of boxes you need for your order. There’s a fixed fee of, like, 6 bucks a box. This set up helps you, the customer, manage costs. And for them, it’s a highly efficient way for pickers, which is what the Amazon warehouse workers are known as, to fill your order. In some cities, Prime Pantry arrives on the same day. It’s normally 1 to 2 days in other places.

Identifying the Customer Pain Points

Amazon isn’t the only store to do this but they are always looking for new ways to innovate and work out exactly what people are looking for. Their aim is to be completely customer-centric, where the pain points of the customers start the cycle of innovation.

They saw that people weren’t happy with how they got their groceries, so they looked at how to fix it. The best evidence of this is that they didn’t stop at Prime Pantry.

After their acquisition of Whole Foods in 2017, Prime customers can now get that wholesome goodness delivered too. It’s only rolled out in 4 markets so far but it’s sure to expand further. This is going to allow them to deliver a far wider range of products.

Breaking Down the Process

And they kept looking at the whole grocery shopping process, to address the needs of every kind of customer and gained a deep understanding at each step of the consumer process.

That’s what led to Amazon Go; a grocery store with no checkouts. At first, it seems like a complete contradiction; you start delivering to people’s homes because they don’t want to go to the store. And then you open a store that sells mostly the same goods people were buying online; it seems ridiculous, doesn’t it? It’s like expanding your BBQ joint by adding a vegan falafel stand.

But Amazon realized that there were many different reasons why people didn’t like going to a store, just as there are many reasons why people don’t like waiting around for a delivery. Sometimes, we feel lazy, and we can’t be bothered to leave home and carry our groceries back.

Other times, we’d prefer to look around a store and get our groceries now, but we just don’t want to deal with people. Idle chit-chat at the counter and queuing up, this really bothers some folks. A traditional grocery store was a problem for both groups, a purchasing process they didn’t enjoy, but the reasons were very different.

Understanding Each Step of the Process

Amazon manages to innovate like this because they look at every step a customer needs to take in order to get the products in their hands. For grocery delivery, this would be things like logging into the website, searching for a product, clicking to purchase, opening the door for a delivery; all of these small tasks (with many smaller subtasks as well) make up the purchasing experience. Customer A might be fine with everything except task 8. Customer B might hate tasks 3 and 11. You get the idea.

For me, it really bugs me when one of the grocery items is unavailable and replaced with what the shopper thinks is similar. Say I order spinach and they put in arugula. If I’m making a salad, okay, no problem. But I want spinach for my smoothie. No one wants to drink an arugula smoothie, that is a scientific fact.

How to Innovate Like Amazon

This “innovation around tasks” can be taken by anyone providing a product or service. So, if you want to learn a bit more about this approach and how you could use it to improve something in your work; whether that’s helping customers, improving your department or anything that makes your job better…well, we’ll have a video on just that, next.

Thank you for checking out Start Within. Each week, we release videos focusing on the newest technology and innovation companies are launching. We then go into some of the mindsets, tips, and solutions these companies employ to enable you to go out and launch new things, right where you are.

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