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Despite the pandemic, Amazon is betting on brick-and-mortar (Includes interview)

Amazon’s sideways shift from solely being a digital presence to embracing the physical world began with brick-and-mortar bookshops. Following this, the firms opened convenience stores. These grocery stores came with a high-tech twist. In these facilities the shopper does not need to take out their wallet to pay. This began with Amazon Go Grocery, a tech-infused 7,700-square-foot store in Seattle.

As well as pick-up points in many shopping malls, there are also Amazon 4-star general merchandise stores, Amazon Fresh Pickup grocery, plus the purchased Whole Foods outlets.

Brick-and-mortar retail has of course been gravely impacted by the pandemic, but purchasing groceries is something that — while available through delivery means — has not been hit in a way that might be expected. People may be making less trips now, but the average weekly grocery spending is up 17 percent year over year.

Amazon, which has seen cnsiderable growth during the pandemic, also appears to understand the attraction of the physical store. The company is opening four Chicago-area locations of its brick-and-mortar grocery concept, as Chicago Sun Times reports.

Providing comment for Digital Journal on this latest direction by Amazon is John Kelly, CEO of walk-through marketing company Zenreach.

“One of the few bright spots in the brick-and-mortar retail sector is grocery. Amazon also knows that ecommerce still represents less than 15% of all of commerce, and Amazon has made its ambitions clear to become dominant in not just ecommerce, but in all of commerce,” says Kelly.

Amazon may have started its reign in ecommerce, but it is clear that the retail giant sees the opportunity beyond.

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Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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