More shoppers want to buy groceries online - Amazon, Kroger, Wal-Mart jump on tasty trend

Technology is changing the way Americans fill their pantries, refrigerators and utility closets, and North Texans are at the forefront of the trend.
By
Technology is changing the way Americans fill their pantries, refrigerators and utility closets, and North Texans are at the forefront of the trend.
By

Business

Amazon Fresh grocery delivery now available in North Texas

October 12, 2016 10:02 AM

AmazonFresh grocery delivery is now available in North Texas, a company representative said Wednesday.

That means shoppers who want milk, fish, apples and even something called “single cow burgers” — featuring beef from a single animal — can get it delivered to their doorstep.

“Place an order in the morning and have it delivered as early as that same evening, or order before going to bed and have the items on your doorstep in time for breakfast the next day,” the company said in a news release.

AmazonFresh is available for residents of Fort Worth and many neighboring cities, including Arlington, Burleson, Southlake and Watauga.

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Residents can find out if their address is eligible for Amazon Fresh by visiting the company’s website and plugging in their ZIP code.

Wednesday’s announcement comes as many grocers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area are stepping up efforts to offer customers more options for ordering groceries online. Kroger, Wal-Mart, CVS Pharmacy and other retailers now offer curbside pickup for online orders at specially designated areas of their parking lots — so busy shoppers can get a week’s supply of groceries and toiletries without getting out of their cars.

Also, companies such as Blue Apron and Green Chef now offer home delivery of ingredients for meals.

Order before going to bed and have the items on your doorstep in time for breakfast the next day.

Amazon Fresh

The grocery industry is one of just a handful of retail segments that Amazon hasn’t been able to dominate in recent years. But Amazon does have a plan to expand its offerings of perishable food and household items — and the addition of AmazonFresh service to the Metroplex market has been anticipated after the company bought a warehouse for the business near Fort Worth Meacham Airport.

Previously, AmazonFresh has operated mostly in the company’s home territory of Washington state, as well as in California and New York.

Also this week, The Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon plans to build convenience stores and offer places for curbside pickup for groceries in markets served by its Fresh unit. Amazon officials haven’t yet said whether the Dallas-Fort Worth market would be among those served by new brick-and-mortar stores.

For Amazon Prime customers, the company has dumped its old $299 annual membership cost for AmazonFresh and replaced it with a $14.99 monthly fee. Also, in certain ZIP codes, residents can get a 30-day free trial of AmazonFresh as well as $25 off their first order by entering FRESH25 at checkout.

Online shoppers typically fill out their order online and choose a window of time for delivery. In many cases, orders placed in the morning can be filled the same day, and orders made in the evening can be delivered the following morning.

Customers have the option of choosing whether the order can be dropped off at their doorstep even if they’re not home.

The recent increase in customers’ desire to shop for groceries online comes as retailers improve their ability to gather data about what customers want.

Online grocery shopping still makes up less than 5 percent of overall U.S. grocery sales but is expected to grow about 10 percent annually, making it a $9.4 billion industry by 2017, according to Fortune magazine.

This report includes information from the Star-Telegram archives.

Gordon Dickson: 817-390-7796, @gdickson