Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Amazon Angling For Same-Day Delivery Beyond Groceries

timothy posted about a year ago | from the instant-gratification dept.

Businesses 193

New submitter lipanitech writes with an except from an interesting look at the upcoming reality of same-day delivery for many customers within reach of the Amazon delivery supply chain: "The vision goes well beyond just groceries. Groceries are a Trojan Horse. The dirty secret of Amazon is that it really doesn't distinguish between a head of lettuce and a big screen TV. If Amazon can pull off same-day grocery delivery in NYC, it ostensibly means consumers can order anything online and receive it the same day. By logical extension, that means Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, is on the cusp of rendering every retailer on earth obsolete." While I'm happy to order dry goods like electronics online, I've always been skeptical of other people picking out my groceries. On the other hand, I must admit that (at least in its Seattle delivery area) Amazon Fresh does an impressive job of delivering decent produce.

cancel ×

193 comments

Fresh Direct (4, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#44618425)

We used "Fresh Direct" when we lived in NYC and we were usually happier with the produce than if we got it at the grimy Food Emporium. It was quite popular, so I don't think it would take long for people to get used to grocery delivery. The one hang-up: in NYC there are doormen. I'm not sure how you get groceries without a doorman unless they just leave it on your front stoop!

Re:Fresh Direct (0, Troll)

DogDude (805747) | about a year ago | (#44618487)

I think that we all know that fussy wealthy people, such as yourself, will always have their very important organic, free-range Doritos delivered to them, thanks.

No need to be a douche and throw in the bit about the doorman.

Re:Fresh Direct (5, Funny)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#44618609)

Actually we were living in subsidized hospital housing while my wife did her training, and we used Fresh Direct for the price and quality. There were no shortage of "organic" and gourmet overpriced groceries where the other half shopped. But thanks for revealing your biases so transparently... makes it easier to filter what you have to say.

Re:Fresh Direct (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44618969)

I can't tell if this is a while conversation written in sarcasm or if you don't understand he's joking, given the free-range Doritos

Re:Fresh Direct (2)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year ago | (#44619341)

Free-range Doritos are a totally real thing. Google says so.

Re:Fresh Direct (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44619483)

Damn you! I want the 30 seconds I spent googling back!

Re:Fresh Direct (1)

GTRacer (234395) | about a year ago | (#44620091)

30 seconds?! Is your Google-fu rusty?

Also, everyone scoffed when the idea of a Dorito-shelled taco was first introduced. Now the Bell is adding even more varieties. Never underestimate the willingness of Marketing to seek out valuable demos!

Re:Fresh Direct (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#44619775)

He made up a ridiculous product, but his scorn for upper-crusties getting grocery delivery to their doormen was very real.

Re:Fresh Direct (1)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about a year ago | (#44619003)

Actually we were living in subsidized hospital housing while my wife did her training, and we used Fresh Direct for the price and quality. .

What is with the weird moderation in /. lately? I've had some posts labeled as Troll, without any trollish behavior on my part, and now you have too. A person calls you fussy and wealthy, you reply with your actual situation, and you're called the troll?

Not that we're supposed to moderate down posts we just disagree with, but Overrated makes more sense than calling normal replies as troll.

Maybe we need Supermoderators to correct some folks who might not deserve to have mod points?

Re:Fresh Direct (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44619125)

It's just that those of us who only exist on TV (you know, live in flyover states), don't know anybody rich enough to have a doorman. Apparently, those who live in subsidized housing in NYC are richer than pretty much everyone in Ohio.

Re:Fresh Direct (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#44619759)

A doorman (or some kind of director) is almost a necessity in a building with 400 apartments. They choreograph an amazing dance of deliveries, people moving, traffic, security, etc. The cost of the doormen is insignificant when divided by so many apartments. We have huge buildings with no doormen, and these are called public housing projects :)

Re:Fresh Direct (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#44619771)

I think it is because I flamed him back. If I'd stayed more civil, I wouldn't have gotten the troll mod.

Re:Fresh Direct (2, Insightful)

the_B0fh (208483) | about a year ago | (#44620007)

flaming is not trolling. And some people deserve to be flamed.

Re:Fresh Direct (5, Funny)

fhuglegads (1334505) | about a year ago | (#44618593)

I use Flesh Direct for all my escort services.

Re:Fresh Direct (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44618777)

Fresh Direct is really expensive. Once in a while I'll order from them, but the whole no door man situation they actually come up my stairs.

Re:Fresh Direct (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#44618887)

I haven't been in NYC for a few years, but when I lived there the prices were similar to Food Emporium, and they would frequently issue coupons for like $25 off of a $100 order. Regarding the doormen, I meant delivery while you weren't at home... those evening time slots fill up fast!

Re:Fresh Direct (3, Interesting)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year ago | (#44619579)

Hmm...I guess I'm not familiar with this "doorman" situation. Is this like a guard or something for people living in apartments there?

That being said, I guess delivered groceries do well for people that don't cook, and no reheating something in the microwave or boiling in a bag does not count for cooking.

But I like to cook from scratch whenever possible. I'd not feel confident that someone picking out produce, or seafood or meat would pick out the best looking selections, but instead would be looking more to rotate stock so that oldest is going out.

I like to pick up, squeeze, look at and smell my ingredients and get the best I can find for myself.

But I've noticed that so many folks today in the US, just don't seem to know how to cook anymore. Hell, I've not dated a woman in awhile that knew how to cook even, I've had to show several girlfriends how to prep and do food.

Although I think it is changing back a bit and people are more interested in the foods they eat and fix home cooked meals, we have a long way to go on that front.

But no thanks...I'll get my own groceries. I get the best deals that way. I look on Wed. to see what's going to be on sale at the various grocery stores, and plan my route on the weekend to hit 2-3 of them to get the sale items, and I build some of my weekly cooking around that. I eat quite well and don't spend all that much as others do with pre-packaged, processed crap food.

Re:Fresh Direct (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#44619857)

I'd not feel confident that someone picking out produce, or seafood or meat would pick out the best looking selections, but instead would be looking more to rotate stock so that oldest is going out.

That was the main point of my post, actually. I was skeptical, but the produce that showed up was actually pretty nice - usually nicer than what I could scrounge up at our local grocery store... though there were nearby "gourmet" markets with better produce at higher prices.

As for doormen... I can't imagine how a building with hundreds of apartments could run without a small army of staff, including someone manning the entrance. The building that I lived in while I was in NYC had a higher population than my home town! The cost to staff the entrance is miniscule when divided by a couple of hundred apartments...

Re:Fresh Direct (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44620075)

dunno.. you don't have to have staff to have 300 apartments+ in a single building working.. that's how it was (at least at the time) in the biggest apartment complex in nordic countries where I lived for a while.

having doormen and staff who is always at the premises is a cultural thing - around here in Finland if you have a doorman it's a hotel, an office or something similar - not an apartment block(or heck even a janitor who is there every day).

however, I would imagine groceries to be delivered more like pizza(you know you're going to be at home for an hour so you order..) and that's what we can do here, nobody does it really though.

Re:Fresh Direct (1)

Velex (120469) | about a year ago | (#44620169)

Hell, I've not dated a woman in awhile that knew how to cook even, I've had to show several girlfriends how to prep and do food.

Careful there! Don't you remember? Feminism liberated women from the kitchen, you chauvinist pig!

Just to add a bit more snark, I still remember how irritated my home ec teacher in middle school was when she wound up with a boy in her class that actually liked the class and was better in the kitchen than most of the girls. Funny to reminisce on how much she hated my guts for making her feminazi beliefs implode on themselves on a daily basis. To think I actually bought into the idea that feminism was about gender equality.

And yes, I can confirm that the various women my housemate's dated have an absolutely atrocious idea of what constitutes "cooking." (Not to say I'm very good with that sort of thing either since in the house I grew up in cooking wasn't something boys should know, home ec class was years and years ago, and I haven't had much interest otherwise, but it's funny that when my housemate has a girl living with him, even though it's often what these girls offer to do---I don't ask them to!---it seems either he or I have to do the cooking and cleaning if we want it done properly.) Oddly, though, they haven't seemed to have gained any other skills that feminism was supposed to open up to them either.

Ah well, what were we talking about again?

Re:Fresh Direct (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44619517)

Here is the Midwest we have Oberweise Dairy that does home delivery of dairy product and gourmet foods. Signing up gets you a cooler/box for your front step.

Town centers (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44618437)

I think we have to worry about the vitality of town centers as Amazon and other online merchants continue to take away their business. They've already been battered by Wal-Mart and other big box stores, but this could be the finishing blow.

*NOT* feeling sorry for merchants here, but this is a quality of life issue. Do we want the country turned into one deep suburb where everyone orders what they want from their living room couch?

Re:Town centers (2, Insightful)

DogDude (805747) | about a year ago | (#44618511)

I normally don't respond to AC's, but you hit the mail on the head. I think that most people don't care if the country turns into one giant suburb where everybody orders what they want from their couch. It's more of the increasingly pervasive "Fuck you. I've got mine" mentality. Lovely, isn't it?

Re:Town centers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44618765)

Delivery services actually work a lot better in dense cities than suburbs. There's a lot of driving overhead in the burbs. Groceries will probably still use a truck, but my food delivery guys in NYC just deliver via bike. It's pretty great and seems like the opposite of making us into one big suburb. Drive-throughs are a much more telling phenomenon in that regard.

Re:Town centers (5, Insightful)

TWX (665546) | about a year ago | (#44618817)

Before urbanization, we used to order much of what we bought from catalogs. You could order everything from shoelaces to a prefab house kit from the Sears Catalog, and if you lived in a rural place, you pretty much had to mail-order.

One can argue that the retail shopping experience that we've come to regard as the norm didn't really appear until the middle-class started shopping like the upper class did, where choice became possible and one could actually discriminate between objects to purchase. It's fairly expensive to run a retail store that's packed full of merchandise that lets everyone touch everything. You have to have plenty of floor space. You have to have pretty displays and lots of bright lighting. You have to clean up after the customers. You have to stock things speculatively en masse, and have to discount merchandise that doesn't sell but try to strike a balance between that discounted merch and full-retail prices for other merchandise, lest people not buy your full-price stuff and instead opt for the cheap stuff. And you have to deal with all of the inevitable clashes between your staff and the public, and between members of your staff.

A catalog service does away or shrinks many of these issues. Floorspace and lighting are what's OSHA-mandated. Appearance isn't so much an issue so long as the warehouse is kept tidy enough to avoid damaging the merchandise, and the warehouse can go decades between remodels if it's set up right in the first place. Less staff and no public browsing means no staff-public interaction problems, and if the staff is kept busy pulling and shipping merchandise, less staff-to-staff problems. The warehouse can also actually stock less materials if they want, so if something doesn't sell they don't have as much of it on hand as they might in retail stores, and since online it seems harder to compare this discounted thing with this full-priced thing on a tangible level, it might not even cannibalize full-priced sales.

I like some retail shopping, but sometimes it's really annoying, and I think there's plenty of good in a mail-order or internet-order catalog to make up for the negatives.

Re:Town centers (3, Interesting)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about a year ago | (#44619463)

Before urbanization, we used to order much of what we bought from catalogs. You could order everything from shoelaces to a prefab house kit from the Sears Catalog, and if you lived in a rural place, you pretty much had to mail-order.

-snip-

I like some retail shopping, but sometimes it's really annoying, and I think there's plenty of good in a mail-order or internet-order catalog to make up for the negatives.

This so very much! The internetZ have just become the catalog of the 21st century.

Brick and mortar stores have some great advantages, but they have gotten so far from where they should be that it isn't worth the effort to attempt to shop there.

Example:

I wanted some simple hardware parts. I check my local Lowe's. Well, it turns out that these inexpensive parts don't have much of a profit margin, so they don't carry them. But they do have a thousand 5 gallon buckets of Contractor grade (cheap) wall paint. After 10 or 11 trips, I cross them off my source list. So it's online ordering for that stuff.

Example:

I need some computer parts. A stereo capable external sound card. Not exactly everyday stuff, but not exactly a SCSI hard drive and adapter either.

Stop off at best Buy and other folks that sell this kind of thing. No luck. Anything other than 50 varieties of Windows 8 running computers/laptops, they don't have much at all. And any peripherals are so overpriced - 30 dollars for a 6 foot cat5 cable is a sin. After about the 10th time, I give up checking them out, also.

How does this happen? If they have the stuff, it's likely to cost 4 to 5 times what I can get it for online. If they have it. But odds are tehy won't, because in their world, you don't have items that are low profit margin, or the least bit obscure.

Well, these big box retailers have an army of accountants and headquarters middle managers to support, so their overhead structure depends on a lot of sales and a lot of profit. And since accountants are notoriously difficult to purge from a company, they cut back on store staff if they can. But still, that Cat5 Cable or left handed widget is supporting the store employees the store overhead, and an army of people at HQ.

And the really sad part is that the accounts who are telling these folks how to run their operations don't see the little stuff as important. After all, they might only make a buck on that left handed widget, and that valuable store space can be used for a higher profit item. But they fail in that eventually. Accountants know numbers, but they largly do not understand people. I don't waste my time going there because tehy won't have what I need, and I can save time and money ordering online. How much money do I spend in a store if I don't go to that store. They have become irrelevant.

Re:Town centers (4, Insightful)

Loughla (2531696) | about a year ago | (#44619669)

I think you're confusing big-box stores with retail in general. Big box stores carry more of high profit margin items, and rarely, if ever, of low-profit/low-demand items. That is correct.

Where you go wrong, though, is that all stores are like this. For example, a local hardware store had everything (and I mean everything) I needed to remodel my basement. From the hammer and nails to the specialty trim. They didn't have a lot of each thing, and I paid a little more for convenience, but they had it. The local computer parts store carries everything from 50'+ HDMI cables to 2-pin adapters, from power supplies to charging pads for remote controlled helicopters. They might only have one or two of each thing, but their prices are competitive with on-line, and they do good business.

In other words, retail is more than just big box stores. There are countless small shops just like the two I mention.

Re:Town centers (4, Insightful)

dywolf (2673597) | about a year ago | (#44620063)

even though the catalogs may have "had everything", you didnt order "everything". only things you couldnt get locally, even if local meant a 10/20 mile horde/buggy ride to town. which they did regularly, whether regularly was once a month or once a week. hell, as it was delivery was to the town, not your door, so you still had to go get it.

we're getting mroe and more to the point where you physically cannot get things locally. the big box stores pushed out the local vendors with cheap plastic crap. and now even the big box stores are slowly being pushed out by the online stores.

Re:Town centers (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | about a year ago | (#44619171)

I think that most people don't care if the country turns into one giant suburb where everybody orders what they want from their couch. It's more of the increasingly pervasive "Fuck you. I've got mine" mentality. Lovely, isn't it?

Yes, I imagine that is what heaven is like, including the part where God says "fuck you" and I say "fuck you" back as we drink our Tuscan milk.

Re:Town centers (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about a year ago | (#44618701)

How would that be a reduction in quality of life to be able to order what you wanted and have it delivered? Indeed, wouldn't it raise it? Now I know there will always be people waxing nostalgic about the time we were hunters and gatherers and in order to eat lunch you had to spear a buffalo first. Or when you had to spend a couple of hours every day tending a garden in order to eat. Etc.

But this is progress and certainly enhances our quality of life, not detracts from it.

Re:Town centers (1)

stewsters (1406737) | about a year ago | (#44618955)

I didn't even think about the loss of town centers. We need those, because when we get rushed in the first age by the mongols we need somewhere to hole up and shoot arrows from.

Re:Town centers (1)

heathen_01 (1191043) | about a year ago | (#44619569)

Quite the opposite, as they're a trap. Hole up and a catapult will be along shortly to take care of the town center.

"same day" may take seven days (0)

mhoenicka (1035832) | about a year ago | (#44618467)

I dunno how people in other countries get their mail, but we still have postal services which do not deliver unless you're able to answer the doorbell personally. If I'm not at home, the shipment goes to a local shop, and I have to pick it up there. In a funny twist of fate, my local shop is open only 8-12 am where I'm supposed to be at work. So if I miss a shipment on Saturday, it may well take until the next Saturday when I finally get hold of it. I wouldn't want to do that with a head of lettuce.

Re:"same day" may take seven days (1)

somersault (912633) | about a year ago | (#44618617)

You should have packages delivered to your workplace.

Re:"same day" may take seven days (1)

mhoenicka (1035832) | about a year ago | (#44618809)

Yup, and carry home a week's worth of groceries on my bike for 10 miles. This isn't exactly my idea of home delivery.

Re:"same day" may take seven days (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44619849)

Get a car, loser.

Re:"same day" may take seven days (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44618835)

For groceries you would generally arrange a time for them to come, and make sure you are home during that time. It's not like ordering from Amazon where you get stuff in a few days.

In thr '60's (2)

zaax (637433) | about a year ago | (#44618495)

All the family foods was delivered (mostly by the co-op) to the door or at least to the road side were housewifes used to to go the van and get there meat; vegetable and fisg. Of course the milkman and bread man came to the door.

Re:In thr '60's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44618571)

Our milkman used to come through the letterbox. Thats the only explanation...

Re:In thr '60's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44618641)

Until places that didn't have the overhead of delivery costs drove such companies out of business. It'll always be cheaper to do your own shopping. For people that have a shortage of time, paying a little extra for delivery might be a worthwhile option.

Re:In thr '60's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44619031)

Do you think there's more "overhead of delivery" than "overhead of a big freaking store"? I'm sure every grocery chain would prefer being a delivery service.

Re:In thr '60's (1)

neminem (561346) | about a year ago | (#44618743)

Yep. From what I know about the 60s, the milkman was definitely where housewives used to go to the van and get their "meat". Heh heh heh.

Re:In thr '60's (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about a year ago | (#44619013)

His name was Ernie and he drove the fastest milk cart in the west :-) Though i always preferd Norman Pitkin

I've been in the grocery business.. (5, Insightful)

HockeyPuck (141947) | about a year ago | (#44618531)

There's a certain advantage to the online or delivery based grocery stores. They don't need to manage as packaged and portioned product as the traditional grocery stores.

Take meat for example.

In a traditional grocery store, there's hundreds of cuts of meat that are packaged up into individual portions sitting in a refrigerator waiting to be picked up by some consumer. There's a good chance that it won't be picked up and will eventually need to be tossed. Also, storing cut up meat isn't as efficient as say storing an entire side of beef/whole chicken/pork etc..

With the on-demand grocery, the side of beef is whole until an order is placed and then that side is cut up as per the orders that are needed. So if you need 50 steaks, you cut up exactly 50 steaks. Compared that to the traditional store in which you have to base that days sales on historical numbers and predictions rather than actual orders.

  If you as a meat-dept manager guess that 100 steaks will be sold on a thursday and only 50 are sold, you're going to lose money. With the online butcher, you only cut up 50 steaks. In this case you're much more efficient as you have less product waste.

It's the same with any other type of produce, also the shipping of produce from warehouse to grocery store via truck induces more issues around bruising/spoilage/damage etc. If it's sent to your house directly from the warehouse, then that's one less organization that your product has to pass through, thereby enabling you to have a better product. I'm also sure they'd allow you to refuse product say if for example, eggs were damaged.

The problem with the online is the same one as the movie rental business started out with. The impulse buy. Grocery stores are great at this, you walk by the steak counter and decide "this looks good, i'll have steak tonight". Online didn't have this ability as you had to wait a day or two to get your steak. Netflix had this problem vs. rental stores as you couldn't just do an impulse "movie night" if they had to ship you a dvd. Now with Netflix-streaming you can have a 'movie-night' as an impulse b/c the movie is provided to you the same day.

Re:I've been in the grocery business.. (1)

tresstatus (260408) | about a year ago | (#44618781)

There's a certain advantage to the online or delivery based grocery stores. They don't need to manage as packaged and portioned product as the traditional grocery stores.

Take meat for example.

In a traditional grocery store, there's hundreds of cuts of meat that are packaged up into individual portions sitting in a refrigerator waiting to be picked up by some consumer. There's a good chance that it won't be picked up and will eventually need to be tossed. Also, storing cut up meat isn't as efficient as say storing an entire side of beef/whole chicken/pork etc..

With the on-demand grocery, the side of beef is whole until an order is placed and then that side is cut up as per the orders that are needed. So if you need 50 steaks, you cut up exactly 50 steaks. Compared that to the traditional store in which you have to base that days sales on historical numbers and predictions rather than actual orders.

If you as a meat-dept manager guess that 100 steaks will be sold on a thursday and only 50 are sold, you're going to lose money. With the online butcher, you only cut up 50 steaks. In this case you're much more efficient as you have less product waste.

It's the same with any other type of produce, also the shipping of produce from warehouse to grocery store via truck induces more issues around bruising/spoilage/damage etc. If it's sent to your house directly from the warehouse, then that's one less organization that your product has to pass through, thereby enabling you to have a better product. I'm also sure they'd allow you to refuse product say if for example, eggs were damaged.

The problem with the online is the same one as the movie rental business started out with. The impulse buy. Grocery stores are great at this, you walk by the steak counter and decide "this looks good, i'll have steak tonight". Online didn't have this ability as you had to wait a day or two to get your steak. Netflix had this problem vs. rental stores as you couldn't just do an impulse "movie night" if they had to ship you a dvd. Now with Netflix-streaming you can have a 'movie-night' as an impulse b/c the movie is provided to you the same day.

something tells me that amazon isn't individually slicing steaks when you order them...

Re:I've been in the grocery business.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44618907)

something tells me that amazon isn't individually slicing steaks when you order them...

Why not? They would just need to have a Butcher division in the warehouse that takes in the meat portion of the order, cuts and packages the meat and then sends it out to join the rest of the order from the other division. Wouldn't be hard to implement at all.

Although having a building-sized freezer with thousands of frozen-solid cuts of meat that won't ever spoil and a group of low-paid pickers in parkas is probably even more efficient.

Re:I've been in the grocery business.. (1)

Score Whore (32328) | about a year ago | (#44619469)

Why not? They would just need to have a Butcher division in the warehouse that takes in the meat portion of the order, cuts and packages the meat and then sends it out to join the rest of the order from the other division. Wouldn't be hard to implement at all.

I'm curious where you get your cows, because here on Earth they have a particular anatomy and you can't pick and choose once you've begun. That is, you have a side of beef, you cut it into primals and then you're pretty much committed. Can't put half a cow back out to pasture.

Re:I've been in the grocery business.. (1)

FatAlb3rt (533682) | about a year ago | (#44618933)

No, but the order takes a finite amount of time to fulfill. So with a large enough operation, you *can* have a butcher cutting the number of steaks ordered each hour.

Online ordering makes scheduled ordering much easier to do. I detest shopping, so if I could have a standard order set up each week, that not only helps me, but Amazon can use that data to further their scheduling and ordering optimization while minimizing waste.

Re:I've been in the grocery business.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44618999)

you dont know fuck squat about the chain of fresh produce from grower to retailer. most produce is green (unripened) when picked, and ripen AT THE STORE, others are ripened by distributor before final delivery to store. your idea of shipping fresh produce directly from warehouse or grower to home is totally fucked up and simply doesn't work on a large scale at low retail prices (i.e. the amazon model).

bananas are a prime example. they're green when they leave the growers and are shipped to the destination country... they're green when they sit in a local warehouse.. and they're STILL GREEN when they get to the retailer. most people when they buy a bunch of bananas, they kinda wanna start eating them within a day or so of purchase.... which wouldnt be possible under your ignorant idea.

and your meat department scenario is also a little fucked up. if a store 'guesses' 100 steaks sell in a day, but only 50 do, they won't cut up as much the next day. cut up meat has a longer shelf life in the cooler than 1 day... so does ground meats... meat on its last day in the cooler is often marked down for faster sale -- and you know what? they still make money on those too.

Re:I've been in the grocery business.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44619195)

That's weird, in all the mid-priced grocery stores here there is always only a few pieces of each cut of meat available - but the stores always have a butcher shop so they can keep the shelves full regardless of demand without much risk of waste. You can also get whatever kind of cut you want exactly the way you want at no additional cost.

Re:I've been in the grocery business.. (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about a year ago | (#44619999)

Amazon and a number of other online stores are getting really good at prompting impulse buys based on their profile of you.

Theres fewer and fewer reasons to do actual stores every day.

Logistics don't work well beyond a subset of goods (1)

Silentknyght (1042778) | about a year ago | (#44618549)

Amazon is currently host to an enormous variety of goods, even after you eliminate everything that isn't sold directly by them. I don't understand how Amazon is going to work out the logistics so that you can host multiples of each of these goods within 12 hours driving distance of all major US cities, let alone within an even shorter travel distance of 99% of the US population? It doesn't seem to work out.

Either you're purchasing 20 of "HDTV model #123456" so that you can be well-positioned to sell one of them to the person within a few hours driving distance, and have 19 leftovers... AND/or you're sending orders-of-magniture more vehicles, sparsely loaded, with goods out for delivery as soon as the order is made. This seems pretty grossly inefficient.

The alternative is that Amazon only ever offers this same-day delivery service for an infinitesimally small fraction of the goods it sells, which doesn't seem like a particularly good business plan to add additional expectations & subsequent confusion for the consumer.

"render obsolete" : thats crok (1)

oxygen_deprived (1127583) | about a year ago | (#44618579)

In India, you simply call the grocery store, order you list and get your stuff at home in 2 hours, no shipping/delivery charges, no tips expected. It has been so since as long as I remember. Whether it is Amazon or not doesnt matter a dang to the consumer.

Re:"render obsolete" : thats crok (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44618733)

There are similar services in various US cities. The problem being:

no tips expected

Even when you have people getting paid minimum wage or beyond, America has an asinine culture of tipping for many activities, which of course, jacks up the price of everything depending on how cheap you are/how much spit you want in your food next time/whether or not you want your eggs still in their shells.

Maybe they deserve it (5, Interesting)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | about a year ago | (#44618595)

Look, I don't want an Amazon monopoly of all of retail any more than the next guy, but maybe these brick-and-mortar chains deserve it. So much of the retail space has been taken over by large corporations that offer better prices than mom-and-pop stores but lack any semblance of customer service. Their employees aren't trained, and the products are exactly the same junk you find everywhere else. They just aren't a good experience.

I especially hate how they have resisted integrating with the online world. It drives me nuts when a company has both a large online presence and a brick-and-mortar presence. Even though they share the same branding and (usually) the same product selection, they function as if they are separate companies. If you have a problem and try to talk to a person at your local store, they say "we don't deal with the online stuff, they are independent from us." Well great, way to give up your ONE advantage over Amazon.

Give the customer what they want. They want the convenience of online shopping. They also want face-to-face sometimes. They blew it. Amazon's same day deliver will be close enough to bury them.

Re:Maybe they deserve it (1)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | about a year ago | (#44618885)

When I go to a real shop and ask for anything special, the answer is usually "internet" (not even a whole sentence). I don't shop on-line unless I really have to (and even than rather not), Shop owners should realize that people come to shops not only to buy something, but also for advise, the chance to really see what you are buying, etc. I really find it strange that shop owners chase their customers out of the shops instead of trying to make a difference.

Re:Maybe they deserve it (1)

Kjella (173770) | about a year ago | (#44619745)

I especially hate how they have resisted integrating with the online world. It drives me nuts when a company has both a large online presence and a brick-and-mortar presence. Even though they share the same branding and (usually) the same product selection, they function as if they are separate companies. If you have a problem and try to talk to a person at your local store, they say "we don't deal with the online stuff, they are independent from us." Well great, way to give up your ONE advantage over Amazon.

The problem is that customers want to have their cake and eat it too, they want to be able to order it online at prices that match Amazon's barebone model while at the same time get in-person service at an expensive location, quite a few companies around here have tried that mixed model and they've all gone bankrupt or left that model again as either people are either very unhappy with the prices or they're losing lots of money because their e-tail margins don't cover the retail costs.

Remember that retail shops are usually pushing a rather high $/hour per clerk and per m^2 and one support case can tie up both staff and space for a comparatively long time, leading to annoying waiting times and you get a skewed impression that compared to the number of shoppers there's lots of complaints. And absolutely worst of all are the customers who get annoying and disruptive in an attempt to blackmail you into getting what they want in order to get them out of your hair. You can't help but deal with your own retail customers, but I wouldn't want to take on that extra support burden either. Not without very good internal billing.

Re:Maybe they deserve it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44619939)

I, for one, welcome our new Amazonian overlords.

Great! (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about a year ago | (#44618621)

This is great news (although no doubt it will be quite a while before they start delivering to those like me who live in the middle of nowhere!). The biggest problem with online retailers has been the shipping, especially with regards to PC parts. For example, a couple of months ago a PSU died. Now you would think that a power supply would be a pretty common part, but yet all the major PC retailers anywhere close to me (again, living out in the middle of nowhere, but within an hour drive I could get to a Best Buy, Office Depot, Office Max, Wal-Mart, Target, etc.) didn't have a PSU and because of that I had to order it online and wait a couple of days to use that computer again.

The same thing is true when I'm working on a project and realize that I ran out of some component (or I broke it!). It used to be that Radio Shack was really good at keeping just about any part I needed in stock, but anymore their electronics hobby section is much, much, smaller than their Cell Phones/PC section.

Seen this before... (5, Informative)

yakatz (1176317) | about a year ago | (#44618657)

I have ordered items (non-food) on Amazon and had the option to pay ....... $3.99! ..... for "Same Day Delivery" in the Washington, DC area. I have no idea how they actually paid for the courier to drive from Virginia to Maryland, since it certainly cost more than $3.99 in gas, but I ordered at 10 AM and had the item by 5 PM.

Re:Seen this before... (2)

DogDude (805747) | about a year ago | (#44618761)

It's pretty simple. They'll continue losing money until their stock price stops going up. Nobody really cares whether they're profitable or not.

Re:Seen this before... (4, Informative)

Sprouticus (1503545) | about a year ago | (#44619187)

Or they have lots of deliveries and can optimize. It is not that complex.

Sure there will be times where you are the only person and they lose money on gas and driver time. And there will be times where they have 2 dozen deliveries and the gas for your piece costs $0.15

The trick is to make the delivery coverage area the right size to account for the volume of orders.

Re:Seen this before... (1)

DogDude (805747) | about a year ago | (#44619747)

There are some things, such as delivering groceries, which will never be sufficiently efficient even in large scales.

Re:Seen this before... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44618979)

I have no idea how they actually paid for the courier to drive from Virginia to Maryland, since it certainly cost more than $3.99 in gas,

Statistical efficiency. Even if your order was somehow the only one going from the Virginia warehouse to the Maryland DC region that day, most days there will be more than one delivery (even if not all of them were same-day) and added fuel needs per package are trivial.

The $3.99 was probably more to compensate for the slight addition of manual effort in a timely manner to get your box onto the right truck for afternoon delivery.

Re:Seen this before... (1)

noahwh (1545231) | about a year ago | (#44619099)

It's a large enough business that they don't have a courier driving out there just for you, there are other deliveries in that area that reduce the per-order cost of the trip. And of course the delivery costs are factored in to the cost of the product.

same day? big deal! (4, Funny)

Cyko_01 (1092499) | about a year ago | (#44618699)

I can order a freshly made pizza and have it within the hour! I'm not about to sit around all day waiting for my groceries to show up.

Re:same day? big deal! (2)

oodaloop (1229816) | about a year ago | (#44618791)

But what if you order a DiGiorno frozen pizza from a supermarket, and they deliver it to you? Oh man, I just blew my mind!

Re:same day? big deal! (1)

Cyko_01 (1092499) | about a year ago | (#44618919)

then I would have to wait all day, cook it myself, and it still wouldn't be as good as delivery

Re:same day? big deal! (1)

FatAlb3rt (533682) | about a year ago | (#44618963)

Who said they wouldn't be able to provide a delivery window? The local Chinese delivery always says 45 min to an hour, shows up 20 min later.

Re:same day? big deal! (1)

rullywowr (1831632) | about a year ago | (#44619831)

Who said they wouldn't be able to provide a delivery window? The local Chinese delivery always says 45 min to an hour, shows up 20 min later.

In my experience, Chinese is usually ready "in about ten minute. You want egg woll?"

Re:You want egg woll? (1)

Dareth (47614) | about a year ago | (#44620187)

Had to stop going to a couple places. They don't bother to ask, they just upgrade your lunch special with the $2 egg roll. Just not worth it regardless if it tastes good.
Only thing worse is buying what should be a $0.50 pickle at the movie theater. More like $0.50 a bite then!

Re:same day? big deal! (1)

Cyko_01 (1092499) | about a year ago | (#44619027)

oh, and with dial-a-bottle [beerstoredelivery.ca] I can get beer and smokes(if that's your thing) within the hour too. Beer, smokes, and pizza - what more could a guy want!(if you're gonna say sex, some escorts do house-calls)

Re:same day? big deal! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44619699)

I can order a freshly made pizza and have it within the hour! I'm not about to sit around all day waiting for my groceries to show up.

Never call the cops. If someone breaks into your house, call for pizza. It will arrive faster and the delivery boy will be more helpful.

Not at their grocery prices (1)

Anonymous Codger (96717) | about a year ago | (#44618725)

I've occasionally compared the prices Amazon charges for grocery items to what I pay locally, and the local stores, even Whole Foods, have always beaten Amazon on price. Amazon has good pricing on everything else, why not on groceries, Bezos?

Re:Not at their grocery prices (1)

noahwh (1545231) | about a year ago | (#44619821)

Because grocery stores already have much slimmer margins than most retailers and they don't need to factor the cost to deliver to you into their prices.

Done something like this (4, Informative)

DeathToBill (601486) | about a year ago | (#44618727)

Grocery delivery has been pretty common in the UK for a while. I used it for a couple of years. It's not same-day. You order what you want online then book a delivery slot and someone comes around within about a 90 minute window with your groceries.

The good thing about it is you can get all your groceries delivered without having to leave your home. Some of the websites are getting pretty good now - you can set up lists of things that you always order and that get added to your list automatically and so on. The main downside is what happens when they don't have what you asked for in stock. They'll substitute something else. It's up to you to check the receipt when the delivery comes and see if they've substituted anything - if you can remember what you ordered in the first place. They make some pretty bizarre substitutions. I remember ordering 5kg of potatoes. They didn't have the specific 5kg bag I asked for so they substituted a tray of four small potatoes. Um.

Re:Done something like this (-1)

DogDude (805747) | about a year ago | (#44618785)

The good thing about it is you can get all your groceries delivered without having to leave your home.

And why is that a good thing...?

Re:Done something like this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44619169)

It takes considerably less time, you don't have to stand around in queues at the supermarket, get wet in the pouring rain, carry all the stuff into your house, find parking, pay for petrol... Any one of hundreds of reasons, really.

Re:Done something like this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44619673)

The onus is upon you to make the case that it's a bad thing. Elsewhere you've posted things to the effect of "it's like a suburb which magically makes it evil", and that's not going to cut it. So try and really think about what you're going to say.

wrong wrong wrong (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year ago | (#44618789)

Obviously someone who has no idea what they're talking about wrote this article. The entire basis on Amazon's business model is a gigantic facility in a limited number of locations to save money and just ship everything. Newegg does things to same way and only has 3 major warehouses and those are the #1 and #2 largest online retailers in the US.

Their entire business model collapses if they try to hold 5 of every TV model in 500 locations in large cities instead of 200 in three different gigantic locations. The real estate, tax, utility, labor, accounting, and inventory management expenses go through the roof and so do the prices. They're basically just Best Buy, Office Max, and Office Depot at that point where inventory is split across locations with a "best guess" mentality that never works out. Then, instead of customers coming to your one location, you have 50 drivers that have to go to the customers. That's notoriously more expensive for any business so they'd actually be higher priced than Best Buy. It's just a completely ridiculous idea that has no basis in reality.

Re:wrong wrong wrong (1)

raftpeople (844215) | about a year ago | (#44619069)

I don't think you are up on current events. Amazon currently has about 60 facilities in the US and is planning on building more in every single state to achieve the same day delivery model.

Return shipping (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#44618795)

While I'm happy to order dry goods like electronics online, I've always been skeptical of other people picking out my groceries.

For a component that isn't a direct part of the human-computer interface, I agree. But for the same reason I won't buy bananas without touching it, nor will I buy a computer keyboard without touching it. I don't want to have to buy one, pay return shipping, buy another, pay return shipping, rinse and repeat. I've already been burned once by a Bluetooth keyboard for Nexus 7 whose space bar was so short that my right thumb would consistently press the key that was to the right of space.

Retailers Beware (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44618847)

My son works for Lowes. He says that last year they became aware of the grave threat to their business model posed by Amazon. They fear greatly because they realize that at best it would take years for them to become as good as Amazon at digital marketing and fulfillment. It is a threat to nearly all retailers, not just Lowes.

Amazon will probably never deliver a sheet of plywood same day, but that is not where most of the profits come from. A bubble package with a few nuts and washers is the kind of item that is most profitable. That leaves brick and mortar retailers to survive with the less profitable items.

I'm struck by how rapidly US citizens change their tastes in retailing. First no discount stores, then discount stores, then shopping centers, then malls, then big box stores, then now. Rather than cling nostalgically to old styles of retailing, Americans seem instead to be in a hurry to abandon the old and embrace the new.

Suppose 2/3 of us resist Amazon because we don't like the idea. 1/3 of the customer base could still be a sea change and fatal to brick and mortar retailers.

Re:Retailers Beware (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year ago | (#44619497)

I'm not sure about the big box stores—at least in my family's experience (as Canadians) we always thought they were forced on retailers by property owners who didn't want to pay to maintain an enclosed mall space. It always seemed like a step backwards. I suppose that's rather anecdotal, of course.

Geek me to the max (2)

JackSpratts (660957) | about a year ago | (#44618867)

Written like a true geekster. Look, shopping isn't particularly about distribution...that may indeed be what selling is about (although I doubt it), but shopping is a whole nuther animal. When I'm stuck behind my tesla 19" wonderwindow for hours, I often lunge at any excuse to get out of the home office. If that means heading to Trader Joes for some fresh ciabatta bread (squeezed by me to be sure) or a taste of that new sauce the nice lady hands me I'm winning on two levels. I'm out of the house and in control of buying and perusing. Bumping into somebody cute is icing on the cake. I can't do any of that from my desk. Certainly for many commodities online shopping has real merit, and it's possible that by chipping away at the margins Amazon may render less enlightened establishments vulnerable, but the breathless prose of the writer is more wishful thinking than anything truly predictive.

Yeah, if they can get it right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44618881)

I used to use "Grocery Gateway" here in Toronto. The first few deliveries were fine, but then they started to get sloppy. The driver would dump off the boxes, then get all p*ssed off when I insisted on checking them to see that he brought all the stuff I had ordered and paid for. That took about 5 minutes of going through the boxes while the driver whined that I was making him late, but if I didn't check then I ALWAYS found out that a bunch of stuff was missing. It got so unpleasant that I finally just said screw it and went back to using my local stores here downtown. Better quality, I can shop when I want and while I pay a bit more I get to control the quality of what I purchase.

If Amazon can solve this problem and keep the quality high and the orders correct then they may have a chance, but I am not gonna hold my breath.

Great, now the NSA will find another reason to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44618923)

Well that's just great. Just another way for the NSA to profile people and label them as terrorists. Like middle-eastern food more than American? You're probably a terrorist. I'm sure the CIA will be updating their definitions soon if they haven't already. After all, owning more than 7-days of food is a terrorist activity after all.

Re:Great, now the NSA will find another reason to. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44619149)

What you're describing is a legitimate concern, but it's also one that applies right now, today, Amazon or no Amazon. There's no new privacy problem being introduced here.

Already exists in Germany! (1)

tempmpi (233132) | about a year ago | (#44618971)

Amazon Germany has many popular items available for same day delivery to almost all big cities in Germany. Order before 11am and they guarantee same day delivery by 6pm to 9pm for 13 euros per item for normal customers and for 5 euros per item for prime subscribers.

Re:Already exists in Germany! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44619269)

13 euros per item ! :O that's some expensive groceries!

Schwan's (1)

Saethan (2725367) | about a year ago | (#44619053)

I order some food online from Schwan's - they deliver the food in a foam cooler with dry ice to keep it frozen. I just have them drop it off at my back door and it's there when I get home from work. It's not same-day of course, but it's frozen food so that doesn't matter much to me.

What a Wonderful Job! (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | about a year ago | (#44619159)

Amazon kills competition. Great!
People have to find new jobs.
People work for Amazon.
Man, that really sucks. . . .

Re:What a Wonderful Job! (1)

rhsanborn (773855) | about a year ago | (#44619741)

Like the mom and pops had to do when Home Depot, Target, Wal-Mart et al. took over? Like black smiths had to do when cars become affordable? Like telegraph operators had to do when the telephone caught on? Like telephone operators had to do when we got automatic switching? Industries change, people find other industries to work in.

Front Page (-1, Redundant)

lipanitech (2620815) | about a year ago | (#44619197)

I am very happy that finally I submitted a story worthy of the front page of slashdot I feel honored.

Trojan horse is a red herring? (1)

Sprouticus (1503545) | about a year ago | (#44619433)

The idea that grocery delivery is the same as other types of goods is a red herring.

Consumable good, (food, liquor, cigarettes, maybe light bulbs or smaller household needs, etc) are good candidates for delivery because they are usually time sensitive/perishable, and because EVERYONE needs them.

electronics, books, tools, etc are a different story. The population & population density required and the equipment required to make delivering a flat screen TV same day and making it cost effective are prohibitive except in the very largest cities. NYC, Boston, SF, Chicago,, and maybe LA/Dallas/Atlanta. Heck I would not be surprised if it was not even feasible in NY.

You would need a large warehouse, the ability to package large equipment and small, light and heavy, and especially frozen/cold storage. And be able to retrieve it, get it on the truck, and deliver it all in the same day (or even overnight). That is going to be expensive unless you have the traffic to support it. And once you go past overnight, then you have to compare the cost of maintaining the local warehouse vs just having the item delivered via fed-ex or UPS and giving free shipping.

Home Grocer failed, but... (1)

mrsnak (1818464) | about a year ago | (#44619443)

...I sure loved (and used all the time) the service.

See this is the thing... (2)

jafiwam (310805) | about a year ago | (#44619751)

the fools that want to enforce local taxes on out of state Internet purchases don't understand.

Amazon and a couple other large Internet retailers, are on the virge of, and WANT TO compete locally like this.

The difference, at this point, in their costs is hovering around the difference between the local taxes and the "out of state" places they sell.

Once that difference is wiped out, there will be six or seven Amazon distribution centers in every state and they'll be doing next day or same day service on almost all purchases, and will be able to deliver 50 different types of lettuce faster than you can drive around town to purchase three. When there's a professional driver with a route to worry about transpiration, the thing coming from the next county over is nto a big deal whereas the household errand runner can't or won't go that far.

Not to mention non-perishable stuff like DVDs, books, small appliances, tools, grains and dry "grocery" goods. They won't care if a TV sits on a shelf for a month while a local retailer does. Heck, I buy a lot of grains, crackers, household cleaners, paper products, etc. on Amazon now just because I am often thinking of it when I am at work (in front of a computer) and forget when I go to get a salad from the grocery store.

The retailers crying about unfair competition have no idea what is about to hit them. The "tax the out of state purchase" push will absolutely kill a bunch of retailer types. They'll hold on for a few years while the luddites die out, but Best Buy being "Amazon's showroom" will spread to every other non convenience store / fast food type local operation or people will just learn to do their research online. (Also note, once the threshold is reached, there will be so much reviewing going on that making a decision will be easy and reliable. Going to talk to the salesweasel and finger-fuck the thing won't need to happen.

I can see this is a win and a worry (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about a year ago | (#44619777)

The Amazon story of delivery of books/electronics and even adult products is showing how big they've grown. That coupled with a no hassle return policy makes them more compelling than Best Buy for example that rakes you over the coals if you return something. When I go to my local Fry's electronics for example, I look at it and say that it's becoming more of an everything store mimicking Amazon but even Fry's is now getting to be a so-so retailer and most likely I'll look at Amazon first before considering buying at Fry's. That's a sad statement of how good Amazon has become and how poor local retailers are becoming which just throws more competitive advantage Amazon's way.

Now Amazon is branching into Food delivery, which awhile back there was the Pea Pod delivery service, which largely failed along the lines of what folks discussed here: Quality of what was delivered. If Amazon can tackle the quality issue and I'm sure they will I think a lot of mom and pop grocery stores in large cities in this country should worry. Like Walmart that came in a crushed small town retailing Amazon will be in a position to threaten Walmart and other large chain stores, Target, Sears, KMart, JCPenny. Walmart suddenly woke up last year and stopped selling Amazon goods in their stores because they saw the threat. [reuters.com]

Amazon + UPS/Fedex + Target/WallMart/BestBuy/b& (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44619901)

Amazon's strength is online while the brick&mortars is physical location+customer local stock. UPS and Fedex are already local and making deliveries. All Amazon needs to do is ink deals with most national b&ms to get their inventory online and then coord with UPS/Fedex to do the local delivery of it. They can essentially co-opt the entire local merchandise and delivery setup at least in most major metros without breaking a sweat.

You pick your bigscreen tv on amazon based on price and local stock, amazon checks creates order for ups/fedex to same-day pickup and delivery from retailer to your door. Heck, you could probably work some sort of just-in-time setup with UPS/Fedex much like a cabbie system - a broadcast for a "fare" goes out and drivers pick the orders they can fulfill depending on where they are at that point in time. They know the local setup best and could probably respond in near real time with their existing deliveries.

They've been doing this for a while. (1)

Bogtha (906264) | about a year ago | (#44620101)

I remember getting same-day delivery on books from Amazon UK in 2008. At the time it was only Birmingham and London areas that they did it in, but now it looks like they service more areas [amazon.co.uk] .

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...