On Tuesday, Amazon announced that it would start offering free food delivery for Prime members. The announcement comes over two years after the Seattle-based tech giant acquired Whole Foods in an effort to develop its business in the grocery and food industries.
Daniel Hooker, senior lecturer in food industry management at Cornell University’s SC Johnson College of Business, says that while Amazon may yield short-term gains from offering free deliveries, shoppers will need more convincing before they give up on brick-and-mortar grocery stores.
“Although free grocery delivery will provide a short-term incentive for some shoppers to try grocery delivery, it will be a long time until most shoppers convert to buying fresh food online.
“Selecting fresh food, especially produce and meat, is a very personal decision and until Amazon.com can guarantee product freshness they won’t be able to compete with the established food stores. Shoppers still want to see and touch fresh food before they purchase. You can’t sample the local apples or experience fresh baked bread online.”