Why is Amazon opening brick-and-mortar grocery stories? Because it wants to dominate groceries online.
Yes, Amazon is opening a string of physical groceries—or at least that's the word from The Wall Street Journal, which cites multiple anonymous sources familiar with the matter. According to the paper, Amazon calls this Project Como, and the first store is planned for the company's home city of Seattle, Washington.
Inside these stores, the WSJ says, you'll be able to shop for meat, milk, produce, and other perishable goods—pay for them and put them right into your car. But via your smartphone or touch screens installed in the store, you'll be able to order items with longer shelf lives, like peanut butter and cereal, for same-day delivery. If you like, you'll also have the option of ordering the perishable stuff ahead of time via your phone—and picking it up a curbside. Amazon will even deploy equipment that will read your license plate when you drive, so you'll wait as little as possible.
Amazon declined to comment on the story. But Project Como makes perfect sense for a company that intends on moving grocery shopping onto the Internet. That may seem counterintuitive. But this big irony characterizes just about all of Amazon grand ambitions. Amazon wants to dominate the length and breadth of e-commerce, and that means it built some serious infrastructure here in the real world. The company already operates enormous fulfillment centers across the globe. It has its own delivery trucks. It flies its own cargo planes. It's building tiny drones that will take stuff directly to your doorstep. It runs a bookstore in Seattle. And now, naturally, it wants to open some grocery stores.