Grocery stores and supermarkets are the most convenient and cost-effective places to get your food and supplies under one roof. In the history of business and trade, however, they’re fairly recent inventions.
The concept of getting all of your necessary food items in a single location dates back to the early 1900s with the opening of Piggly Wiggly and A&P locations in the United States. Before these stores opened, you had to go to individual merchants for absolutely everything. You would get your milk delivered, go to a fishmonger for fish, visit a baker for bread, and so on. Grocery stores brought these stores and services together, while using their massive buying power to negotiate for lower prices.
Since then, groceries became a $1 trillion business in the United States, and numerous other grocery store chains opened up around the country. Thanks to the internet, however, your local grocery store is now seeing competition with online competitors who can offer something they can’t: delivery of your groceries without setting foot in a store.
Right now, select cities can use Amazon’s Fresh service, an online grocery store that takes the food shopping experience and distills it into a short, easier-to-use format. While this might sound nice, it could cut into your local store’s bottom line…and do a whole lot worse.
Your grocery store is here to stay for now, but with services like Amazon and Fresh Direct, they’ll inevitably have to offer a similar service to compete. While this might sound silly, Stop & Shop (a foreign-owned grocery store chain in the northeast U.S.) already has an online grocery delivery system called Peapod. It’ll be interesting to see which chains and local grocers follow suit. Until then, Amazon Fresh will keep expanding.
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