Amazon has got plans for your groceries

The company which revolutionized the way we shop online wants to do it again — for groceries.

According to reports from Reuters and elsewhere, Amazon’s five-year beta test of AmazonFresh in Seattle is ready to roll into other metro areas, including Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Blink too slowly and you’ll miss the rapidly unfolding battle for the same-day delivery space. Especially in places like the Bay Area, competitors like Safeway, Wal-Mart and Google each have ways to satisfy shopping needs faster than ever.

Having already conquered books, electronics and music, Jeff Bezos’ online behemoth is looking to vanquish the realm of cleanups on aisle six.

AmazonFresh would allow customers to order fresh produce, meat and other perishables along with a new laptop, hard drive or video game system.

 

Just like at the real grocery store, it’s not the meat and potatoes that pays the bills for the retailer, it’s the things people buy along the way.

Instead of magazines and candy bars, Amazon is betting customers will add on higher-margin items — like electronics and general merchandise — to take advantage of the speed and convenience of nearly instant gratification.

Though classically low-margin, a meaty slice of the $568 billion US grocery market — and a robust regional delivery system — could cement Amazon’s position atop the virtual retail heap.

Amazon’s unique ability to ship a music player along with your Yukon Gold potatoes could prove worrisome to its competitors, supermarket consultant Bill Bishop told Reuters:

“The fear is that grocery is a loss leader and Amazon will make a profit on sales of other products ordered online at the same time. … That’s an awesomely scary prospect for the grocery business.”