Content - Comment of Carsten Diekmann in "The Grocer”

  • 10 June 2014

Comment of Carsten Diekmann in "The Grocer”

Amazon's new US offerings of everything from "Prime Pantry" to Amazon Fresh – all with the potential of being delivered on the undercarriage of an Amazon "drone" – may sound like science fiction, but it is very much fact. This is causing more than a few night sweats to the market share-losing supermarkets, but it is not the only hi-tech threat on the horizon.

Comment of Carsten Diekmann in "The Grocer”

In Germany, my home country, food producers and processors are teaming up with construction companies and smart white goods makers to build instant shopping into the fabric of our lives - missing the supermarket out of the equation altogether. Communal living spaces are being designed to accept shipment of groceries directly to our dwellings using automated or robotic transport systems – possibly via underground tunnels and laundry chutes - even when we are not in. The goods would be ordered through the Amazon-type "wands”, which would automatically add items to our shopping list when the fridge or pantry needed replenishing.

Like Prime Pantry's intuitive ability to measure the cubic capacity of the box so only 45 lbs of groceries are shipped, all this European model requires are giant distribution centres and high-quality robust containers to move the merchandise to your home, complete with a reverse logistics offering to return items, and, voilà, no more plastic bags, no more waiting around for your internet delivery... and potentially no more supermarkets.

The threat may come from the food manufacturers themselves through the location of giant DCs for their branded goods. The key will be to instil confidence among consumers that they will get their delivery in an undamaged form and that payment is secure.

This may seem a stark vision, but supermarkets are going to have to reconfigure their thinking on bricks-and-mortar, as instant replenishment is undoubtedly arriving in the next generation of internet use. Taking out the middle man of the supermarket will obviously affect the price customers pay for their daily shop... not to mention the future designs of towns and cities.

Text: The Grocer, 24 May 2014