With the launch of services targeting the grocery and alcoholic beverage segments, Amazon.com, Inc., has garnered media attention for its latest forays into a new and competitive marketplace. In a September 1, 2015, article, The Los Angeles Times compares Amazon’s Farmers Market Direct program to other food delivery startups aiming to bring fresh local products from farm to doorstep. A partnership with Connecticut-based Fresh Nation, the Farmers Market Direct program seeks to connect Southern California agricultural producers to Amazon’s consumer base, promising food delivery within 36 hours of harvest. As the Times notes, “Development of food-delivery technology has attracted an enormous amount of money. About $710 million was invested in the segment in the first half of 2015, more than the $681 million invested all of last year.”
Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon’s one-hour delivery service for alcohol beverages joins “more than a half-dozen alcohol delivery startups… working to differentiate themselves from one another.” In many cases, these companies do not require liquor licenses as they sell their apps and technology to existing physical stores to help them boost online sales. But under Amazon’s model, the online retailer has acquired a Washington state liquor license to sell wine, spirits and other beverages directly to Seattle consumers. “Private investors backing the booze delivery startups remain bullish on the sector despite Amazon’s entry and similar activity by delivery services such as Postmates and Instacart,” states the September 1, 2015, article. “The ability to bring offline transactions online and mine the data coupled with consumer enthusiasm for summoning items from smartphones as evidenced in food, rides, laundry, and other services have made the sector a compelling one for tech investors.” See The Wall Street Journal, September 1, 2015.