Amazon Readying Drive-Up Grocery Format?

Seattle-based may soon be opening its inaugural drive-up locations for groceries in Seattle, as new permit documents reveal an “AmazonFresh Pickup” concept, tech news site GeekWire has reported.

Permit filings show that the city of Seattle has given ecommerce giant permission to put up “AmazonFresh Pickup” signs for locations in the Ballard and SoDo neighborhoods, as well as signs with message such as, “Shop Online. Pick up here,” and, “Relax while we load your groceries” for location exteriors. Representatives from Amazon did not respond to PG's request for confirmation or additional information, but the tech news outlet also noted that it saw a film crew working at the SoDo site, perhaps on a promotional video, and that the bulk of the construction work appears to be done.

Each store includes an awning for drivers to park their cars as well as a brick-and-mortar building for workers to build orders, GeekWire said. Parking spaces at the Ballard location have motion-activated signs installed that, when triggered, read, “Your order is on the way.”

Permit filings uncovered by the news site last year for the Ballard location, though they may have changed since, said customers may schedule specific 15-minute to two-hour windows for pickup, receive orders via delivery to their car or by walking into the retail room and picking up, and even place orders in the retail room via tablet and receive delivery there.

The GeekWire report follows several other confirmed and speculative news stories in recent months surrounding Amazon’s plans to make a big splash in brick-and-mortar grocery, including the launch of its no-checkout Amazon Go convenience format and speculation surrounding potential automated supermarkets. In recent months, the company has upped its game in grocery delivery, too, including expansion into new territories such as South Florida and the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as slashing subscription fees for its AmazonFresh online delivery service.