Amazon Fresh. A different kettle of fish?

Amazon Fresh. A different kettle of fish?

Amazon finally launched its fresh food delivery service in Japan last week. The business has a dedicated operations and commercial team using tailor-made warehousing in the company’s existing logistics facilities.

Amazon Japan is the No 2 online business here after Rakuten with revenue north of US$10b. Not a mean achievement given it only opened shop in 2000.

I found the Fresh site layout was standard Amazon fare; flat product images, with brief but uninspiring summaries on product and range assortment. Compared to some other Japanese online supermarket chains which tout specific regional or exclusive produce, for me it lacked engagement. It’s early days and one imagines the offering will be changing very regularly. The key USP is delivery time and speed as the site makes a heavy emphasis on when they need the product.

Home delivery services are of course not new in Japan, today most major supermarket and CVS chains offer them. 68% Japanese consumers buy something online every month according to some 2016 data I saw recently. So the challenge for Amazon Fresh, as with the already launched Pantry service, is customer acquisition.

Amazon’s answer is to target Prime members, its “club” of high spending, heavy users. There is no publicly available data on the number of Prime members, though some stock analysts believe it is between 65-80 million globally.

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