Amazon.com is opening a new Whole Foods store in Brooklyn, but it won’t be open to the public. In a first for the company, the Whole Foods store will be permanently online only, tasked with fulfilling online grocery orders for customers in the Brooklyn area, Amazon announced. The store, which opened on Tuesday, is located in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood. The launch of the new, online-only store format comes as Amazon, like many other retailers, has experienced a flood of demand for grocery delivery, driven by the coronavirus pandemic. In this year's second quarter, Amazon' online grocery sales tripled year-over-year, and it increased grocery delivery capacity by more than 160 percent.
Total Retail's Take: Grocery is one of the fastest-growing online product categories, and that's true for Amazon as well. Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods in 2017 led many to speculate on how the e-commerce giant would leverage Whole Foods' nationwide physical footprint. We're beginning to see how. Online-only "dark stores" can be located in city centers and close to large population segments, making same-day delivery that much easier and cost efficient. Omnichannel fulfillment options, including curbside pickup, have flourished during the pandemic, and Amazon is betting that this type of shopping behavior is here for good. Combining the ease of online shopping with the immediate satisfaction of same-day delivery, particularly for groceries, is a combination that Amazon believes will help it win market share in the category.