Amazon Shuts Down Amazon Pantry
Amazon.com has shuttered Amazon Pantry (originally known as Prime Pantry), its grocery and household essentials delivery service, according to Bloomberg.com. Launched in 2014, Amazon Pantry was one of the retailer’s first forays into selling food online. It featured a selection of shelf-stable food and snacks, as well as cleaning products, designed to get shoppers to stock up on the bulky, often expensive-to-ship products in orders that could fit into a single large box. Initially the service was offered only to members of the Prime free shipping program, but Amazon added a $5 a month subscription option in 2018.
Amazon Pantry closed formally on Jan. 6, and since then, thousands of products previously available under the banner have now been folded into the company’s main retail site. Those who were still paying the monthly fee were notified of the shutdown in December and received refunds. “As part of our commitment to delivering the best possible customer experience, we have decided to transfer the Amazon Pantry selection to the main Amazon.com store so customers can get everyday household products faster, without an extra subscription or purchase requirement,” an Amazon spokeswoman said in an email to Bloomberg.
Total Retail's Take: So, why did the retail giant shut down Amazon Pantry? Especially during the pandemic, when more consumers are ordering groceries online? In fact, in March of last year, Amazon temporarily halted the service due to an unmeetable demand sparked by nationwide COVID-19 lockdowns. Perhaps it decided that instead of putting energy into expanding the Pantry program, it would just shut it down so it could focus on growing its physical grocery footprint. With more than 400 Whole Foods locations and several Amazon Fresh stores now under its umbrella, Amazon is becoming a fully fledged “traditional” grocer. However, it still has a lot of catching up to do compared to almost 5,000 U.S. Walmart stores and grocery chains. With Walmart+ providing grocery delivery and comparable services at a slightly cheaper price, Amazon will have to keep breaking ground to keep its foothold on grocery revenue, a fast-growing online category.