Because Amazon reportedly has plans for 3000 Amazon Go locations, in our October Survey, we asked operators…
Will Amazon be a future micro market competitor?
We had a strong response from operators and they were mostly unconcerned about Amazon as a micro market competitor.
A – Yes – direct competition 7.5%
Bob Tullio, Consultant, www.tulliob2b.com – “Full disclosure, I worked on the survey project, but speaking to people who deal with Amazon, in and out of the refreshment industry, I have no doubt that Amazon will compete directly. Here is how it might happen: On a big corporate campus with multiple tenants and 2000 employees, Amazon will get the exclusive rights to put in two public markets. The tenant may not have a choice. When that happens, five operators could be impacted all at once.”
B – Yes – but not to a great extent 60%
Zachary Oliver – Dependable Vending – “Yes, but not to a great extent. Their technology is way too expensive to scale to mid-level size locations. Additionally, they will not be able to provide the same level of service and customer support. I think they will need to partner with operators like us for the last mile and direct to consumer on the regional level business. This will make them nimble enough to compete.”
Jon Corto – Buffalo Strive Vending – “They lack the ability to scale quality fresh food and customer service to be a direct competitor on larger accounts that need a personal touch. However, they will be a competitor especially to smaller locations that do not warrant fresh food items as more and more people are getting items direct delivered to their door at a lower cost.”
C – No – They will stick to retail 32.5%
Mike Ferguson – VMAC Solutions – “No - only in the sense of maybe being at an airport walk-in store or maybe hospitals, but not in offices. There is no way they can provide the level of customer service to markets. Retail is where they will go in my opinion.”
One way to protect your market locations:
As Steve Orlando of Fixturelite points out, an emphasis on design will be a critical tool for micro market operators. “Begin to design or redesign around the employee experience in the micro market café. It may be time for a remodel, and that’s a large part of what we do.” said Orlando. “While the most progressive employers might be attracted to the Amazon Go name, we can win them over now by designing a refreshment area that is not only attractive but also a place to relax, collaborate and refuel.”