AmazonTote, Amazon's free home-based delivery service, may soon expand into new markets according to a new report from the Financial Times. Although the report was delivered without citing any sources, it seems more than plausible, given Amazon's desire to tap into the groceries market now that it's mastered the art of selling of non-pershible, packaged goods.
The online retailer has been testing AmazonTote in its hometown of Seattle, and the program's website text, according to The Wall St. Journal, originally noted that the program was "expanding soon." That text is now nowhere to be found on AmazonTote's homepage, which makes this report all the more interesting now.
Correct us if we're wrong, but we're not seeing any mention of expansion plans either on AmazonTote's homepage or within its FAQ. If indeed the original website text did say "expanding soon" as was reported by multiple outlets, and then, after the FT report was published, that text was removed, we could be onto something here. In fact, it sounds like Amazon is trying to cover up its expansion plans for the service.
Well, too late, Amazon.
Besides, this online job posting describes AmazonTote as a "company-wide" program. Oops! Gotcha.
How Tote Works
With AmazonTote, customers can receive deliveries to their home on scheduled days of the week, and those items are left in "sealed, water-resistant" bags. The bags can be kept or left outside on the next Tote delivery day for re-use.
Not all items from Amazon's website are available, only select items weighing less than 50 pounds such as groceries. Throughout the week, customers can continue adding items to their AmazonTote "bag" online, up until 10 AM, 2 days before delivery. Or, in Amazon-speak, "ToteDay."
In addition, there are no minimum delivery sizes, subscriptions, and most importantly, there are no fees. You don't need to be home to receive the delivery, unless it's $700 or more. Instead, just leave a note for your tote delivery person with your signature and instructions as to where to leave the package.
The packages are delivered using the same truck fleet as Amazon Fresh uses, Amazon's groceries-only program. Tote isn't limited to groceries, however, which makes more sense. It wouldn't be surprising to see Fresh wrapped up into Tote in the near future.
According to Rich Tarrant of MyWebGrocer, which provides a similar service to regional supermarkets, Amazon's move into the grocery market could position it to compete head-to-head with the U.S.'s number one retailer, Walmart. "Because of the frequency of grocery purchases . . . you have an opportunity to be in front of the customer at least once a week," he told the Financial Times. By tying in that frequency with the ability to get everything else you want, you literally have created the virtual Walmart."
Yes, maybe. But will Amazon take our coupons?