Late last year, Amazon continued its march into the private label business with the launch of their latest offering, Amazon Wickedly Prime. Featuring organic snacks, and with the promise to launch more products, Amazon has set its site on some frequent convenience store targets.
The product line launched quite softly. Rather than plaster the products all over the main page, Amazon quietly added them and sat back to watch what would happen. What happened was a small number of sales, though as noted by some news outlets, it was not insignificant when you consider there was near zero marketing or advertising involved.
So far, Wickedly Prime is offering a number of healthy and/or organic snack foods such as chips, popcorn, nuts, and cookies. Price-wise, Wickedly Prime is on the high-average side of the market, which is to be expected for organic or natural products anyway. A 13oz bag of organic tortilla chips is reasonable, running between $2.00 - $4.00 depending upon the variety. At the costlier end, their “Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies” run $4.99 for a box of 14 cookies.
What It Means for Your C-Store
The soft launch of Wickedly Prime seems to indicate that Amazon is testing the waters of their newest private label brand. In the short-term, it’s unlikely to have a noticeable impact on the general convenience store industry. The products still need to be ordered, packed, and shipped. There is no additional cost for shipping, as the products are currently only available to Amazon Prime members which includes free two-day shipping on a number of products.
To say this move is “convenient” is both over and understating the impact that Amazon is likely to have, at least in the short-term. Customers will still have to wait at least two days to receive their products so it isn’t exactly geared towards the “impulse buyer” who wants to grab a bag of chips and a soda on their way home from work.
On the other hand, it seems obvious that Amazon is test marketing these offerings for inclusion in their forthcoming Amazon GO locations. These stores are sure to make a run at the C-store industry as a whole, regardless of whether Amazon’s own products are the draw or not.
What Can You Do?
Amazon is large, well-funded, and by all indications, has no interest in slowing down their ever-increasing reach into multiple different markets. It seems hard to believe that not too long ago, Amazon was only an online book seller. A few Kindle’s and an Echo or two later and they’re one of the largest companies in the world, with their hand in multiple industries.
Perhaps the best way the brick and mortar C-store can compete with Amazon is through the in-store experience. The convenience aspect will always be appealing to a large percentage of your customers who don’t want to wait two days for a bag of tortilla chips to be shipped to their door. Likewise, customer service is still key, and it is one area that ecommerce retailers such as Amazon can’t compete with.