Looks Like Online Grocery Shopping Has Finally Arrived

400 Amazon pickers work at my local Whole Foods

Lately, every second shopper at my Whole Foods is an Amazon employee picking an online order. Anyone else noticing this?

I shop at my downtown Whole Foods at least three or four times a week. I’m definitely aware of even the minutest changes in that store – whether it’s the merchandise, prices, staffing or my fellow shoppers.

Over the last six months, I’ve seen a huge uptick in “pickers,” i.e., workers who roam the aisles with shopping carts and scanners in hand as they fill up cold-storage bags with an online order.

And the makeup of the picker workforce is changing as well. I’m seeing many more guys, college students, and retirees. It’s almost like Amazon is dipping into the same gig workpool as Uber and Lyft. The pay is $15-$17 an hour plus bonuses. Online reviews of the job are fairly positive.

I asked one of the pickers how the online ordering works, how would I sign up. She explained that the orders are done through Amazon Prime and that all the pickers are Amazon employees, not Whole Foods. Apparently, Whole Foods has a separate group of employees to fulfill online orders for people who don’t have Prime.

She also confirmed that the number of online orders is booming.

“There are 400 Amazon workers at this Whole Foods on Houston Street just doing online orders. The delivery guys work for another company.”

Amazon picker at Whole Foods

The delivery bikes are another new development at my Whole Foods over the last few months (see pic below).

I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised, I buy a lot of my kitchen staples online, e.g., cereal, coffee, condiments. However, all my fresh produce I like to pick up myself in store as I need it. The latest studies indicate that half of us are doing at least some of our grocery shopping online.

Read on below for e-marketer‘s findings on online grocery shopping.

KPMG recently published a study showing that half (48%) of US grocery shoppers currently purchase at least some of their groceries online and 59% intend to in 2019.

Those who plan to do 40% or more of their grocery shopping online make up the fastest-growing segment—from 17% in 2018 to 25% in 2019. 

At the Groceryshop conference, IGD revealed new data on the 10 largest online grocery markets worldwide. By market size, the US came in at No. 3 with $23.9 billion in 2018, behind China and Japan. That is set to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 20.0% to $59 billion by 2023.  

And here, the new bicycles Whole Foods is using for deliveries:

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