Amazon Moves Into Meal Delivery And Continues To Simplify The World

News broke today that Amazon is entering the meal delivery business. Blue Apron’s stock tanked with the news. I predicted this move on an earlier column here.

Blue Apron has reportedly struggled to create new customers. Amazon doesn’t have a problem generating new customers. And with recent purchases, Amazon has put itself in an even more competitive position.

We saw Amazon tap into an entire new market with the purchase of Whole Foods. Amazon can now add these well resourced and health conscious customers to its database. In addition to the many prime members, they now have more prospects to market this new meal delivery service to – and the products can be distributed from Whole Foods which solves the logistics issue.

Don’t Invent, But Simplify

Amazon doesn’t invent everything – however Amazon simplifies a lot. For example one of their biggest and fastest growing businesses is Amazon Web Services, now over a 10 Billion dollar/year business. They did not invent web hosting, however they made it easier and better. Businesses can easily scale up or down online with self-service. Amazon has an internal value called “invent and simplify,” which requires all employees to be problem solvers.

Eating In America: Ripe For Disruption

Meal delivery could be huge for Amazon. With longer commutes, more demanding hours and competition from colleagues and robots – people are working harder than ever. I remember when I was a teenager I went to stay in Germany one summer with an exchange student. I was amazed that lunch was a meal the father came home for. In the U.S. we have gone the extreme opposite when it comes to meal prep – we spend very little time preparing our food. This is what the meal prep companies have gotten right – customers want to have a home-cooked meal (Rachel Ray’s 30 minute meals) but without the shopping and mental investment it takes to plan dinner. Instead many of us just opt for fast food.

And fast food hasn’t been great for American waist-lines. We are unhealthier than ever. While there are some healthier fast food options, they still aren’t the meals you would make at home. We saw what Amazon is capable of when it comes to educating customers with its Amazon smart home offering, where Amazon consultants come to your home for free to teach you how to make your home smarter. Meal-delivery is getting big, but there are limitations. Many of the current players in meal delivery don’t give customers that much choice, and the customer doesn’t always know every single tiny ingredient in the food. The meal delivery often arrives in a ton of packaging, so there’s the waste issue.

Amazon, ‘What about this current experience do customers hate? Let’s fix that.’

Amazon takes services that already exist and asks, what about this service experience do customers hate? They have done the same thing with the launch of their new “try before you buy” retail offering, where customers can ship themselves clothes before purchasing. This is the main pain point for buying clothes online – sometimes they don’t fit and you have to deal with returning the clothes.

Amazon meal delivery, just like Amazon Web Services, will take something that already exists but make it much better.

Blake Morgan is a customer experience keynote speaker, futurist and author of More Is More. Sign up for her newsletter here.

Share this post