First we were forced to wonder whether or not self-proclaimed movie lover Tom Cruise had ever actually seen a movie, now the American people are asking, "Has Donald Trump ever been to a grocery store?" At a Make America Great Again rally in Tampa, Florida, on Tuesday night, President Trump went off on a little tangent about the need for voter IDs. He explained his belief that people need a physical form of identification for just about everything in the country, including grocery shopping. "The time has come for voter ID, like everything else. You know if you go out an buy groceries, you need a picture or a card -- you need ID," Trump said to the crowd.
Nearly 30 years ago, when just 15 percent of Americans had a computer, and even fewer had internet access, Thomas Parkinson set up a rack of modems on a Crate and Barrel wine rack and started accepting orders for the internet's first grocery-delivery company, Peapod, which he founded with his brother Andrew. Back then, ordering groceries online was complicated--most customers had dial-up, and Peapod's web graphics were so rudimentary that customers couldn't see images of what they were buying. Delivery was complicated, too: The Parkinsons drove to grocery stores in the Chicago area, bought what customers had ordered, and then delivered the goods from the backseat of their beat-up Honda Civic. When people wanted to stock up on certain goods--strawberry yogurt or bottles of Diet Coke--the Parkinsons would deplete whole sections of local grocery stores. Peapod is still around today.
Amazon is reportedly planning to open dozens of grocery stores in major US cities, which will be under different branding from its Whole Foods chain. The first location may open in Los Angeles before the end of this year, while it's signed leases for at least two other stores, according to Wall Street Journal sources. It may look to grow its planned business by snapping up regional grocery chains, while it's said to be in talks for locations in San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. The report suggests the as-yet-unnamed brand will offer a wider selection of products than Whole Foods, which doesn't carry goods with artificial preservatives, flavors or sweeteners, for instance. The stores could offer lower-cost shopping than Whole Foods too.
In some parts of Silicon Valley, grocery shopping just got a lot easier. AutoX, the autonomous vehicle startup known for using low-cost, high-resolution cameras for its self-driving vehicle system instead of more common lidar sensors, launched a pilot delivery program in a section of San Jose, California, Monday. Through an app, customers can order and buy groceries on-demand from the online grocer GrubMarket, and an autonomous vehicle will come to the delivery location (presumably your home) and pop the trunk for you to pick up your groceries. But unlike other on-demand grocery delivery services like Amazon Fresh, this one requires no humans in the delivery process. The groceries are kept in a temperature-controlled environment in the car so you should be getting fresher produce and items.
And while Amazon still held a significant lead in 2019 vs. the year prior, the survey also found that the number of respondents buying online groceries via Walmart nearly doubled from 2018. Both surveys were conducted in September 2019, but the wording differed slightly. The TABS Analytics survey, which favors Amazon, asked respondents where they've purchased groceries online but didn't specify a timeframe. This includes infrequent online grocery shoppers who might purchase packaged food or beverages from Amazon throughout the year, but aren't regular users of Amazon's grocery services like AmazonFresh, Prime Now or Prime Pantry. The Retail Feedback Group's survey, on the other hand, asked respondents which grocery service they used most recently in the last 30 days.