Last month, Amazon announced plans to massively expand its online grocery delivery service, Amazon Fresh.
Having operated in London and the Home Counties for several years with little fanfare, Amazon has promised wider availability in major UK cities by the end of the year, with Brighton set to be included on their list.
Amazon will offer Prime members free delivery on large orders and the option of same-day delivery. But should we be worried about the controversial online giant’s foray into our online grocery sector? Founder of Click it Local, Brighton’s environmentally conscious delivery service for independent retailers, Steven Koch, certainly thinks so…
Amazon has its hands in just about every part of the retail sector – you can buy pretty much anything you could possibly want through them. Do you think Amazon is on a mission to monopolise every part of the retail sector?
In short, yes. If we look at how Amazon have previously done things, they tend to expand with the intention of monopolising a sector – take electrical goods for example. Amazon have seen an opportunity in lockdown, the increase in demand for online groceries, and used it to their advantage in order to gain further hold over the retail market.
Why is the expansion of Amazon Fresh bad news for independent retailers?
Business has to come from somewhere, and what Amazon will gain in online orders, independent shops will lose in terms of customers. Impulse purchase, footfall and local support, upon which independent grocery retailers rely, could all be lost to the appeal of speed and convenience.
Furthermore, why is it bad news for the world?
Any company that gets too big is essentially bad for us as a whole. If one retailer grows and then monopolises a sector of an industry, that retailer has the means to gain total power and control over setting prices and sourcing goods. We believe the consumer should always have freedom of choice.
When companies get to be as big as Amazon, it also means that they can set their own standards, on paying tax, workers’ rights and the environment, and face no pressure to change. Amazon’s track record on all these issues is questionable. The bigger Amazon gets, the more untouchable it becomes.
Amazon Fresh has said it is searching for local and independent retailers, what does Click it Local offer that Amazon does not?
When purchasing from Click It Local, you can be completely sure that you are sourcing items directly from an independent retailer, and supporting your local shops and high street. Also, Click it Local is committed to looking after the environment and paying our workers a living wage.
With bigger monopolies like Amazon, because of the power and control they have in a sector, they are at liberty to drive prices down and increase margins – basically meaning they take a bigger cut for themselves. They may well end up having a level of control over local farming and produce to ensure demand is met, which will have a negative effect on locals and independents – and the environment!
A couple of months after launching in Brighton, has Click it Local proved as popular as you hoped?
We are really pleased with the support in Brighton so far! With the varied amount of retailers and shops we have on board, we feel we really have re-created the individuality of Brighton’s high-streets virtually.
Being able to support Brighton high-streets throughout lockdown and beyond has been important to us and feedback from independent shops and customers alike has been incredible.
We have recently signed up Infinity Foods which we hope will bring more choice and essentials to the Brighton customer using our site.
We are still calling for more Brighton shops to sign up to Click it Local and we want to encourage the Brighton customer to support your local high street and give back to your local retailers!