AmazonFresh Trucks Roll Into San Francisco

A Bricks and Clicks survey shows that San Francisco is the most developed online grocery market in the country, with 16 percent of shoppers buying groceries online regularly.

AmazonFresh expanded into San Francisco on Wednesday, offering "over 500,000 items" for same-day or next-morning delivery. Meat, fish, groceries, bakery items - including some from local purveyors - along with the customary books, electronics, toys, you name it, on your doorstep by dinner or if you prefer, breakfast the next morning.

Amazon announced its beginning in 12 San Francisco ZIP codes, where residents will be able to "combine grocery and other shopping into one seamless experience that easily fits into their routines and improves their busy lives." And for a 30-day trial period, it's free, after which Amazon would like to transition you into its $299 a year "Prime Fresh" program, keeping the delivery charge at zero.

Minimum requirements: More than $35 worth of groceries. Order by 10 a.m. to get it by 6 p.m., or by 10 p.m. to get it eight hours later. Most of the goods will originate at Amazon's recently opened warehouse in Tracy, 60 miles from San Francisco.

"It's already a very competitive environment," said Helen Bulwik, a partner at Newport Board Group, a retail consultancy, referring to similar services offered by Safeway and others in San Francisco. "Delivering fresh will be a challenge, because they don't have facilities that are close to the customer here."

San Francisco is the third fresh-food market Amazon has entered, after Seattle and Los Angeles. When asked, Amazon wouldn't be more specific on its rollout plans for San Francisco. "Just as we have continued to expand into more ZIP codes in both Seattle and Los Angeles, we look forward to making AmazonFresh available to more additional customers in San Francisco over time," said spokesman Scott Stanzel.

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